Nursery workers are moving fast in Hubbard to get conifer seedlings shipped off to customers, and the wildfires that burned roughly 1.2 million acres in Oregon have given them a new sense of urgency, since millions of trees need to be replaced.
However, with limited capacity to grow new trees, it’s a process that’s expected to take several years.
“It was a disaster to be quite honest,” PRT nursery manager Allen Terlecki said, recalling the fires. “The smoke was so thick that at 9 in the morning here it was like midnight.”
Terlecki lives in the Abiqua Basin and was under level 3 evacuation orders more than once during the fires. He was worried about the nursery, though, making sure sprinklers were going and everything was watered around the 28-acre facility. In 2020, PRT shipped about 15 million tiny trees to customers, primarily in the timber industry.
The calls from frantic foresters poured in, even as September’s fires continued to rage: They needed to increase their seedling orders.