The Tree Frog News
Fire suppression fuels forest fire risk in BC forests
As wildfires burn across the province, how do officials determine which fires to fight and which to let burn?
Despite Sunday’s rains, parts of Vancouver Island are back at an extreme fire level. A wildfire near Lake Cowichan continues to burn but crews are making progress there. The Coastal Fire Centre says by Thursday afternoon the fire has grown to 16 hectares and it is now 20% contained. That fire started in an active logging zone, meaning the loss of valuable timber. Ironically, saving that precious resource is one of the reason’s B.C. started actively fighting wildfires more than 100 years ago. “If you have a timber economy or you’re managing forests for commercial use you really have to have a handle on the forest fire losses,” says forest fire research scientist Steve Taylor, with the Pacific Forestry Centre.
Progress made on Elaho and Boulder Creek wildfires
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Significant progress has been made containing the Elaho and Boulder Creek wildfires, due to the hard work of BC Wildfire Service crews who have taken advantage of reduced fire behaviour in recent days. The Elaho wildfire is now 45% contained. It’s located about 67 kilometres west of Pemberton and covers 12,523 hectares. Despite the difficult terrain, crews continue to extinguish hot spots inside and along the fire’s perimeter, establish fuel-free zones and install sprinklers to reinforce existing control lines. Helicopter bucketing operations are supporting ground crews and working to extinguish less accessible hot spots. The Boulder Creek wildfire is now 55% contained.
After the fire: What's next for northern forests and communities?
Beth Rogers and Thayne Robstad spent more than a month foraging in a burnt Northwest Territories forest this summer. The Saskatoon couple was in search of morel mushrooms, which thrive in the aftermath of forest fires. After this year's widespread inferno in northern Saskatchewan, they predict morels will be plentiful there next year. ...Professor Toddi Steelman, executive director of the school of environment and sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan, noted the Saskatchewan fire season typically extends beyond August. "Who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us?" Steelman said.
WILDFIRE WATCH: Animation shows B.C. drying out again
Much of B.C. is heading back into parched, dry conditions that threaten to spark a surge in forest fire activity. An animated map (see below) of the fire danger maps posted since July 1 graphically shows how the risk of fires has declined since record hot temperatures in early July, but is on the increase again. Hot, dry conditions are returning after sporadic rain last weekend, and that could be worsened by strong winds expected in some areas over the B.C. Day long weekend, B.C. fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said Thursday. "That could cause some pretty rapid fire growth if we see fires starting," he said. "We have to anticipate fire activity is going to ramp up across the province."
No fires allowed
There's no room for careless fires this B.C. Day long weekend, and the provincial government is reminding people a fire ban is still in effect for the entire Okanagan. Minister of Forests Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission, said with more than 1,000 B.C. Wildfire Service personnel and contractors putting their lives on the line to protect British Columbians, people have to do what they can to reduce the risk of human-caused fires. “Fire prevention legislation and regulations are in place to help protect the lives and property of every British Columbian,” Thomson said. “On this B.C. Day long weekend, have a great holiday, be smart and do your part to prevent fire-related tragedies.”
Wildfire near Glide hops containment line, soars to 600 acres
The wildfire that roared to life in Douglas County Tuesday hopped a containment line Wednesday afternoon and grew to 600 acres in size by this morning. The Douglas Forest Protective Association, which first responded to the Cable Crossing fire five miles east of Glide near Highway 138, reported the flames jumped the line at about 5 p.m. Wednesday in the midst of ongoing containment efforts. "As aviation and ground resources moved to attack the new spot fire, a wind shift caused the fire to quickly grow out of control," an agency news release reads. The flames were last reported moving southeast toward Umpqua National Forest lands.
Fire east of Canyonville grows to 6,000 acres
Stouts fire forces evacuations, likely to send smoke into Rogue Valley
A fast-growing wildfire in Douglas County is pushing up a massive column of smoke and hot air, creating a pillar cloud that can be seen from Medford, fire officials said. According to a news release from the Douglas Forest Protective Association, the Stouts fire was spotted around 2 p.m. and was estimated at 2 acres. Within the hour, the smoke plume was clearly visible to forestry officials on one of the agency's fire watch cameras. It quickly surged to 20 acres, and by 4 p.m. had grown to more than 200 acres. By 4:45 p.m. it was estimated at 600 acres, and by 8 p.m. had surged to more than 6,000 acres, officials said. ..."6,000 is not a typo," an ODF official replied. Officials said the fire, burning about 11 miles east of Canyonville near the community of Milo, was exhibiting "extreme behavior" and continuing to grow rapidly.
