Region Archives: US West

Froggy Foibles

Montana launches new safety enhancements for passenger vehicles

By @jerryoftheday
Instagram
September 12, 2022
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

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Business & Politics

Weyerhaeuser Strike Continues as Stock Prices Stumble

By Sander Gusinow
Oregon Business
September 23, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Shares of Weyerhaeuser declined 1.84% on September 22. The company’s stock underperformed when compared to its competitors, as West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd fell only 0.33%, Canfor Corp. declined 1.64%, and PotlatchDeltic fell 0.86%. The news comes at a time of constraint for the lumber company. Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) union have been on strike since Sept. 12. …Graham Trainor, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO… “Weyerhaeuser CEO Devin Stockfish earned lavish multimillion-dollar bonuses during the pandemic and last year was paid over $12.3 million. Meanwhile, the company insists workers must take pay cuts and cuts to benefits.” …Denise Merle, senior vice president for Weyerhaeuser, responded to striking employees’ demands with a statement saying the company’s last offer was “very competitive” and that the company “fundamentally disagree[s]” with the way it has been portrayed to the public.

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Benton County sawmill out of steam but still going strong

By Tom Henderson
The Oregonian
September 22, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

OREGON — A decade ago, the Hull-Oakes Lumber Co. still literally operated under its own steam. The sawmill, some 10 miles west of Monroe in Benton County, was one of the last to operate under steam power and remain commercially viable. Eventually, though, the 21st century proved inescapable. The company switched completely to electricity-based production in 2013, phasing in the electrical equipment over the course of a year or two. The old steam technology remained as a backup, but it’s been years since workers fired up the boiler for production, said Nathan Nystrom, the family-operated mill’s log buyer and forester. …The mill nonetheless remains a historical curiosity. A landmark recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, the sawmill was notable not only for its old-school methods, but also its role in bolstering the early Benton County economy. …Today they have ~50 employees and produce between 15 to 20 million board feet per year. 

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Weyerhaeuser employee contract negotiations ongoing

By Billy Spotz
KVAL 13 Oregon
September 22, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Weyerhaeuser employees are in the second week of their ongoing strike against the contract proposal from Weyerhaeuser. Over the past two years, Weyerhaeuser has reported record profits, and the most recent contract proposal it submitted to its employees involved healthcare premium cuts, making benefits more expensive during a time when money is already tight. …Last Friday, Weyerhaeuser employees and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers submitted a counteroffer to Weyerhaeuser. Thursday afternoon, Weyerhaeuser rejected it, standing firm on their previous proposal, believing it to be more than fair. Despite the gap between the two sides, some representatives from the IAMAW believe that they aren’t too far apart. …Weyerhaeuser and its employees are scheduled to meet again next Friday to continue negotiations.

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Cascades announces the temporary shutdown of one of its two paper machines at its St. Helens, Oregon tissue facility

By Cascades Inc.
Cision Newswire
September 21, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

KINGSEY FALLS, QC – Cascades announces the temporary shutdown of one of its two tissue paper machines at its St. Helens, Oregon facility. The machine has an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons of tissue made from virgin fibre, and supplies the Company’s converting plants, primarily the Scappoose, Oregon facility. Production of the second machine, located in a separate building, is not impacted. Following inspections carried out as part of its annual maintenance shutdown which began on September 11, it was determined that additional verification of the structural condition of the building is required. The length of the shutdown is currently being determined. Cascades reiterates that the safety of its employees is a priority. The Company is evaluating the financial and operational impacts of this situation on the forecasts for its tissue operations in the current year and will provide additional information once this analysis has been completed.

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Oregon high court declines appeal in $1 billion timber suit

The Associated Press in ABC News
September 17, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND, Oregon — The Oregon Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from 13 counties in a long-running $1 billion lawsuit over timber revenue. The denial ends a six-year legal battle over logging practices on 700,000 acres and is a victory for the state Department of Forestry and environmental groups. The decision leaves in place a lower court ruling saying that Oregon can manage forests for a range of values that include recreation, water quality and wildlife habitat — not just logging revenue. …The counties gave forestland to the state decades ago and Oregon manages the land and funnels timber revenue to the counties. But 13 counties took Oregon to court, alleging the state was not maximizing logging on the forests. A Linn County jury found in the counties’ favor in 2019 and awarded more than $1 billion in damages, but an appeals court struck down the verdict earlier this year.

