The last truckload of fire-damaged logs has arrived at the mill.

Black Summer already feels as though it was a lifetime ago, but it’s only a year and a half since mammoth fire storms swept through much of the country. While some problems are still waiting on solutions – many people are going into their second winter in temporary accommodation while they wait for their homes to be rebuilt – others have had remarkable success.

The salvage of burnt logs at Tumut and Tumbarumba are definitely in the latter category. Hyne Timbers alone has processed over 1.6 million burnt plantation pine logs at the Hyne Tumbarumba Mill. To celebrate the last truckload rolling in through the gates (above), the mill held a barbecue for growers and employees, and there was more emotion than barbecue sauce flowing.

“To still be accepting burnt logs 15 months after the fires has completely exceeded industry expectations of three to six months,” said Jon Kleinschmidt, Hyne Timber CEO.

“We’ve been able to maintain the mill’s capacity and supply of locally grown timber…” he said, noting they’re even looking for new staff. “The efforts of all involved from the growers, the harvesting crews, the haulers, the staff here at the mill and our customers has been remarkable and deserves to be celebrated.”

Dean Anderson, Regional Manager of Forestry Corporation of NSW said it was good to see that, despite the devastation of the fires, so much pine could be salvaged.

“Over 45,000 hectares of pine plantations were impacted by fires in the local area, which is just under 40% of the area planted,” said Anderson. “More than half of the area affected by fire was too young to salvage and our focus has been on getting all the trees older than 19 years old and as much as possible of those older than 12.

“Thanks to the significant cooperation of our customers and contractors we have managed to just about achieve this, except for a few steep areas, salvaging over 2.7 million tonnes in the Tumut and Tumbarumba region. This makes this operation one of the longest and the largest salvage operations in history, a testament to the resilience of the local forest industry.”

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