Region Archives: Canada West

Business & Politics

2023 Sustainability Report Demonstrates Canfor and Canfor Pulp’s Continued ESG Performance

Canfor Corporation
April 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Vancouver, BC — Today, Canfor Corporation and Canfor Pulp Products Inc. jointly released their 2023 Sustainability Report. The report highlights the companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities and tracks performance against established goals. “While 2023 was a challenging year for Canfor, we continue to advance our sustainability strategy, which is a cornerstone of how we do business,” said Don Kayne, President & CEO of Canfor Corporation. “As we share the results of our sustainability report this year, I am incredibly proud of our people, who remain laser focused on safely delivering the quality products our customers expect while integrating sustainability into all that they do.” Highlights of the 2023 Sustainability Report include: Moving towards our goal of becoming net-zero by 2050; Progressing our diversity and inclusion initiatives; Maintaining responsible forest stewardship practices; and Advancing Indigenous partnerships.

 

Read More

Harrop-Procter community mill receives provincial funding for upgrades

By Tyler Harper
Nelson Star
April 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A local community mill has received a provincial investment for renovations to help it diversify its products. Harrop-Procter Community Cooperative has been granted $215,000 from the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund. The money will be used to upgrade equipment that helps the mill cut smaller diameter logs, and create three new jobs. The cooperative has managed the mill and logged the community forest above Harrop and Procter since 2009. Bill Macpherson, the cooperative’s president, said the money will be pooled with a further $750,000-$800,000 the organization is spending to renovate the mill. “It’s fairly substantial. It’s the new equipment that’s going to improve things that we can do as far as products and a roof linking a couple of buildings so the guys aren’t working out in the yard and the snow and the rain, and expansion of another building just to accommodate some new equipment.”

Read More

Boucher Bros. Lumber fined $102,000 after worker injured by wood planer

HR Law Canada
April 19, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Boucher Bros. Lumber Ltd. has been ordered to pay $102,000 following a guilty plea for violating Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. The penalty stems from a workplace incident where a worker suffered injuries after coming into contact with the blades of a wood planer. The incident occurred on Sept. 28, 2022, at the company’s Nampa, Alta., location. Initially facing 12 charges under the OHS legislation, the Crown withdrew 11 after the guilty plea was entered in the Peace River Court of Justice on April 15. Instead of a traditional fine, the payment will fund a mill safety education campaign managed by the Alberta Forest Products Association. This initiative includes the development of safety education videos targeting the lumber industry, utilizing the “creative sentence” provision of the OHS Act. This option allows for fines to be redirected to projects that enhance workplace safety.

Read More

Waterways deemed safe after effluent spill at Cariboo fibreboard plant

By Frank Peebles
Alberni Valley News
April 19, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

No waterways have been impacted from a spill at a West Fraser Timber-owned factory in Quesnel early this week. The B.C. Ministry of Environment was on-scene at the WestPine Medium-Density Fibreboard plant on Carradice Road on April 15 at 4:30 p.m to investigate after they were notified of a 2.5-million litre effluent spill. The liquid substance that spilled was being piped between that operation and a nearby pulp mill. According to the factory’s owner, West Fraser Timber, it was the company’s own system that made the discovery. …The ministry says an environmental emergency officer intends to visit the site this week to confirm West Fraser is taking appropriate action. …“Currently, the ministry does not perceive an imminent or acute risk to the environment.”

Read More

West Fraser Announces Completion of Sale of Two Pulp Mills

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
April 22, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, B.C.– West Fraser Timber announced today that the Company has completed the sale of its Quesnel River Pulp mill, and its Slave Lake Pulp mill to an affiliate of a fund managed by Atlas Holdings following completion of customary regulatory reviews and satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The mills will be operated by Millar Western Forest Products, which joined the global Atlas family of manufacturing and distribution businesses in 2017. …Sean McLaren, President & CEO West Fraser, “The sale of these two pulp assets, along with the disposition of Hinton Pulp earlier this year, enables West Fraser to focus its resources on becoming the premier building products company in North America.” Both mills both produce Bleached Chemi-Thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP) used to make paper products.