California wildfire forces evacuation of 500 people
LOS ANGELES — A rapidly spreading brushfire burning in parched timberland north of San Francisco has forced the evacuation of 500 people and destroyed several buildings less than 12 hours after it broke out, fire officials said Thursday. The blaze, named the “Rocky Fire,” is one of a string of wildfires threatening homes and scorching parched wilderness in the U.S. West, where several regions have endured sustained drought. ...The agency said the fire was spreading rapidly through heavy brush and timberland. Rugged terrain made access difficult for firefighters. The blaze has destroyed several outbuildings and mandatory evacuation orders were issued to about 500 people, CalFire said.
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Several blazes thrust Northern California into fire season
LOWER LAKE, Calif. — Triple-digit temperatures and gusty winds thrust Northern California into full-fledged wildfire season with several new blazes flaring up, forcing hundreds of people from their homes. California's 14 large fires, mostly in the scorched northern half of the state, are pushing 7,000 firefighters to their limits as they battle flames amid drought, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection.
Tournament tailored for timbermen
During four out of Peachfest’s five day run, five burly lumberjacks will be testing their strength against one another with logs and axes. And it’s a full time job for them – there won’t be any audience members going toe-to-toe against the lumberjacks. ...Dean says the Springboard Chop is also a fan favourite, which is an old logging practice that became outdated with the advent of new technology. ...The team has been under Dean’s direction since he took over in 2008, though the West Coast Lumberjack Show was originally founded in 1982. “It’s the type of show that seems timeless,” he said. “People want to keep seeing the show - nobody seem to tire of it.”
Protect ancient trees from logging
Letter by Gilbert Zaversenuke
A logger I know who cut down a gigantic tree feels bad. He now thinks it was wrong. We all know these trees are special. These trees should not be cut down. There should be a law that prohibits their cutting. I suggest that any tree older than 500 years has earned the right to continue living. Pass this law, and your kids will thank you. Long may they prosper.
Drought affects forests for years: study
New research suggests that Canada's drought-stricken forests will take years longer to recover from dry weather than previously thought. In a study published in Science magazine, William Anderegg of Princeton University said trees feel the lingering effects of a drought for up to four years. "Drought is always (thought of) as a light switch: when it's dry, trees grow slowly, but the moment the rains come back and the soil gets wetter, it's like the trees recover perfectly and almost immediately," he said. "It turns out it doesn't work like that."
New Natural Resources minister
The MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie took on the portfolio in July. Hines, who has held elected office in Nova Scotia for 28 years, was first elected to the House of Assembly in 2013. The minister was the Municipal Warden of the Guysborough Municipality and worked for many years in the energy and hospitality industries. He is Vice Chair of the Assembly Matters Committee. He is a member of the Resources Committee. He is also a member of the House of Assembly Management Commission.
Judge strikes down attempt to halt timber sales
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has turned down the Blueberry River First Nation’s attempts to stop the B.C. government from selling the rights to cut down timber in a certain area of their traditional territory. The move may benefit the employees of the Canfor mill in Fort St. John. Court documents suggest that the company relied on these sale lots being put up for auction “to sustain its sawmill operators and its employees in Fort St. John.” The issue goes back to 2010, when the Ministry of Forest and Range (now the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources) drew up forest plans that allowed about 17 square kilometres of trees to be cut down over 15 Timber Sale Licences near Inga Lake, Pink Mountain, and other areas.
Taking action to manage beetle kill in area forests
Northwest Montana is a big place with miles of trails, rivers, lakes and mountains in every direction
...Known locally for his airline expertise (he has helped shape the local air program through a variety of roles), Moffett also has a background in forestry, including more than five years as a forest planning research assistant for the University of Washington. He believed that something else was at play on his property and ultimately determined that bark beetles had infested the Douglas fir. Moffett and his wife had purchased the 70-acre property the year before, and old-growth Douglas fir covered much of it. Many homeowners would have been devastated by the news, but Moffett approached the problem with a level of practicality befitting his forestry background.
Harvesting Iowa timber
MT. PLEASANT, Iowa (KWQC) – From the sloughs of the Mississippi, to becoming a part of your home. KWQC takes you on a tour of a sawmill, showing from start to finish the unique way they harvest timber. “It’s a fairly large industry in the state of Iowa. It’s one that you don’t see or hear a lot about,” said vice president of Batey Ltd. Todd Batey. “Nationwide I think most people don’t know when sawmills are in a community,” said president of Batey Ltd. Sally Johnson. “It’s kind of funny.” Lumber jacks, a job you may not think about in Iowa. “People sit on wooden chairs and wooden tables and they live in wooden houses but I think in their minds the lumber comes from Menard’s or the lumber store,” said Johnson. Batey Ltd. is a grade sawmill in Mt. Pleasant.
