What a pleasant surprise it was when Dwayne Walker of Future Forest called Friday evening to let me know a new high production small log sawmill will soon begin operating in his home town of Eagar, Arizona. Vaagen Brothers Lumber, Future Forest, and the U.S. Forest Service, all major supporters and participants of our Small Log Conference, have teamed up to do a live test on the feasibility of processing logs salvaged from recent catastrophic wildfires in Northeast Arizona and Northwest New Mexico, and from logs generated from fuels reduction activities in the region. A new high-speed sawmill installed in Eagar, Arizona, and consisting of a mobile HewSaw, is expected to be operational by November 2012.
The installation of the mobile HewSaw will be beneficial in evaluating the economic feasibility of treating large volumes of small diameter timber, thereby enhancing the Forest Service’s mission to restore critical habitats, watersheds and protect communities threatened by wildfire and overstocked stands of timber. Jim Zornes, Forest Supervisor of USFS Apache Sitgreaves National Forest said, “The Apache-Sitgreaves is excited to be a part of this major announcement. This significant event will trigger Secretary Vilsak’s accelerated restoration initiative by increasing capacity for product demand – allowing more at-risk acres to be treated. Additional salvage from last year’s Wallow fire can now be made available, to provide much needed jobs for local loggers, contractors and supporting small businesses..”
Vaagen Brothers, guided by a corporate program called ”Fibervision,” is an industry leader in incorporating the highest and best utilization of small diameter logs by employing state-of-the-art HewSaw technology to maximize efficiency and product value. Vaagen Brothers is a third generation forest products company operating three sawmills in the Western United States and Canada. Future Forest, a contractor for the White Mountain Stewardship Project (WMSP), which is the largest active stewardship project in the nation, has partnered with local environmental leaders and the U.S. Forest Service to identify large tracks of timber for sustainable harvest within the Wallow Fire restoration area.
This is exciting news indeed for forest health, for the region, and especially for the community of Eagar. Here’s a quick synopsis of the team and the new sawmill:
- All met at Small Log Conferences in years past
- Vaagen Brothers Lumber: 3rd generation family-owned company with mills in the Western U.S. and Canada
- Future Forest: Owned by Forest Energy and WB Contracting
- U.S. Forest Service: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Springerville, Arizona
- Forest Energy: Pellet fuels manufacturer based in Show Low, Arizona
- WB Contracting: Family-owned logging business based in Eagar, Arizona
- Type: Mobile, debarker, small log processor, lumber stacker
- Manufacturer: HewSaw North America
- Production: 35 million MMBF/year
- Employees: 10-12 on one shift basis
- Location for the test: Abandoned mill site in Eagar, Arizona – population just under 5,000