Read More

B.C.’s natural resources remain central to our collective well-being

By Jock Finlayson and Ken Peacock
Business in Vancouver
April 19, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbia’s natural resource industries—forestry, mining, energy and agri-food—are being buffeted by many challenges. A weaker global economy is weighing on some commodity prices. Multiplying and increasingly complex regulatory requirements continue to raise operating costs. In forestry, the aftermath of the pine beetle infestation, forest fires and government logging deferrals are all hurting the industry. The vaunted low-carbon transition is routinely linked to upside opportunities in some resource-based industries, but it also brings a risk that Canadian jurisdictions will lose out. …The NDP government’s apparent determination to move to an ill-defined system of “co-managed” Crown land in tandem with First Nations prompts hard-to-answer questions. …A review of throne speeches, annual budgets, various policy documents and the government’s climate policies suggests that policymakers have lost touch with the central role natural resources occupy in sustaining and advancing our collective well-being.

Read More

West Fraser describes spilled effluent as a water softener backwash

By Frank Peebles
The Quesnel Cariboo Observer
April 18, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

QUESNEL, BC — The 2.5-million litres of liquid substance that spilled at WestPine MFD factory in Quesnel was being piped between that operation and a nearby pulp mill. According to the factory’s owner, West Fraser Timber, it was the company’s own system that made the discovery. “On Monday, April 15, West Fraser’s internal monitoring system detected a leak of process water, comprised of water softener backwash, on a line running from the WestPine Medium-Density Fibreboard plant to Quesnel River Pulp, where it is processed,” said West Fraser spokesperson Joyce Wagenaar. “West Fraser reported the spill immediately to our regulator and undertook a cleanup effort which is now complete.” …The B.C. Ministry of environment said no waterways are suspected to be impacted at this time.” A ministry assessment of the liquid and its effects were still being assessed as of publication time.

Read More

Logging the Mission Creek Watershed draws landslide concerns

By Barry Gerding
The Kelowna Capital News
April 19, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Joe Rich residents attended a public forum to hear from Gorman Bros. Lumber representatives about the West Kelowna company’s timber harvest plans for the Mission Creek watershed. While Gorman’s logging plans for the watershed have not changed since 2021, a renewed influx of questions about those planned activities in recent weeks gave pause for the company, with the support of the Joe Rich Society, to organize the forum. Gorman Bros. forester Luke Gubbels said they’ve heard concerns centred around logging on the watershed slopes and what impact that might have on potential landslides. …Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance has been advocating to suspend logging in that community’s watershed, while the Interior Watershed Task Force is developing a campaign to press the provincial government to restrict clear-cut logging in community-dependent watersheds. …Foresters Matt Scott, Luke Gubbels and Bryan Darroch talked about the company’s move away from clear-cut logging due to environmental impact concerns…

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

A Mass Timber Solution for BCIT’s Student Housing Building

By Ben Hill
BCIT News
April 19, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The mass timber assemblies are the centerpiece of the Tall Timber Student Housing building’s design. To deliver panels that are ready for quick installation on site requires a careful process of design coordination and then precise manufacturing. …Jamie Pobre Sullivan, Associate from Fast+ Epp, who are the structural engineer on the project explains, “This coordination at the design stage is what allows the prefabricated panels to be installed so quickly on site, so we need to review everything from materials to trade coordination with trades prior to construction. Western Hemlock was used for the panels, which was a request by the CLT manufacturer, Kalesnikoff Mass Timber, to maintain construction schedule, but is also a design innovation. It’s a local material that’s accessible to the local manufacturer, so it makes sense to use it, but because it’s new we had to have validate confidence using the species within a point-supported CLT panel system. 

Read More

New mass timber rules boost for Castlegar’s Kalesnikoff Mass Timber

By Betsy Line
The Rossland News
April 19, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Changes to the BC Building Code that expand the uses of mass timber products in construction are good news for Kalesnikoff Mass Timber. The updates allow for mass timber in residential and office buildings up to 18-storeys. They also allow for more uses in places such as schools, shopping centres, libraries, retail, light- and medium-industrial projects and care facilities. The changes also allow more exposed mass timber in buildings. Other provinces are expected to follow B.C.’s lead and Ontario is already working on similar legislation. “From our standpoint, our goal is to bring as much mass timber solutions to communities throughout North America as is practical,” Kalesnikoff’s sales manager Devin Harding said. In March, Kalesnikoff announced a further expansion with the construction of a third plant in the Castlegar-Nelson corridor. Harding said that knowing this legislation was on the way played a role in the decision to expand.