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Officials tout benefits of pilot program on forest funding
Many benefits, few challenges, they say
WHITE MOUNTAINS — A new pilot program is testing the way national forests, including Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, are funded. The program started in 2012 in Regions 1, 3 and 4. Apache-Sitgreaves is in Region 3. The program is a significant policy change for the agency’s restoration programs and in how Congress structures the appropriations to the agency. Called Integrated Resource Restoration, the program basically allows the regions and the forests within the region to have more say in how money is used. This is different than the current system which uses budget line items to give a specific budget to a specific program.
Company & Business News
Interfor Reports Q2'15 Results
Decision to Exit the Tacoma Sawmill Announced
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA-- - INTERFOR CORPORATION (TSX:IFP) recorded a net loss of $20.6 million, or $0.29 per share, on sales of $429.7 million in Q2'15 compared with a net loss of $0.2 million in Q1'15 and net earnings of $7.4 million in Q2'14. Included in the Company's results for Q2'15 is a pre-tax loss of $7.7 million(1) associated with the operations of the Tacoma sawmill which was acquired from Simpson Lumber Company, LLC ("Simpson") earlier this year as part of a larger transaction involving a total of four mills.
Jury for Babine Inquest Not Finished
Burns Lake, BC.- The jury for the inquest into the deaths of Robert Luggi Jr. and Carl Charlie at the Babine Forest Products mill explosion and fire in 2012, will resume deliberations in the morning. The jury retired yesterday afternoon to consider recommendations it might make. They continued their deliberations today, and will resume again tomorrow. The jury is tasked with determining the date, time, location and cause of death, as well as classifying the death as accidental, suicide, homicide natural causes or undetermined. The jury can make recommendations aimed at preventing such deaths in the future, but cannot lay blame.
Inquest deliberation to enter third day from The Prince George Citizen
Steve Thomson responds to US tariff on Catalyst’s exports
BC Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations issues statement to 11.19% duty on Supercalendered paper.
The BC Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations responded today to a preliminary decision by the U-S Department of Commerce to impose an 11.19% duty on Catalysts exports of Supercalendered paper. Steve Thomson issued a statement, saying “of course, we are disappointed in the decision which puts onerous duties on the company’s exports and significantly affects its competitiveness. The allegation that Catalyst received government subsidies is unwarranted and we believe a full investigation will confirm this.”
Resolute Forest Products reports second-quarter loss, sales down from year ago
MONTREAL – Resolute Forest Products Inc. (TSX:RFP) reported a loss of US$4 million in its latest quarter compared with a loss of $2 million a year ago. The forestry company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said the loss amounted to four cents per share for the quarter ended June 30 compared with a loss of two cents per share a year ago. Excluding special items, Resolute said it earned a profit of $7 million or seven cents per share, down from $17 million or 18 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Sales slipped to $926 million compared with $1.09 billion a year ago.
Irving hit by U.S. subsidy investigation
The U.S. Department of Commerce released a preliminary ruling Tuesday
The U.S. government is one step closer to imposing duties and tariffs on paper imports from J.D. Irving Ltd. of Saint John and Port Hawkesbury Paper of Nova Scotia. The U.S. Department of Commerce released a preliminary ruling Tuesday that says supercalendered paper, a product sold by the companies in the U.S., is unfairly subsidized. The ruling sets the Irving subsidy rate at 11.19 per cent, lower than the Port Hawkesbury rate, which it sets at 20.33 per cent. Those rates could be used to determine the level of duties.
Haley Street Adult Services in North Sydney to produce wood pellets
[North Sydney, NS] - An offhand remark about the shortage of wood pellets has translated into a new enterprise for the Haley Street Adult Services Centre. "With all the press around the shortage of wood pellets, somebody said well why don't we make wood pellets," explained society executive director Debra MacLean. "Our wood production officer Randall Finnigan came into the (North Sydney, Nova Scotia) office. We discussed the idea and within a half hour I was on the phone with (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and within a week we had proposals in for funding support."
Kenora Forest Products is restarting this fall after a seven-year shutdown
The long-awaited restart of Kenora Forest Products received a cash injection courtesy from Ottawa. Local MP Greg Rickford, the federal natural resources minster and FedNor czar, announced a $3 million loan to Prendiville Industries, the operation’s parent company, to assist in the Kenora stud sawmill’s September restart and expansion. Manitoba-based Prendiville is investing millions to modernize the shuttered operation and install an additional sawline. Among the improvements include adding another dry kiln and constructing a new 340-foot long planer mill, outfitted with the latest technology, with plans to make machine stress-related lumber.
