USDA Forest Service
Northern Region
State & Private Forestry
Contact: Angela Farr
(406) 329-3650 - office
(406) 240-3931 - cell
July 31, 2003
Slash Bundler Demonstration to take place in the Bitterroot
MISSOULA, MONT.—The first machine of its kind in North America is coming to the
Bitterroot Valley August 4th through the 14th, to test its potential to help reduce the risk of catastrophic
wildfire. The demonstration will be open to the public on August 14th, and is part of a series of events
organized by the USDA Forest Service and the machine’s manufacturer, John Deere/Timberjack.
Called a “slash bundler,” the new machine is like a giant trash compactor for the tree limbs and
tops typically piled and burned during logging and fuels reduction. The bundler moves through the
forest, picks up this “slash,” compresses it and rolls it into “logs” bound with twine, which can be fed
into a chipper to make wood chips for heat or energy generation.
Millions of forested acres in the west are at higher than normal risk for catastrophic wildfire, in
part due to high tree density and a buildup of undergrowth following years of fire suppression.
Reducing the risk generally requires removing brush and some trees to lower forest density.
New bundling technology may lower the cost of fuels reduction by providing an easier way to
dispose of brush, small trees, tree limbs and tops, which are generally expensive and difficult to
remove and of no commercial value. The bundler creates a commercial product and a healthier,
cleaner alternative to openly burning slash—since wood chip fired furnaces emit much less
greenhouse gasses and particulates than open burning. The bundler is also engineered for minimal
impact to the ground.
Slash bundlers are manufactured by John Deere/Timberjack in Scandinavia, where more than
20 are now in use. The Bitterroot demonstration is the fourth of seven planned for this summer, to
determine how well the machines work in our dense western forests. The tests will study how well the
bundler maneuvers in various forest types and conditions, its impact on the ground, and its operation
costs compared to other fuels reduction methods. The tests are funded primarily by the USDA Forest
Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the John Deere Corporation.
A public and media demonstration of the Slash Bundler will be held August 14th. Those
attending should meet at Super 1 Foods on Highway 93 near the junction to Stevensville, at 9 a.m. on
August 14th. Buses will transport people to the demonstration sites and return them to Super 1 Foods
by 3 p.m. Participants should bring water and lunch and wear field boots and clothing. Hard hats will
be provided for those who don’t bring their own. An information packet will be provided on the day of
the demonstration, or can be picked up at Bitterroot National Forest headquarters in Hamilton, after
August 5th.
For more information contact Angela Farr at (406) 329-3650 or (406) 240-3931. Those
planning to attend should contact Angela Farr or let the Bitterroot National Forest office staff know
when they pick up their packet. An R.S.V.P. is not required for attendance, but will assist in planning.
Bitterroot demonstration sites are on private land. All attendees will be expected to respect the
fact that they are visiting private property.
More information regarding all 7 slash bundler demonstrations can be found at: