Wyden, Merkley: U.S. Forest Service Contracts With Eight Oregon Businesses to Provide Wildland Firefighter Crews

Federal contracts slated for companies in Merlin, Redmond, Salem, Ashland, Philomath, Merrill, Sutherlin and Independence

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today welcomed news that the U.S. Forest Service is awarding contracts to Oregon companies in Merlin, Redmond, Salem, Ashland, Philomath, Merrill, Sutherlin and Independence to provide crews to fight wildland fires.

“Fighting wildfires and protecting lives, homes and small businesses in Oregon and nationwide demand trained crews that can respond quickly and reliably,” Wyden said. “I’m pleased the Forest Service has recognized these Oregon companies can provide these essential and courageous workers who can defend communities from the devastation that wildfires can unleash.”

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Bill Folsom - Colorado Springs Water

High tech mitigation protecting Colorado Springs water

Posted at 12:00 PM, Oct 09, 2021
and last updated 12:00 PM, Oct 09, 2021


COLORADO SPRINGS — There is new fire mitigation technology at work above North Catamount Reservoir on the north slope of Pikes Peak. “We’re getting rid of a lot of infected trees,” said Eric Howell, Forest Program Manger for Colorado Springs Utilities. The Spruce Bud Worm has been really bad up here.” The work is a Colorado Spring Utilities project to better protect the water supply in the reservoir by thinning out dead and compromised trees from the surrounding forest.

Cutting out vegetation with heavy equipment is not new.

Different with this project is a new to the area kind of machine called the Cut-to-Length Harvesting Machine contracted through an Oregon forestry company. “It’s very nimble, very flexible,” said Miller Timber Services, Forester and Vice President, Matthew Mattioda.

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New technology improves forest health, decreases wildfire risk on Pikes Peak’s north slope

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) — Removing dead or dying trees from steep mountain slopes can be a time-consuming and dangerous job, but new technology is making the process easier and safer on the north slope of Pikes Peak.

Colorado Springs Utilities has hired an Oregon company to use two pieces of state-of-the art machinery that will remove trees from 35 acres above North Catamount Reservoir.

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Making a difference at Monarch Pass:

Project salvages beetle-kill trees on steep slopes to reduce wildfire risk, protect water resources

While the Upper Arkansas Valley has received plenty of rain this summer, smoke in the air has served as a reminder that the threat of wildfire is never far away, a situation made more urgent by the brown forest of beetle-kill trees around Monarch Pass. Thanks to a collaborative effort led by the U.S. Forest Service and the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC), the threat of catastrophic wildfire is lessening around Monarch Pass. 

With 90% of mature trees in the area killed by spruce beetles, the Monarch Pass Forest and Watershed Health Project is removing the dead trees to reduce the fuel load and the risk of catastrophic wildfire. The project employs new logging technology—cut-to-length, or CTL, equipment—to remove beetle-kill trees on steep slopes. Compared to traditional steep-slope logging methods, the CTL approach provides a more economical, less damaging method of harvesting timber.

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Stepping Up To Fire


By Jan Jackson

When Lee Miller, president and CEO of Miller Timber Services in Philomath, Oregon, sees a need that isn’t being met, he gets his team together and does something about it. His recent project was working with Ponsse to turn his regular forest machines into impressive pieces of firefighting equipment. It has taken two years, but they’ve done it.

Ponsse, the privately owned Finnish company specializing in forest products and equipment, employs more than 1,800 people in 10 countries. They have years of experience coming up with quick, easy, and simple ways to equip their large and medium sized forwarders with firefighting equipment that contains centrifugal impeller water pumps and water cannons that are powered by the machine’s loader hydraulics.

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Opinion: Loggers are firefighting heroes

There is nothing more disheartening than being called a hero during fire season and then slandered in the media or overregulated outside of fire emergencies. Firefighters are not just 20-person handcrews, hotshots and smokejumpers. They are also loggers, ranchers, road builders and much more.

Forest contractors are being enlisted by public firefighting agencies to help stop the blazes across the state. In fact, the Oregon Department of Forestry and its federal partners rely heavily on the skilled labor that loggers and other contracted service people provide during fire season.


Baldy gets a trim to improve forest health

$350,000 in new funding this week expected to ramp up annual work

The forests in and around the ski slopes on Bald Mountain are under attack by Douglas-fir beetle, dwarf mistletoe, white pine blister rust and other infestations. A combination of deadfall and canopy overgrowth has increased fire risk, as wide swathes of trees have died and gone brown in the last few years.

The landscape, in other words, is struggling. But a new, multi-faceted initiative aims to aid it in its fight.

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Demonstration shows modern forestry advances

An aspect of the demonstration was to show how technologically advanced the industry has become. In about 30 seconds, the Finnish Ponsse harvester can cut a tree and section it to the length mills require.

PHILOMATH, Ore. — Simon Babcock, forestry teacher at Philomath High School, compared the thinning of Downing Forest to Christmas morning.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “It’s been needing to happen.”

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New leaders emerge from REAL Oregon

The first Resource Education and Agricultural Leadership Program, or REAL Oregon, is in the books, wrapping up five months of leadership training and networking.

Just two weeks after completing the first Resource Education and Agricultural Leadership Program, otherwise knows as REAL Oregon, Matt Mattioda was able to put his newly refined skills to the test.

Mattioda, who works as the chief forester for Miller Timber Services in Philomath, Ore., was informed by a client that Oregon Tresaurer Tobias Read was interested in touring a project site to better understand how trees are harvested on the landscape.

“I had a chance to show him what we’re doing.” Mattioda said of the visit. “If we don’t reach out and engage folks…then whatever comes our way, we’re just going to have to deal with it.”

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Special Focus: Timber Harvesting

Tethered Harvesting: This is Not Your Daddy’s Logging

Foresters and loggers often work hand in hand to manage forests, and much of the work they do is shaped by the capabilities of the machines that harvest the timber. This special edition of The Forestry Source offers several articles that show how modern machines and the technology inside them are changing both forestry and logging.

The days of cable logging are far from over, but a new technology is beginning to replace tower yarders: tethered harvesters and forwarders – machines assisted by cables.