Dynamite Lowers Forest Fire Loss

Dynamite Lowers Forest Fire Loss

Forest fires due to blasting operations in the States of Oregon and Washington have been reduced front 4 per cent of the total to practically nothing in 1927 by the use of electrical blasting. Figures on which the statement is based were supplied by Edward B. Ellis, Field Representative of the Logging Insurance Underwriters’ Association for Oregon and Washington. They show what has been accomplished during the last year by the use of electrical blasting methods. The facts covering 1926 and 1927 are as follows:

Loss from fires in 1926 originating in blasting operations started on railroad clearing operations, $20,580; started from choker holes. $124,751 ; loss from fires originating from other causes, $198,516; total losses, $343,847. Percentage of loss due to fires from blasting, 42 per cent; percentage of loss due to other causes, 58 per cent.

Loss from fires in 1927 originating in blasting operations, none; loss from fires originating from other causes (estimated), $100,000; total losses, $100,000. Percentage of loss due to fires from blasting, none; percentage of loss from fires due to other causes, 100 per cent.

These figures are for losses, of camp building, logging equipment and felled timber, but do not include losses on standing timber.

It was stated that practically all forest fires started by blasting operations are caused either by the fire spitting from the free end of the fuse, a lighted match dropped by the blaster after lighting the fuse, or a piece of smoldering fuse thrown into the underbrush by the blasting. Logging operators generally have come to accept this view.

Many insurance companies, after independent investigations, concluded that this matter was of sufficient importance to warrant special consideration, and as a consequence many of the insurance policies written this year to cover forest fire losses carry a provision that the insurance company will not be liable for loss from fire originating from blasting operations where fuse and caps are employed. This, of course, has tended to reduce the number of blasting operations with caps and fuse.

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