By Ann McCreary
A logging operating that began last week in the Eight Mile and Cub Creek areas northwest of Winthrop will shut down this week because warm weather has thawed the ground and made forest soil vulnerable to damage.
The Wrangle Timber Sale logging operation is thinning trees in the Buck Lake, Siegels Slough and First Creek area as part of a forest health and fuels reduction project.
The Wrangle sale is expected to produce 8 million board feet off 1,300 acres, said Erika Taecker, vegetation management staff officer for the Methow Ranger District.
Logging trucks operated by contractor Boise Cascade have been traveling along the East and West Chewuch roads. Work has been done early in the morning before temperatures rise above freezing to protect soil in the area being logged, Taecker said.
Winter logging minimizes impacts to forest soils due to snow cover and frozen ground. However unseasonably warm weather has produced more spring-like conditions. The U.S. Forest Service has been monitoring the soil and determined that the warm weather has created sensitive conditions, Taecker said.
“Logging could resume in the summer” after the ground dries out, Taecker said. The work can also continue next winter if needed. The contract ends in February 2016.