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Oregon Weighs Biscuit Fire Timber Salvage

Wildfire season is looming in Oregon, but the government still hasn´t decided whether to salvage the timber burned in last summer´s 465,000-acre Biscuit Fire.

Most of it was in the Siskiyou National Forest. According to estimates from the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, more than 100 million board feet of timber could be salvaged.

Both environmental and economic impacts are being considered. Judy McHugh, a spokeswoman for the Biscuit Fire Recovery Project, says the Forest Service has determined that any salvage stand has to be within two miles of a road to provide a reasonable economic return.

A draft environmental impact statement on the Biscuit fire salvage and restoration is expected this summer. A decision is expected at the end of the year.Loggers and timber industry representatives say salvage operations could help southern Oregon´s struggling economy. Environmentalists say salvaging is simply setting the forests up for the next fire.