Read More

Forestry

B.C. works with communities to boost wildfire prevention, preparedness

By Ministry of Forests
Government of British Columbia
April 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Province, First Nations, local governments, municipal fire departments and FireSmart BC are coming together to help B.C. communities prepare for the wildfire season. Building on recommendations from the Premier’s Expert Task Force on Emergencies, the FireSmart Wildfire Resiliency and Training Summit brings together hundreds of local and municipal firefighters to collaborate and train with the BC Wildfire Service. “People are feeling the impacts of climate change and longer wildfire seasons, and we know that the only way forward is to work together. Communities bring critical knowledge, skills and relationships to the table, and we’re growing their role in wildfire preparedness,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. …The five-day event includes two days of collaborative training between local fire departments and the BC Wildfire Service. Classroom and field work will focus on fire line operations, deployment of fire engines, large water-supply operations and overall approaches to structure protection in the wildland-urban interface. 

Read More

Manitoba First Nation seeks court order to halt logging in Duck Mountains

By Kristin Annable
CBC News
April 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A Manitoba First Nation is taking the provincial government to court to halt logging at Duck Mountain Provincial Park until it provides an approved plan for how it will protect the area and fulfil its Treaty 4 obligations. Minegoziibe Anishinabe, also known as Pine Creek First Nation, filed the application on April 12 in the Court of Kings Bench. It seeks an order to terminate the province’s decision to extend its agreement with Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd. that allows it to harvest timber in the western Manitoba provincial park. The province quietly extended its agreement with the U.S forestry giant through an order-in-council at the end of March. The application names the province and Louisiana-Pacific. …At the heart of the argument is a forest management plan (FMP) that the First Nation alleges has not been approved and goes against Manitoba’s Forest Act.

Read More

Canada’s logging industry is seeking a wildfire ‘hero’ narrative

By Stefan Labbé
Vancouver is Awesome
April 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

On a rainy Friday this month, industry executives and government officials were sitting on the fourth floor of a Vancouver casino hotel. From the stage, a pitch for the future of forestry was on repeat: what if logging companies could be the heroes who saved British Columbia from wildfires? …David Coletto, head of the market research firm Abacus Data, presented the results from a poll he designed with COFI. After Canada’s most destructive wildfire season on record, the results suggested the B.C. public was ready to accept a narrative that the forestry industry could act as a saviour. …Jamie Stephen, the managing director of the energy and resources consulting firm TorchLight Bioresources, put it another way. “Counterintuitively, if governments and the public want forestry to contribute to climate mitigation in Canada, we have to harvest more, not less,” he said.

Read More

B.C. set to shovel more than $55M out to plant 50 million trees in 2024

By Wolf Depner
Campbell River Mirror
April 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Provincial figures peg the total cost of planting 50 million trees this year at $75 million with the province’s share being $55.5 million. The rest of the money is coming from an agreement with Natural Resources Canada. B.C.’s forests ministry released that figure last week as part of marking the planting of the 10-billionth tree since the start of the reforestation program in 1930. The ministry said two billion of those were planted in the past seven years. Last year, 305 million seedlings were planted in B.C. forests and one of these seedlings was the 10-billionth planted since work began almost a century ago. …This year’s season is starting against the backdrop of what may turn out to be a worse fire season than last year’s, which caused significant damage to provincial forests.

Read More

Mother trees and socialist forests: is the ‘wood-wide web’ a fantasy?

By Daniel Immerwahr
The Guardian
April 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In the past 10 years the idea that trees communicate with and look after each other has gained widespread currency. But have these claims outstripped the evidence? …Peter Wohlleben’s bestseller, The Hidden Life of Trees, has inaugurated a new tree discourse, which sees them not as inert objects but intelligent subjects [with] thoughts and desires that converse via fungi that connect their roots “like fibre-optic internet cables”. … In 1997, a Canadian forest ecologist named Suzanne Simard co-published a study in Nature describing resources passing between trees, apparently via fungi. …The title of the article was almost impeccably dry – “Net transfer of carbon between ectomycorrhizal tree species in the field”…The journal’s editors sensed promise. They made it Nature’s cover story, commissioned a foreword by a leading botanist, and affixed an indelible pun: this was the “wood-wide web”. It wasn’t Simard’s metaphor, but she has pounced on it.

