During the bushfire season, Forest Products Commission (FPC) fire response crews are on call at all hours to work with firefighters from the DFES, DBCA, and community volunteer brigades to protect the State’s valuable softwood timber assets from bushfires.
Western Australia’s pine plantations are a long-term, State-owned investment, taking approximately 30 years to reach maturity before being processed to supply 70% of the pine products used in the local housing and construction industry.
The loss of younger plantations before they reach maturity has an impact on future timber supplies, so bushfire management, planning, and response are vital.
The FPC crews shift from response to recovery and salvage operations after the bushfire affected sites are declared to be safe.
Following the fires in and around the pine plantations during this fire season, the FPC teams have been busy completing initial safety and hazard assessments and working on how to salvage the damaged timber for maximum value.
For mature plantations, not all is lost because commercial timber products are often recoverable, even if they are burnt, for processing soon after the fire.
Clearing and replanting of sites are part of the regular life cycle for sustainable pine plantations.
If there is fire damage in plantations, the timing of clearing and replanting is brought forward.
The relevant teams adjust their scheduling to prepare any salvageable areas for the optimal planting season in July and August.
The FPC commends staff crews, firefighters from DFES, DBCA, and community volunteer brigades for their diligence and dedication in the fire management and recovery efforts.