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October 30

Forest Defenders put Bodies in Front of Chainsaws to Disrupt Logging

Report from Earth First! Humboldt on ongoing actions to stop logging on Rainbow Ridge.

Honeydew, CA – Yesterday, logging operations during increased fire danger were disrupted by a group of forest defenders. The group is calling for Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC), the corporation that privately owns the timberland, to stop cutting trees on Rainbow Ridge, saying that the forest contains some of the largest unprotected Douglas fir and hardwood stands in Northern California and logging creates a heightened risk of forest fire.

Early in the day, forest defenders disrupted work at the logging site, engaging directly with loggers by physically putting their body in the way to stop the trees from being cut.

“This forest is a diverse ecosystem, it is a habitat corridor connecting the Lost Coast wilderness to the redwoods that are just a step inland,” said Meredith Dyer, a spokesperson for Earth First! Humboldt, a group that supports the actions of the protesters, “With every tree felled, road built, HRC is directly destroying endangered species habitat and contributing to climate change, removing hope that future generations have of surviving catastrophic climate collapse.”

Tim Meyers, Forester 1 for the Mattole region, arrived on the scene in response to more than 20 phone calls from local residents concerned about fire risk and to inspect the site during the Red Flag fire warning put in place for Northern California. According to the forest defenders, Meyers said there is a “fire danger, but the red flag warning doesn’t apply here and he can’t stop the loggers from working.”

The forest defender continued on, saying, “Logging in these dry conditions create a high risk of forest fire, with the use of logging equipment like chainsaws and heavy machinery. The removal of large, fire resistant trees also makes fires more likely in the future.” For residents living in the area, the Mattole Road is the only road in and out, making evacuation from a fast approaching fire challenging.

These logging operations come right after HRC ended operations in two timber harvest plans nearby. The cutting of those plans began last June despite opposition from the community which included two treesits and civil disobedience leading to 12 arrests. Of 800 acres approved to be harvested, less than 300 were cut. Four Humboldt County Sheriff vehicles were called to the scene yesterday, though no arrests were made.

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