We’re into our Winter logging season now. In California, logging in the Winter period is much more restrictive than during Summer. We are limited to operating only in “dry rainless periods” or “hard frozen conditions.” Right now we have both. This prevents muddy runoff and other resource damage.
Our rainfall and snowfall have been almost non-existent so far this Winter, but it has been very cold. When the rest of the country went through the big cold snap, we did too.
The coldest day was on a Monday. I was at the mill expecting log trucks to be pouring in, since we had such hard frozen conditions. No trucks arrived with logs. In fact, all trucks that went out that morning came back empty. I found out later that none of the loggers could start any of their equipment.
I thought their batteries might have died due to the extreme cold, but I was wrong. Later, I talked to Jim, one of the siderods, about what happened. It turns out that we have a new environmentally friendly formulation of diesel fuel. This new diesel freezes at 10 F/ -12 C, but the loggers were prepared for this. They put an additive into the fuel, which lowered the freezing temperature to 1 F/ -17 C. The problem came about when all of the logging jobs were into negative temperatures. It dropped to -14 F/ -26 C on this harvesting job. The coldest that I heard of locally was -34 F/ -37 C in the town of Tennet. It literally stopped all of the loggers in their tracks.
The loggers, being the problem solvers that they are, came up with a workaround. They built warming fires under underneath the fuel tanks of the equipment. It heated the fuel enough to thaw it and they were able to start their machines. It sounded a little dicey to me, but it did the job. On Tuesday they were all back up and running.
Kinta was filling in for Blitz as the official truck dog. Blitz was on holiday.