BC Hydro is burning most of the timber cut to make way for its Northwest Transmission Line, according to the Vancouver Sun. The utility says the quality of the wood and the remoteness of the site mean it is not economical to harvest and sell the wood.
A 340-kilometre-long route is being cleared for the new transmission line, running north from Terrace, B.C. The quantity of wood involved is massive -- 490,000 m3 or hundreds of thousands of trees.
The story in the Sun states that the land is being cleared by six regional First Nations and their contractors. The loggers have been unable to find markets for most of the timber. Bruce Barrett of BC Hydro told the Sun that much of the timber is second growth, it has smaller stems, and in the more northern areas, it is mostly hemlock and balsam, which have low market value. He says there is no market for pulp logs in the area; and buyers are looking for higher value sawlogs.
Clearing began in January for the line, and by October half the timber along the right-of-way had been cut, 290,000 m3. Only 24,400 m3 of that had been scaled for sale.
The newspaper says the total volume of wood – 490,000 m3 – would be enough to fill 16,000 logging trucks. The clearing project is one of the province’s largest logging operations.
Critics have spoken out against the burning of such as large amount of timber.