Last August, I wrote a blog post about a new high production small log sawmill and log merchandising system set to go online in Eagar, Arizona late 2012. The newly named Four Corner Forest Products mill has been making equipment modifications and processing lumber on a test basis ever since to ramp up to official, full production this month.
Vaagen Brothers Lumber owns and operates the mill and runs a high-speed mobile HewSaw that churns out lumber from wildfire salvage and fuels reduction projects in northeast Arizona and northwest New Mexico.
I visited Eagar last week to meet with my friends Kurtis Vaagen, FCFP, General Manager, and Dwayne Walker of Future Forest. We toured the sawmill which is tucked into a formerly abandoned production facility. The site is a constant buzz of lumber production now, bringing new life to the forests and people in the area. The mill’s mobile HewSaw is capable of producing over 100,000 board feet of lumber (roughly 20 log loads) per shift. For forest health, this sawmill is a very big deal for the region. But for the 5,000 residents of Eagar, the mill is huge — employing 15 to 30 people directly and supporting 25 to 50 forest logging jobs.
Vaagen Brothers Lumber, Future Forest, and the U.S. Forest Service all teamed up to get this project rolling last year.