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Energy & Environment

New Technology To Aid Blowdown Cleanup In Langlade, Oconto Counties


A line of severe thunderstorms moved across much this region during the evening of July 19 last year. Widespread tree and power line damage was reported. The worst damage was associated with straight-line winds that affected a large swath from Pelican Lake southeast through Langlade and Oconto counties.

Hundreds of thousands of trees were snapped or uprooted. The damage path was about 60 miles long and up to 10 miles wide at times. Winds were at least 100 mph in the hardest hit areas near Lily in northeast Langlade County.

During a recent press conference, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Director Henry Schoenebeck says he felt the state and federal governments were slow to begin cleanup in the blow down area, but he says they've stepped up...

"...They were a little bit late coming to the table and a lot of loggers were already out there clearing roads and doing that type of thing. But they have stepped it up and I can tell you they're doing an awesome job right now of getting that blowdown cleaned up. We're going to see a lot of that wood get cleaned up over the next 2-3 years. We going to see a much increased volume coming out of that area..."

Schoenebeck says new technology the agencies have will help speed up the process and reduce the danger...

"So they're going to be using things like drones to put in timber sales. They're going to be using electronics in some of the computers that harvesters have. So they can put in a boundary for a timber sale. Program that into a computer into a machine. I think that is going to be a much safer work environment for the foresters..."

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that at least 63,000 acres of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest were affected, not including the state, county and private lands.

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