The suffocating smoke that blanketed the Santiam Canyon after Labor Day wildfires consumed nearly everything in their path is gone.
The Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires displaced more than 1,200 residents, destroyed more than 500 homes and consumed 400,000 acres of forest lands, both public and private.
The long process of rebuilding homes and lives has begun.
And for the Freres family, which has lived near Lyons since 1875 and operated wood products businesses there since 1922, that rebirth will take decades, not months or years. They operate Freres Lumber Co., Freres Timber and Evergreen BioPower — a co-gen plant that produces electricity serving 5,000 homes.
The work is already underway as loggers with chainsaws and heavy equipment operators are falling trees on Freres timberlands as quickly as possible, sorting them by size and fire damage and shipping them to the company’s mills.