Weyerhaeuser Reports Second Quarter Results
FEDERAL WAY, Wash., -- Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) today reported second quarter net earnings to common shareholders of $133 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.8 billion. This compares with net earnings of $90 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $1.7 billion for first quarter 2015, and net earnings of $280 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, on net sales from continuing operations of $2.0 billion for the second quarter last year.
IKEA Gets Deeper Into the Woods
Swedish furniture giant buys forests in Romania and Baltics and seeks to use less wood in products
IKEA is working to wield more control over its most important raw material: wood. The Swedish furniture giant earlier this month bought a forest in Romania, marking the first time that the company will manage its own forest operations. IKEA said owning and operating forests would help it secure long-term access to sustainably managed wood at affordable prices. The retailer used the equivalent of about 530 million cubic feet of round wood last fiscal year—or about 14 Empire State Buildings—excluding paper and packaging. Timber prices are expected to increase globally as population, the use of biomass for energy and U.S. housing sales are on the rise, said George Krempels, a fund manager at FIM Services Ltd.
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Arctic Paper to sell specialty papers mill
Arctic Paper is planning to divest its Mochenwangen mill in Germany, a specialty papers mill. According to the company, the reason for this move is to eliminate further losses at the site, and it does not rule out the possibility to close down the mill, which has 180 employees. The Mochenwangen mill produces wood-containing, bulky book printing paper, offset paper, wall base paper and backing paper on two paper machines. The divestment plans for Mochenwangen are part of Arctic Paper's profit improvement programme which aims at reducing costs.
Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
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Debunking So-Called Wood Pellet Facts
Two highly inaccurate statements are often made about using wood pellets as a substitute for coal in power generation:
Two highly inaccurate statements are often made about using wood pellets as a substitute for coal in power generation: CO2 released from wood pellet combustion is greater than CO2 released from coal combustion, and using wood pellets for heat or power creates a carbon debt that takes decades to repay. The Manomet study, released in June 2010, codified both of those so-called facts about using wood for fuel. Since then, both the “pellets are worse than coal” and the “carbon debt” arguments have become engrained in anti-biomass literature.
Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Wood towers go from ‘forest to frame’
Timbertowers are popping up on skylines around the world.
While Ontario has only just approved wood as a material for mid-rise structures up to six storeys, Vancouver architect Michael Green is at the forefront of a push to design and build highrise towers using cross laminated timber (CLT) also known as mass timber. Green and his team at Michael Green Architecture have already completed the eight-storey Wood Innovation Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George, B.C. at the University of Northern British Columbia, winning the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Innovation in Architecture award for 2015. At 29.5 metres, it is North America's tallest timber building.
Columbus cabinetmaker facing $50,000 OSHA fine in exposure death
Federal safety regulators recently ordered a Columbus cabinetmaker to pay a $50,000 fine for multiple safety violations after the January death of an employee. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday that Oak Creations at 1035 Old U.S. Highway 10 was facing 21 serious safety violations that were discovered after the Jan. 13 death of longtime employee Tom Hegg. Hegg, 55, was a finish sander who died of acute exposure to wood dust after 15 years with the company, according to OSHA. Agency officials said they uncovered hazards that exposed workers to possible respiratory hazards, fire, explosion and amputation.
Dry Rot Is Suspected in California Stairway Collapse
About two weeks after a June 16 balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif., killed six people and injured seven, a 26-year-old man was killed when an exterior, second story stairway collapsed July 3 at an apartment complex in the city of Folsom, about 100 miles northeast of Berkeley. In both cases, dry rot in the wood framing is the suspected cause. "The best we could find out is that it was rotted wood," says Steve Burger, Folsom chief building official. "They had lag screws supporting the stairway and apparently water got in there and caused wood rot and the screws gave out." ...The city says the attaching and sealing techniques specified in the design plans meet building code standards, and the building owner has committed to reopen and revaluate previously completed repair work. ...When asked if the city is planning any Berkeley-type changes to building codes, Burger says the city wants to be careful of "a knee-jerk reaction" in enacting new ordinances.
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For the love of woodworking
For kids at Summer Edventure Camp, Fridays means learning and building in woodworking class. Otto resident Paul Chew is the instructor and has a lifelong affinity for working with wood. For more than 30 years, Chew has been helping children enjoy woodworking. ...His background in teaching middle and high school industrial arts or “shop” came in handy. ...“Math isn’t just for math class. Hands-on work reinforces what my students learn in class. It is critical that this generation learn the skills needed to engineer a more sustainable future. All of today’s problems are challenges that this generation will have to deal with. Having the right experiences at a young age may lead more children into fields that can shape the future in a positive direction,” said Chew.