Now is the time to salvage fire-damaged timber
By WENDY BURNETT
Georgia Forestry Commission
Georgia landowners whose timber was burned in recent wildfires are being urged to act quickly for the best salvage opportunities.
“There’s no time to waste if you’re trying to recoup what value is left in your forestland and prevent complete loss,” said James Johnson, chief of forest management for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “Charred trees deteriorate rapidly, but with guidance from a registered forester, landowners can still harvest trees and get usable wood to the mills in time for it to be utilized.”
According to Johnson, several variables affect the quality of salvageable timber, including tree species and weather conditions following fire damage. Mill processing capabilities may also impact landowner options.
“It’s critical for landowners to get expert advice when making decisions about damaged timber,” said Johnson. “Those decisions will have impacts on reforestation options and tax obligations, among others. Guidance from a registered forester or consultant is highly recommended.”
Johnson said the Georgia Forestry Commission maintains a list of registered foresters and consultants on its website at GaTrees.org under “Directories Database.”
Georgia has suffered record timber losses due to wildfires in 2011. The continuing drought is complicating conditions and the outlook is for yet more damage to occur.
The Georgia Forestry Commission provides leadership, service and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia’s forest resources. For more information about forest management and health, fire safety and the many services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.