Read More

Trudeau government intervenes at last minute to save serial blockader from deportation

By Tristan Hopper
National Post
April 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Zain Haq

Zain Haq, a Pakistani national who came to Canada in 2019 on a study permit, has been arrested at least 10 times, convicted of mischief charges, and has been pretty open about his role in leading a foreign-funded “rebellion” against the Canadian government. And now, after a years-long effort by the Canada Border Services Agency to secure Haq’s deportation, his removal was stayed at the 11th hour, potentially due to the intervention of the Trudeau government. Haq was scheduled for deportation by no later than Monday, April 22… But on Friday, Haq received a cryptic call from the office of Joyce Murray — the Liberal MP for his riding of Vancouver Quadra — telling him to stay by his phone. He was soon contacted by a CBSA case officer telling him he could stay in the country. Haq’s lawyer, Randall Cohn, suspected someone in the federal cabinet was “listening and paying attention to the timing.”

Read More

Whistler looks to learn from fire seasons past

By Scott Tibballs
The Pique News Magazine
April 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Whistler is leaning into its fire preparedness as a drier-than-normal winter comes to a close and another warm summer looms. “The need for emergency preparedness is becoming more evident each year with the growing fire season, and the risks associated with that,” said Chief Thomas Doherty of the Whistler Fire Rescue Service (WFRS). …Doherty said the WFRS and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) are adapting to climate change by increasing their emergency preparedness through, among other things, simulating a community-wide evacuation. The fire department, the RMOW and the RCMP will simulate the scenario of a fire triggering an evacuation from the Spring Creek area in order to prepare them for the real possibility of a wildfire, and hopefully plug any operational gaps. …The event is a first for the WFRS.

Read More

Scientists assess paths toward maintaining BC caribou until habitat recovers

UBC Okanagan News
April 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thanks to drastic and evidence-based solutions, more southern mountain caribou roam Western Canada today than in previous decades; however, herd numbers are too fragile to sustain themselves without continued intervention. That begins the conclusion of a new research paper published in Ecological Applications by a team of wildlife and biodiversity researchers led by Dr. Clayton Lamb, a postdoctoral fellow at UBC Okanagan. …Researchers found that while caribou have declined dramatically over the past few decades, there are 52% (or less than 1,500) more caribou on the landscape than if no recovery actions had been taken. …“We have 1,500 more caribou than we would have had without these actions,” says co-author Dr. Rob Serrouya, Co-Director of the Wildlife Science Centre with Biodiversity Pathways. “There is strong evidence that predator reductions have increased caribou populations and avoided further caribou extirpation events.

Read More

When city folks run the forests

By James Steidle, Stop the Spray
The Prince George Daily News
April 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

James Steidle

Recently Lower Mainland MLAs Bruce Ralston, our Minister of Forests, and our fresh-eyed Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation, Andrew Mercier were in town. I have no idea what was said… They don’t talk to critics like me who volunteer their time to highlight forestry issues. But I suspect it was the usual “solutions.” The moose will pay. …Our primary forests will pay. And of course, eventually, you will pay. …We will scrape the forests barren of life … plaster the landscape in monocrop pine plantations … as every last dollar of investor profit [is] siphoned out of our region to keep the global shareholder happy. …Last week at COFI, the investor class actually had the nerve to say red tape was to blame for the decades-long decline of the forestry sector, a sector that lost nearly half of its work force at the same time the floodgates were opened to deregulation and big capital.   

Read More

Okanagan environmentalists frustrated with changes to BC timber salvage rules in wake of wildfires

By Gabrielle Adams
InfoTel News
April 19, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Community members and environmental organizations recently gathered to discuss their discontent with the state of forest protection in BC at a town hall meeting. Attendees at the April 13 meeting expressed frustration with the government’s recent change in pricing and procedures for forest salvaging in the wake of wildfires. “The government is telling us that to help communities, they’re going to make the access into all burned areas of BC easier, they’re going to give the industry, and loggers, and forest corporations, easier access, less red tape and no environmental protection agencies to access all the burned lands. “You know why? Not for community health, not for forest health… but just to get more money for the sawmills,” Taryn Skalbania, with the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance. “We need our forests standing behind us for wildlife, for habitat, for water.”

