Weyerhaeuser has provided a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how all four of their Oregon tree farms’ operations — located in Clackamas, Snow Peak, South Valley, and Springfield — were able to deal with and recover from the wildfire season of 2020. All four farms suffered significant damage after nearby wildfires on state and federal timberlands encroached on the company’s property in September 2020.
After several weeks of grueling firefighting, the blazes were contained. In all, about 125,000 acres of timberlands were impacted. Though the Weyerhaeuser teams were exhausted, they quickly pivoted from firefighting to replanting, salvage, and recovery.
As for regeneration, nearly 8.5 million seedlings have been planted on more than 25,000 acres of fire-damaged property to date. Over the next four years, the company plans to plant 35 million seedlings in all — about twice as many seedlings needed to replant after the eruption of Mount St. Helen in 1980. What’s more, the work is expected to be completed almost two years faster than the replanting work in the Mount St. Helens blast zone.
Of course, all those seedlings have to come from somewhere. Jeff Mehlschau, regeneration lead for Western Timberlands noted, “We’ve leaned on creativity and innovation to ramp up our internal seedling production. It takes two years to grow a seedling, so we had to adapt fast.”
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Weyerhaeuser: After 2020 Wildfires in Oregon, Dogged Work to Replant and Restore Our Forests Shows Encouraging Results