Post-fire log recovery a massive job

Wednesday 19 Jun 2019

 
After the Nelson fire, tonnes of burnt trees are being reused - The recovery of damaged wood in the wake of the Pigeon Valley fires has been hailed as one of the country's biggest-ever efforts.

About 10,000 tonnes of burnt pine trees are being plucked from the ground for use in Canterbury construction projects, Nelson housing developments and to prevent future fires in Tasman. The large-scale fire started in a farm paddock on February 5 and soon spread to an area of 2300ha. About 1400ha - or 60 per cent of the total area burnt - was owned by Tasman Pine Forests.

Chief operating officer Steve Chandler said harvesting crews were still in the process of extracting burnt wood as well as clearing younger burnt standing trees. At the same time, replanting was under way to begin a new period of growth in the area.

"The burnt area was in radiata pine and that is the most productive species so we're putting that back in - there were also some native areas burnt - some reserves and other pockets - and we're going to be working with DoC to restore those back to what they were or even enhance them going forward."

"We're making good progress but it's probably going to take a couple of years before we get everything done that needs to be."

Four months on from the fire, Chandler said he was pleased with the level of log recovery that had been reached. However, any actual cost of the event? would remain unclear until the salvage operation was complete.

"When you look at the majority of logs it's only the outside bark or around that first 5cm that have been affected - the logs themselves are perfectly good inside that zone so it's really just a matter of getting industry to recognise the logs are still good," Chandler said.

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