Read More

Premier’s, minister’s statements on Earth Day

Government of British Columbia
April 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Premier David Eby has issued the following statement marking Earth Day: “Earth Day is a time to honour this incredible place we call home and renew our commitment to preserving it for future generations. Throughout the province, people are celebrating and taking action … committing to small changes that can add up to a big impact on our world. In B.C., we are fortunate to be surrounded by natural beauty, from the rugged coastline to lush forests. But climate change is threatening the places we all love, as well as the health, safety and well-being of people and communities. In recent years, British Columbians have endured record-breaking wildfire seasons, heat waves, floods and droughts – and we are now facing record-low snowpack. The trend is clear and profoundly concerning. Our government is a leader in climate action, and we are ramping up our efforts to address the growing threats of a changing climate.

Read More

Earth Day Special: How UBC is Fighting Climate Change

By Benoit-Antoine Bacon, president and vice-chancellor of UBC
Policy Magazine
April 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Last year, Canada experienced its most devastating wildfire season in recorded history, both in terms of carbon emissions and area burned. Our community experienced that firsthand when wildfires forced the sudden evacuation of the University of British Columbia‘s beautiful Okanagan campus last summer. Already, this year is predicted to be at least equally dire. …The Centre for Wildfire Coexistence, led by Dr. Lori Daniels, is taking a balanced scientific approach to wildfire research grounded in Indigenous knowledge. This approach recognizes wildfires as natural ecological processes that, when properly managed, contribute to the health and diversity of forests. Dr. Mathieu Bourbonnais at UBC Okanagan, a former wildland firefighter himself, is working closely with the BC Wildfire Service and rural and Indigenous communities. …This is one example of how Canada’s universities contribute tangible, evidence-based solutions to mitigate climate change and its consequences.

Read More

Only 3-4% of B.C. residual fibre reports checked in the field

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Williams Lake Tribune
April 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Ministry of Forests has confirmed only three to four per cent of residual fibre reports are verified in the field. A ministry spokesperson said 75 to 100 per cent are given an office review and three to four per cent are checked in the field. “An office review of survey data checks for consistency with policy, as many survey errors can successfully be detected from the office.” Limits are set by the province for the amount of residual fibre left following harvesting, as well as requirements for measurement, reporting and how much companies are billed for the residual left behind. Between 2017 and 2023, the residual level after harvest declined by 37 per cent on the Coast and 24 per cent in the Interior, meaning more fibre was hauled out of the bush with less slash burning taking place, the ministry noted. In Budget 2024, the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. is receiving $60 million to increase the use of low-value or residual fibre from logging…

Read More

Kaslo residents gather for FireSmart and Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan open house

By Rachael Lesosky
Valley Voice in Yahoo! News
April 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

On the evening of Wednesday, April 3, about 20 Kaslo residents gathered for an open house on the Kaslo FireSmart Program and the Kaslo & Area D Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan. Presenters included Jessie Lay, Kaslo’s FireSmart coordinator, John Cathro and Mark Elder, professional foresters, and Jeff Reyden, co-manager of the Kaslo & District Community Forest Society. …Jessie Lay opened the evening. She talked about the purpose of FireSmart and what the program offers. As coordinator, Lay administers home assessments. She visits homeowners and discusses what can be done to make the property more resilient to wildfires. …John Cathro and Mark Elder presented on the Kaslo & Area D Community Wildfire Resiliency Plan. …Cathro, in partnership with B.A. Blackwell & Associates, was contracted by the RDCK to create the CWRP. …Jeff Reyden offered a short presentation on what the Kaslo & District Community Forest Society has been up to.

Read More

‘Epic waste of time’: View Royal fire chief angry at old-growth logging protest that required emergency crews

By Jordan Cunningham
Chek News
April 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA, BC — In the morning commute, you couldn’t miss them. Two protesters went to great heights on Thursday to protect tall trees, but it was the lengths to which first responders had to go that had View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst fuming. “This is what we would call an epic waste of our time,” he said. …Westshore RCMP responded first, followed by View Royal Fire. “I’ve got a ladder truck here that’s supposed to be protecting people from fire, but we’re cutting protesters down from a tree in a CRD park,” said the fire chief. …Deploying the View Royal ladder truck meant blocking off two of the northbound lanes on the Trans-Canada Highway, which slowed traffic nearly to the McKenzie interchange. …For Hurst, it’s not just a matter of resources, but consideration. …The protesters left the area on foot, but not before a lengthy discussion with Hurst.

