Plum Creek Timber Co. loses $5 million due to fires

Daily Interlake
Northwest Montana


Kalispell, MT - Plum Creek Timber Co. announced Monday that it would take a charge of $5 million during the third quarter because of fire-related losses.
The money represents the value of the trees lost in the fires, according to spokeswoman Kathy Budinick.

Fires this summer burned across 45,000 acres of Plum Creek land, or 0.5 percent of its total ownership, Budinick said. Three fires near Missoula accounted to most of that acreage.

"This was the worst fire season we've had since we went public," she said.

The company issued a press release that said a significant portion of the timber remaining in the burned areas will be salvaged in the coming months.

Despite the fires, the company reiterated its third-quarter earnings expectation of 23 to 28 cents per share.

The press release also indicated that Plum Creek derived little benefit this summer from its geographically diverse timberland ownership: Extreme fire risk prompted the company to halt logging operations in the Rocky Mountain region, while unusually wet weather reduced access to its southern timberlands at the same time.

Consequently, harvest levels for the quarter are below expectations.

However, loggers returned to the woods in Montana last week, following rain and cooler weather that reduced the fire danger.


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