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Lumber workers in Washington and Oregon continue to strike for pay hikes, benefits

Washington News
September 15, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

On Tuesday, about 1,200 Weyerhaeuser lumber workers began a strike at facilities in Washington and Oregon. …In Washington state, strikers are staging picketing at company facilities in Longview, Aberdeen, Raymond Mill and Olympia. In Oregon, pickets are taking place in Coos Bay, Springfield and Cottage Grove. Striking workers are log yard scalers and equipment operators, sawmill workers, mechanical loggers, and log truck drivers, which include a variety of maintenance, mechanical, and electrical workers. …One worker explained, “This is the first time in 36 years that Weyerhaeuser employees have gone on strike. This company has gone from a family-owned company to a greedy corporation.

Additional coverage: Weyerhaeuser reports work stoppage in Oregon and Washington

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Both victims of California’s Mill Fire identified as family sues Weed lumber mill owner

By Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler
The Sacramento Bee
September 14, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

WEED, California — The son of an immigrant from the Philippines who was killed in the wildfire in Weed earlier this month is suing the owner of the lumber mill on whose property the fire started. Joselito Bereso Candasa filed a wrongful death suit against Roseburg Forest Products, saying his mother was one of the two victims of the Mill Fire in Siskiyou County… the other victim as 73-year-old Marilyn Hilliard. …For more than a decade, Roseburg has operated a co-generation plant that turns unused wood into electricity. Last week, the company acknowledged that it stored hot ash from the biomass plant in a concrete bin. The bin — practically the only structure that survived the fire — didn’t have a lid. …Cal Fire officials have roped off key portions of the warehouse site and told Roseburg to hold off on the company’s investigation until Cal Fire has finished going through the premises.

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Weyerhaeuser timber workers in Oregon, Washington strike over wages

Associated Press in The Oregonian
September 13, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Employees who work for timber company Weyerhaeuser in Oregon and Washington are on strike, citing low wage increases and high health care premiums. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents more than 1,100 Weyerhaeuser employees, said employees walked off the job Tuesday. Negotiations for a new bargaining agreement with the Seattle-based company have been ongoing since this spring. An overwhelming number of employees reportedly voted to reject the timber company’s latest offer on Aug. 19, with the union saying the proposal came “nowhere close to what our members wanted or deserved.” Union members voted to strike soon after. “All our members want is their fair share of the profits they earned for the company, keep up with the cost of living, and make the gains that a good employer should offer, in light of the success they have reaped off the labor of their employees,” the union said.

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Early morning fire erupts at R-Y Timber

By John Carroll
The Livingston Enterprise
September 12, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

MONTANA — An early morning fire at R-Y Timber in Livingston on Monday destroyed a 6,000-square-foot building and machinery, and caused one employee to be life-flighted to a Salt Lake City hospital with burns, confirmed Dan Richards, the general manager at R-Y Timber. The apparent cause of the fire — which started around 6 a.m. — was an electrical spark and a “dust explosion,” said Richards. About 50 fire and police personnel were on location to battle the blaze with flames as high as “30 to 40 feet,” according to Danielle Babcox, public information officer for Park County Rural Fire District #1. The fire was contained around 9 a.m., said Babcox, and was “not progressing to other buildings, but there are a lot of hot spots.” …Richards said the lumber company’s planer building was “burned to the ground.” R-Y Timber employs about 70 people in Livingston. The sawmill makes 2-by-4 and 2-by-6-inch studs from timber grown in the Rocky Mountains.

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Man whose mom died in Mill Fire in Northern California, other families sue Roseburg plant

By Jessica Skropanic
Redding Record Searchlight
September 13, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

More than 100 people are suing the Roseburg Forest Products Co. in Oregon for losses caused by the Mill Fire in Siskiyou County. Among them is a man whose mother died in the blaze. Others are suing for personal injuries, or for loss or damage of their homes or other property by the fire. Last Wednesday Roseburg announced it was investigating claims a water-spraying machine used to cool ash at its veneer mill in Weed ignited the Mill Fire on Sept. 2. The residents who’ve filed the suits are represented by Northern California law firms with offices in Redding and Sacramento. The fire erupted in Weed and raced north to Lake Shastina. It swept through the historic Lincoln Heights neighborhood in Weed. …As of Monday, Redding lawyer Russell Reiner  said his law firm — Reiner, Slaughter, Mainzer, & Frankel — is representing 100-150 people suing Roseburg, some of whom suffered burns while fleeing the fire.

