Idaho’s Department of Lands has shifted into high gear for salvage timber sales after this summer’s devastating forest wildfires, state Lands Director Tom Schultz told the Land Board today, putting together and marketing salvage timber sales for 83.5 million board feet of timber – roughly 33 percent of the typical volume for a year – in just six weeks. It was “pretty incredible work,” Schultz said. Eleven of the sales, consisting of 58.3 million board feet, have been sold so far; once logged, they’ll bring in $13.8 million for schools, which are the main beneficiaries of the state endowment. Four more sales still are in the works.
Schultz said the state got good prices on much of the burned timber, with some going for just as much as unburned wood. Some of the salvaged timber will become pulp for paper, while some, once burned portions are cut away, is good enough for lumber. “A lot of the wood is sound,” he said. The key was acting quickly, he said, as charred timber loses its moisture content within about six months and becomes less usable if not cut and processed.
Already, Schultz said, “Logging has started in Kamiah.”