Massive forest restoration efforts expected to start this year on the Coconino and Kaibab national forests in Arizona are projected to save $100 million in thinning costs plus at least $11.6 million annually in the long run.
The latter is how much the local Forest Service now spends fighting wildfires each year, on average.
In addition, the decade-long thinning project is expected to support 1,674 jobs and $77.6 million in labor-related income annually.
The project all hinges on construction of a mill in Winslow to make flooring, trim and other wood products. It will be built by a Montana company, which was awarded a massive thinning contract last year to supply wood to its mill.
“We’re still working on the funding to finalize this, but we hope to be able to purchase the property and start surveys and permits in the April-May timeframe, and break ground in the June timeframe,” said Marlin Johnson, spokesman for Pioneer Forest Products.