Additional coverage in  CTV News, by Brendan Strain: Old-growth forest activists suspend 18-metre banner near Highway 1

Victoria Times Colonist, by Jeff Ball: Police end tree-sit protest near Trans-Canada Highway; banner removed

Read More

Group tries to block aerial spraying in West Kelowna

Kelowna Daily Courier
April 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

An environmental group is appealing the government’s decision to allow the aerial spraying of a bacterial pesticide in West Kelowna. …the local group, the Kelowna Citizens Safety Association, wants the spraying halted until “a comprehensive risk assessment can be conducted for the citizens and passersby”, per a press release issued Thursday. The group’s leader, Lloyd Manchester, says a formal appeal against the spraying has been filed with the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board. Current plans are for the spray to be spread over the area from airplanes flying approximately 100 feet above the ground, Manchester says. He says other treatment methods against the spongy moths should be pursued. 

Read More

No evidence of increasing droughts, floods, hurricanes and wildfires, despite activist claims

By Fraser Institute
Globe Newswire in the Financial Post
April 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Contrary to claims by many climate activists and politicians, extreme weather events—including forest fires, droughts, floods and hurricanes—are not increasing in frequency or intensity, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent think-tank. “Earth Day has become a time when extraordinary claims are made about extreme weather events, but before policymakers act on those extreme claims—often with harmful regulations—it’s important to study the actual evidence,” said Kenneth Green, author of Extreme Weather and Climate Change. The study finds that global temperatures have increased moderately since 1950 but there is no evidence that extreme weather events are on the rise. …“The evidence is clear—many of the claims that extreme weather events are increasing are simply not empirically true,” Green said.

Read More

Prince George to host massive wildfire event

The Prince George Daily News
April 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

PRINCE GEORGE, BC — The Wildfire Resiliency and Training Summit (WRTS) is an important five-day event that will attract more than 650 members of the B.C. FireSmart community, including First Nation members, local governments, the Province of B.C., fire departments, local FireSmart representatives, wildfire mitigation specialists, firefighters, researchers, emergency managers, wildfire scientists, and industry partners. The summit will kick off with two days of training for B.C. firefighting professionals, followed by a three-day in-person conference at the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre. The conference offers a range of informative workshops and expert panels led by captivating wildfire resiliency leaders that will help professionals prepare for the upcoming wildfire season. The theme for this year’s event is “recover, rebuild, prepare,” which recognizes the importance of resilience after experiencing unprecedented wildfires, rebuilding communities with FireSmart principles in mind, and preparing for future wildfire activity.

Read More

Alberta bracing for a long wildfire season fuelled by drought

By Wallis Snowdon
CBC News
April 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta is bracing for another challenging fire season and with fire officials urging communities to prepare for conditions to grow more volatile as a summer drought settles in. With many communities across the province already parched because of a lack of winter snow cover, officials Thursday urged Albertans to be vigilant in the weeks ahead. Christie Tucker, an Alberta Wildfire information unit manager, said crews are preparing for a long and difficult season. “While there is a temporary dip in temperatures this week, it doesn’t mean that wildfire danger is over,” Tucker said during a news conference. “The drought conditions we’ve experienced in Alberta mean that it is still possible for trees and grasses to burn, particularly in the high winds that we have been seeing.” As of Thursday, 50 wildfires are burning across the province. Of those, four are classified as being held and 46 are now classified as under control. 

Read More

Quw’utsun Nation and North Cowichan to share stewardship of forest reserve

By Eric Richards
My Cowichan Valley Now
April 18, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

North Cowichan and the Quw’utsun Nation announced that they will be partnering to co-manage the Municipal Forest Reserve. Cowichan Tribes Chief Cindy Daniels says that they are looking forward to taking up “stewardship responsibilities within their ancestral territory.”  The collaboration will see the creation of a co-management framework, future trail development and the protection of culturally sensitive areas.  Mayor Rob Douglas says these first steps are a pivotal moment “in our shared journey towards environmental stewardship and reconciliation.”  North Cowichan has paused all new decisions related to the MFR while the framework is established. 

