Loggers Killed in Slide

Michael Hagen mhagen at olympus.net
Mon Mar 1 16:49:49 EST 1999


Another fine rainy day in the Olympics.  Forks got 60 inches just in
February.  Liliwaup passed 120 last Saturday but that total was
"seasonal" beginning on Nov. 1. Official rainfalls are all off the
scales for this century. Slides are happening all over the place. US 101
has been closed by slides since last Friday.

You seem to make the point that the loggers should have stayed home
because the situation was dangerous. The reality is that logging, timber
falling especially, is always dangerous, though perhaps not as bad as
running graveyard shift at a 7-11.  After a week or so everybody has got
to get out and work, no matter. Fallers are well paid but can't just
take months off waiting for the weather to improve. And we've had 93 of
the last 112 days in rain.

Is a 110% slope too steep to log? All I can say is, it depends. Maybe.
Sometimes not. Since this spot slid massively, it obviously was "too
dangerous to work" but it is odd that there was no sign of slope
instability previous to harvest. Unless the State Forestry board saw
blatant, incipient signs of instability, there was no way even they in
their great wisdom could tell when the slide would move or how much.
Chances are they walked the area once at best some time previous to the
actual sale. Maybe years previous. 

Had the toe of the slope been cut, say to build an access road? Was the
method of road construction 100% "end haul", so the road bed and
cutslope ended up deeper into the original bank than the old "bad" cut
and fill methods?  Were there signs of seepage or perched water table.
An impermeable layer? Was a culvert plugged somewhere upslope?  We don't
have enough information from the article to tell. 

 A certain amount of high angle slope under the lines is necessary for
high lead or cable logging.  A high lead system with full suspension
yarding has the least impact on ground compaction of any system other
than helicopter logging.  This may have been the "preferred " harvest
method for the site. 

Unlike that poor Earth First kid, these men knew the chance of dying on
the job was there, even in fine weather. I'm sure they will be missed
and that much of the community will show up for their funeral. But it is
part of the job. The logger who originally built the house I'm sitting
in was killed by a slide in Alaska. It happens. 

dwheeler at teleport.com wrote:
> 
> In article <7bbv18$f8q$1 at news.snowcrest.net>,
>   "HULTGREN" <arne at snowcrest.net> wrote:
> > Percent slope is simply the accepted unit of measure; it's the tangent,
> > trigonometrically speaking (rise/run).
> >
> > I don't think it's a propoganda conspiracy by the timber industry. Was
> > logging on 110% ground risky? I think so, but this is a risky profession,
> > and unfortunately their number came up.
> >
> 
> I agree that its probably not propoganda by the timber industry.But I do
> wonder about an industry that insists workers work in unsafe conditions or
> lose their job. Which is more dangerous? The job or the working conditions?
> 
> > The principal cause was the underlying geology and the rainfall
> > concentration over a short period of time. I'll bet the ground would've
> > slid, regardless of the logging.
> 
> Exactly. The area was too dangerous as proven by the State Forestry Dept.
> before the cut was approved. Why place loggers in such a dangerous position,
> when the rainfall in the last 90 days has been so extraordinary? (Over 60
> inches have fallen in Forks, WA within that time, according to a recent
> Seattle Post- Intelligencer article.) The are relatively level ground areas
> near me I hesitate to walk on unless I want to get muddy.  Would removing
> hundreds of tons of trees
> ssnip



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