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Oregon wood products companies eager to see wildfires end

EUGENE, Ore. >> Eugene and surrounding area wood products companies are tallying the damage as Oregon wildfire season dwindles.

Both Eugene-based Seneca Jones Timber Co. and Springfieldbased Roseburg Forest Products lost thousands of trees last month in a fire in Douglas County, which has burned through private and federal forests.

Fires throughout the state and hot and dry conditions led to authorities to impose complete or partial restrictions on logging and other work on public and privately owned lands, hampering timber output, The Register-Guard reported.

With temperatures recently decreasing, however, complete bans have been lifted, allowing loggers to return to work.

“We are taking a deep breath here,” said Steve Killgore, senior vice president of solid wood business for Roseburg Forest Products. “So far, so good, and if the weather cooperates, we shouldn’t have any more disruptions. The (logging) contractors are back in the woods and logs are moving again.”

Firefighting should improve starting this weekend as rain and cooler temperatures are expected to return to much of Western Oregon.

Yet, the summer fires caused problems for the state’s wood products industry, making it harder to acquire logs in recent weeks, during a normally peak time for lumber producers.

“This is the time of year that the mills start building up inventory (of logs) to get them through the winter months,” said Jim Geisinger, executive vice president of Associated Oregon Loggers. “The fires have interrupted those plans.”

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