Read More

Invasive spongy moth treatment spraying approved for Lower Mainland, Interior

By Ministry of Forests
Government of British Columbia
April 17, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Aerial spray treatments will be done in the Lower Mainland and three locations in the southern Interior in spring 2024 to eradicate spongy moths and minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees. Under the direction of the B.C. Plant Protection Advisory Council’s Spongy Moth Technical Advisory Committee, the ministry plans to treat the following areas in the Interior and coastal region: Cranbrook: 299 hectares (ha), Kamloops: 80 ha, West Kelowna: 52 ha, Langley: 30 ha, and Tsawwassen: 203 ha. Invasive spongy moths, also known as Lymantria moths, pose a risk to B.C.’s ecosystems and economy. Spongy moth caterpillars feed on tree leaves and have defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern United States in recent years. Untreated spongy moths risk spreading to other areas of B.C. and are a threat to urban forests and farms.

A second press release identifies spray locations on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island

Read More

‘It is a win for us’: Saskatchewan government halts clear cutting plans

By Nigel Maxwell
Prince Albert NOW
April 17, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Members of several First Nations in the Prince Albert area are claiming a small victory. That’s because the provincial government has for now halted plans to clear cut a section of forest in the Holbein and Crutwell areas. Dave Rondeau has been advocating for the affected communities and relayed his cautious excitement about the one year moratorium. “It is a win for us absolutely because they’ve halted and they’re having a look at the opinions of the people on the importance of that area,” he said. Fearing the province’s forest management plan would have a big impact on their ability to hunt and gather medicines, over a dozen people showed up unannounced last January at the forestry centre in Prince Albert and held a protest. Concerns were also raised with respect to disturbing potential burial sites.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Climate and housing both part of the same solution

By Warren Frey
The Journal of Commerce
April 23, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Don Iveson

Edmonton’s former mayor is optimistic the housing and climate crises can be addressed together and to everyone’s benefit. Don Iveson spoke at the COFI conference held recently in Vancouver on the need to interconnect housing initiatives with climate change adaptation. In addition to working as executive adviser on climate investing and community resilience for Co-Operators Insurance, Iveson is also co-chair of the Task Force for Housing and Climate, which aims to address the housing crisis while including measures to increase climate change resilience. …“How do we deliver that housing in a climate-smart way and make sure these houses will be resilient to the weather,” Iveson said. He added homebuilders will have to ensure emissions aren’t locked into builds that undermine the national Emissions Reduction Plan. …He added modularization and embracing technological innovation would be vital pieces to both increasing housing stock and fixing Canada’s lagging productivity woes.

Read More

Evidence suggests carbon tax reduces GHG emissions

By Laura Brougham
Chek News
April 21, 2024
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

As criticism of the carbon tax continues, a University of British Columbia professor says there is evidence that it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Kathryn Harrison, a political science professor at UBC, says since B.C. implemented its carbon tax 10 years before the federal tax was rolled out, researchers were able to look at whether B.C.’s emissions changed following the policy. …“There have been, by my count, about 15 studies that found that B.C.’s Carbon Tax lowered emissions below what it otherwise would have been, didn’t hurt the economy, was fair, but what we also know is that we can’t get the kind of emissions reductions that we’re committed to at $30 a tonne that’s why we need that steadily increasing price schedule.” A 2023 article looking at studies on B.C.’s carbon tax say research indicates that the policy has been a success.

Read More

Health & Safety

Fires Linked to Power Tool Batteries

BC Forest Safety Council
April 22, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

In manufacturing more fires are happening because of power tool batteries, especially the lithium-ion type. Understanding the risk is important for all workers so they can stay safe while working. Workers must understand the risks, particularly related to thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries, which can lead to fires, explosions, and harmful gas release. Factors like overcharging or exposure to extreme heat can trigger this dangerous chain reaction. Following strict safety protocols is crucial for handling battery-powered equipment. IMPORTANT TAKE AWAY: Workers must remain vigilant and follow necessary precautions when handling battery-powered equipment to mitigate heightened fire risks from power tool batteries.

