Fires ravaged over a quarter of a million acres in northeastern Montana in the late summer and early fall of 2017. There were several other fires throughout the state that combined also caused losses of around one-half million acres of forest.
While all of these terrible fires caused a considerable amount of damage, there is an effort underway to try to salvage some of the wood that was damaged in the fires. Of the approximately 700,000 acres of destruction, the Montana Wood Products Association has plans to salvage about 30,000 acres of the damaged wood.
The goal of the organization is to start harvesting the damaged wood as early as the summer of 2018. It is believed that the wood will deteriorate over time and begin to lose its remaining commercial value.
The Montana Wood Products Association will work in conjunction with the Forest Service to determine what sections of fire damaged forest is the most salvageable. Trees that aren’t too heavily burned will be prime targets. The group will also look at which sections of the damaged forest has the best accessibility and will be the easiest to get cutting and transportation equipment into.
Once the wood is harvested, it will be processed and used for industry. Some of the wood should also be available for those in woodworking who would like to create something from the Montana wood and bring beauty out of destruction.