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148   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

and needles. In many cases this is not necessary, particularly on steep slopes, where the tops are pretty well shattered to pieces by felling and logging. Recent inspection of slashings near the bolo forest, where no disposal had been made of the tops, showed that, in the course of five or six years, the slash had practically disappeared in both the yellow pine and fir-larch types.

A specific example of a Forest Service timber sale will illustrate the saving which could be made on the present method of brush disposal. A sale made to the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, in the Bitterroot forest, cutting on which has been completed, covered an area of approximately 3,300 acres, with a total cut of 52,600,000 board feet, chiefly yellow pine. The area is situated on the edge of the forest, adjoining private lands cut over by the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. The brush on this sale was all piled by the logging company and burned by the Forest Service. The brush piling cost, on an average, about 40 cents per thousand feet. Much of the work was contracted at this figure, and it is safe to say that, at any time, the company would have been glad to modify its contract with an increase in stumpage of 40 cents per thousand, if brush piling could be dispensed with entirely. The brush burning cost the Forest Service six cents per thousand, making a total cost of 46 cents per thousand, or in round numbers, $24,000 total. That is to say, as much money was expended on the special protection of this 3,300 acres for a period of about five years, as the annual cost of protection and administration of the entire Bitterroot forest, containing 1,154,550 acres. Only the greatest risk could justify the concentration of such a large proportion of the fire protection funds on this limited area. The expense is probably justifiable if no other cheaper means of protection were available. The writer believes that an almost equal degree of protection could have been secured for an expenditure of about $10,000, a saving of about 58 per cent.

The great danger on this area is from fire starting in the adjoining slash on the Anaconda Copper Mining Company lands. A strip 200 feet wide along the forest boundary on which the brush is piled and burned would offer a good base of protection from fires of this class. This should he further supplemented by a system of cleared belts along the main logging roads. A total of ten per cent of the area would provide for a very extensive system of fire belts. As the brush is heavy on this area it would probably have been advisable to lop the limbs from the tops, which could be done for not to exceed ten cents per thousand feet. The area would then be left in good shape for repelling fires, with all the greatest danger points cleared up. For further protection, until the brush had rotted away, two guards


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