Read More

Changes coming to workplace first aid requirements

WorkSafeBC
April 17, 2024
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

On November 1, 2024, amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation relating to occupational first aid will come into effect. Employers across the province will need to review their current first aid plans and make necessary adjustments to meet the new requirements. In April 2023, WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors approved amendments to Part 3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, relating to the provision of occupational first aid. These amendments will take effect November 1, 2024, to give employers time to obtain any required first aid training and equipment necessitated by these changes. This backgrounder provides an overview of the changes. Visit our First aid requirements webpage for more information and resources.

Read More

Forest Fires

Evacuation ordered for part of Cold Lake First Nations, other wildfire alerts lifted in northern Alberta

By Wallis Snowdon
CBC News
April 22, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Some residents of Cold Lake-area First Nations have been told they need to evacuate the area immediately as flames approach, while people living in a hamlet near Fort McMurray have had the evacuation alert for their community cancelled. An emergency alert was issued just before 5 p.m. for First Nation of Cold Lake #149 (Legoff) due to a wildfire nearby. Residents have been told to go to the community hall and to look for updates on social media. The alert states the wildfire is burning in the area between Range Road 430 and Range Road 434. Meanwhile, near Slave Lake, a wildfire fire in the area of Canyon Creek triggered a temporary closure of Highway 2 on Sunday afternoon. For several hours, sections of the highway near the fire were experiencing poor visibility due to the smoke. The highway has since reopened.

Read More

‘Trees going up like Roman candles’ as fire season starts early in B.C., Alberta

The Canadian Press in the Victoria Times Colonist
April 22, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

CARIBOO, B.C. — Susanne Langan first noticed the Burgess Creek wildfire from her home in British Columbia’s Cariboo region on Saturday afternoon as a distant, thin column of smoke. But as winds picked up that night, the flames became more aggressive. “I could see lots of trees going up like Roman candles,” said Langan, who works as an equipment operator at Mount Polley Mine, about 50 kilometres north of Williams Lake. …In addition to the 1,600-hectare Burgess Creek fire about 600 kilometres north of Vancouver, the tiny town of Endako, a further 400 kilometres northwest, is also under an evacuation alert, threatened by a blaze that the BC Wildfire Service said on Sunday was less than a kilometre west of the town. …an evacuation alert for Endako was issued Sunday after 60 km/h winds began pushing the flames toward the community of a few dozen homes that sit on the north side of Highway 16.

Read More

Wildfire between Williams Lake, Quesnel grows to 1,600 hectares

By Angie Mindus
Terrace Standard
April 21, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The 2024 fire season got off to an explosive start in the Cariboo Fire Centre on April 20 with multiple fires breaking out around the region. Challenged by dry, windy conditions, the BC Wildfire Service responded to several wildfires, including the largest and most visible fire, the Burgess Creek wildfire, located between Williams Lake and Quesnel. …the Burgess Creek wildfire was discovered at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, and grew to 50 hectares by evening. In the Sunday morning update, the fire is now estimated to be 1,600 hectares. …The Burgess Creek wildfire remains out of control, and has prompted a continued full response from the BCWS on site including crews, air support and heavy equipment. Smoke from the fire is highly visible… There are no structures in the area of the fire, which has been classified as suspected to be human caused. …the fire appears to be location within several logging blocks.

Read More

Forest History & Archives

Future Uncertain for British Columbia 2-6-2 steam locomotive

By Justin Franz
Railfan and Railroad Magazine
April 22, 2024
Category: Forest History & Archives
Region: Canada, Canada West

A 2-6-2 steam locomotive that has led excursions in southeast British Columbia for more than 30 years could be parked this year after the management of the Fort Steele Heritage Town decided to conduct an “independent” review of the locomotive’s condition and the museum’s rail operations in general. But the decision by the museum’s board has frustrated staff who have taken to social media and local media to say there’s no reason to park the locomotive and that doing so could risk its future as an operating exhibit. Locomotive 1077 was built by the Montreal Locomotive Works in December 1923 and spent the last century in British Columbia. The locomotive worked on various logging railroads on Vancouver Island from the 1920s until being retired in 1969. The locomotive was sold to the government of British Columbia to lead the Provincial Museum Train in the 1970s… In 1990, it was brought to Fort Steele where it has operated on about 2.5 miles of track. 

Read More