Planting Freshly Burned Cutblocks

Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2007-05-29
Company Name: 
Evergreen
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

It is a regular practice for forest companies to burn logged areas prior to planting them. In
some cases these areas are burned in the spring and the window for burning and then planting is quite narrow. There are several hazards that arise after blocks are burned.

First of all, burning tends to destabilize slash and debris that has accumulated on the slopes.
This debris is not always completely burned and what is left behind may have been moved or destabilized by the fire. There is a high potential for this material to move and settle in the
first few weeks after burning. An extra degree of caution should be exercised when moving
through these areas. Planters in particular should pay extra attention when touching or stepping on any slash, logs or rocks as these may move more easily than expected.

Where there’s fire there’s smoke and ash and dust! Freshly burned blocks are nasty places for a tree planter to work. With every step a planter takes, dust and ash is raised into the air. This makes breathing difficult and dangerous. It gets worse when a shovel is plunged into the ground.

Planters should make every effort to plant their trees down wind from where they stand to
minimize the amount of ash and dust they breathe in. We have tried wearing masks to minimize dust intake, but have found this only hinders breathing further due to the amount of exertion inherent in planting.

Ideally foresters should avoid having planters working on freshly burned blocks until significant rain has fallen or the site has had a couple of weeks to cool off and have the ash settle or dissipate. This cooling off period would also help allow the destabilized debris to settle, thus becoming less of a hazard.

File attachments
2007-05-29 Planting Freshly Burned Cutblocks.pdf
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