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Timber salvage from 2002 fire sold

By Paul Fattig
Mail Tribune
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Both timber salvage sales planned for U.S. Bureau of Land Management forestlands burned by the 2002 Timbered Rock fire were sold Monday afternoon.

The 2002 fire burned some 27,000 acres in the Elk Creek watershed, of which about 12,000 acres are in the BLM’s Medford District.

The Smoked Gobbler sale, which includes 6.8 million board feet of timber, sold for the appraised price of $302,000 to Timber Products Co.

The Glendale-based Swanson Group was the high bidder for the Flaming Rock sale containing 10.2 million board feet of timber.

It sold for the appraised price of $964,000.

Both sales were initially offered during an oral auction April 29 but drew no offers. The BLM then extended the sealed bid period through May 14, drawing several bids.

Monday’s oral auction was held via teleconference. Under federal law, an oral auction must be held if two or more sealed bids are received.

The sales, which have been opposed by several environmental groups, will provide more than 250 additional jobs in the area, generating nearly $15 million in the regional economy, according to the BLM.

They will also enable the BLM to help restore the burned areas, said Lance Nimmo, the BLM’s Butte Falls resource area manager.

"They are an important component to the overall plans for the Timbered Rock fire area," he said. "We will now be able to move forward with important research related to salvage and wildlife and implement numerous restoration activities on the ground."

According to the BLM, salvage will occur on 8 percent of its land burned. About 95 percent of all trees, both dead and green, within the burned area will remain after the salvage is completed.

The salvage operations are consistent with both the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan and the district’s resource management plan, officials said.

They expect the sales to be awarded this week with harvest operations to begin later this month.

However, the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, which is concerned the salvage is a violation of environmental laws, has said it may appeal or litigate the sales.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com

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