By Ryan Lockwood
Special to The PREVIEW
The large and destructive wildfires in Colorado this year, from the 38,000-acre Beaver Creek Fire still burning in beetle-kill timber in northwestern Colorado to the 16,000-acre Hayden Pass Fire southeast of Salida, are in part due to unhealthy forest conditions that made them prone to intense fire behavior. And, with this week being National Forest Products Week, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) wants to emphasize how having a robust wood products industry spurs not only widespread forest management, but the healthy forests and reduced wildfire risk that result from them.
“If we could increase the share of locally produced wood products that are purchased by Coloradans, the benefits would accrue not only to family-owned businesses, but to our forests themselves,” said Tim Reader, CSFS utilization and marketing forester.
More than 90 percent of the forest products purchased by Coloradans currently are imported into the state.
Kristina Hughes, another CSFS forester, is the program administrator for the Colorado Forest Products program, which encourages consumers to purchase locally made wood products from one of the state’s many wood-based businesses. She says that by purchasing locally harvested and produced wood products, citizens support the sawmills and other businesses that are improving forest health and protecting communities, property and critical infrastructure from wildfire.
Consumers looking to buy locally produced wood products or businesses interested in joining the Colorado Forest Products program can go to www.coloradoforestproducts.org. Coloradoans also can learn more about the way they can contribute to the wood products economy and how the state is supporting these businesses by visiting http://csfs.colostate.edu/cowood.