Impacts of 2020 Wildfires on West Coast Log Supply and Timber Markets

A joint study by FEA and MB&G

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In a short period of time, wildfires in western Oregon and northern California have damaged large volumes of standing timber, including inventory located on privately-owned industrial timberlands. The damage from these wildfires will impact log markets in the West for quite some time. In the near-term, salvage operations will attempt to recover as much of the burned timber as possible; and in the longer run, the loss of billions of board feet of timber will further stress log availability in a region already constrained by tight timber supply.

This study will provide detailed estimates of timber losses for three regions in western Oregon and an overview of the impacts of the wildfires in northern California. The analysis will examine both the near-term and longer run impacts of the wildfires on log markets in these regions.

Topics Covered

Key Questions Answered

  • What is the area affected by the fires in terms of ownership class, damage severity, forest type and age class?
  • What is the volume of damaged timber on industrial timberlands?
  • What are realistic expectations in terms of volumes and timing for salvage operations? What will be the limiting factors?
  • How has the wildfires affected the region’s logging and trucking sectors?
  • How has expected harvest volumes shifted over the next 15 years?
  • What is the likely impact on log prices both near-term and longer run? How will this affect the competitiveness of the region’s mill capacity?