Australia Timber Industry Rushes to Save 2020 Bushfire Damaged Logs

The 2020 bushfire season in Australia was one of the harshest fire seasons on record. The race is now on in Australia to harvest and find a place to properly store and keep wet as many ‘black logs’ as possible over the next 12 – 18 months, before they become unusable. In all the fires consumed over 4 million cubic meters of standing timber, 12-years and older. Four months after the fires, they are now just 13% of the way through the burned timber. As crews rush to harvest the logs, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how log harvesting is conducted, which is impacting everything from housing new workers arriving,  to dealing with a slump in the construction industry related to the virus’ economic impacts. To help sell the logs they are being prioritized by age and diameter. For domestic customer use, larger saw logs (24-years and older) are being set aside for local mills. Next are the pulp-quality logs for Visy (which comes from the tops of larger logs or from clearing younger 12 – 18-year-old trees. And finally, the in-between sizes that are being harvest for export, with China and other parts of Southeast Asia as the sales target.

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