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Over 1,100 timber workers on strike across Oregon and Washington

By Adrian Thomas
Fox 12 Oregon
September 13, 2022
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

LONGVIEW Washington – Hundreds of employees of Weyerhaeuser, one of the nation’s largest timber companies, began a massive strike in the early hours of Tuesday in Washington and Oregon. Workers say that most recent contract negotiations did not yield a substantial increase in wages, improved retirement, and under the proposed agreement, workers would have to start paying a healthcare insurance premium without any improvements in coverage. Weyerhaeuser locations on strike include Aberdeen, Longview, Raymond, Coos Bay, Springfield and Cottage Grove. The strike includes all Weyerhauser workers represented by the union, International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers. …Workers on strike say their union contract has been normally been renewed successfully with the company every four years, but they say the company is not doing enough to compensate workers in the current economy.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Oregon’s first ‘living building’ is in downtown Portland

By Jeff Manning
The Seattle Times
September 25, 2022
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

With virtually no fanfare, no ribbon cutting, no politicians and little public money, one of the most environmentally advanced buildings on the planet opened its doors last fall in downtown Portland. Portland-based PAE Consulting Engineers spent four years planning, designing and constructing the five-story building. The unassuming brick-clad structure generates its own power, collects and treats its own water, and composts its waste. On top of that, it’s privately financed by a lender and private investors. This is “one of the only office buildings in the world to be powered entirely by the sun,” said Paul Schwer. …PAE is seeking the coveted “Living Building” certification for its headquarters. …The team also managed to avoid the enormous run up in timber costs by buying and locking down prices early. The building’s interior features mass timber components from a British Columbia supplier.

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New California Projects Respond To Heightened Fire Threats

By Brittany
California Examiner
September 21, 2022
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

CALIFORNIA — More than 2.7 million people in the state resided in “extremely high” fire threat zones in 2018. The amount of fuel produced by the local ecosystem and the likelihood of igniting owing to local human factors and climatic circumstances are the two primary factors used to arrive at the grade. Wildfires have been suppressed for the previous 70 years, which has greatly increased fuel and the likelihood of major fire. …Due to the devastating consequences of record-breaking wildfires on human settlements, the question becomes how to live in harmony with fire. Our newest solutions are showcased in four different case studies. …An intricate strategy that takes into account the interconnectedness of urban, suburban, and rural issues will be necessary in the coming decades. Although rigorous regulations on where construction can take place are necessary, “there still need to be deliberate development and a good amount of density”.

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State explores ways to certify Alaska wood for lumber in home and building construction

The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman
September 19, 2022
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

It costs Alaskans $20 million a year to import lumber, mostly from Canada, that has the quality inspection stamps required by lending institutions who finance most home and building construction. Alaska has a lot small local sawmills that need customers. Ironically, the lack of a state lumber inspection and certification program forces Alaska builders to import lumber from places out-of-state where the certifications can be done, and that adds to costs. The Alaska Division of Forestry and Fire Protection wants to change that. The agency is developing a new program to increase the use of Alaskan wood by allowing local sawmill operators to self-certify their lumber, the division said Sept 16. Local Use Lumber is a concept that promotes locally produced dimensional lumber to be used in some residential construction, usually single and double family houses. 

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USDA Climate-Smart Forestry Project could lead to more affordable housing in Tacoma

By Lionel Donovan
King 5 News
September 15, 2022
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

TACOMA, Wash. — The US Department of Agriculture is investing $20 million in a project to bring climate-smart forest practices to Tacoma. The project … is part of a larger effort to find ways to expand markets for climate-smart commodities like cross-laminated timber. The project aims to educate early adopters of the policies on the benefits of climate-smart forest practices. Forterra CEO Michelle Connor says these materials could be used to address Tacoma’s need for affordable housing while establishing a relationship with Tribal lands that isn’t based on exploitation and extraction. “This grant will allow us to have climate smart commodities that tie together our most rural communities, our Indigenous and environmental knowledge, with the heart and soul of neighborhoods like Hilltop,” she said.

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The Portland Airport – A Story of People, Forests, and a Beautiful Mass Timber Building

By Sustainable Northwest
September 13, 2022
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

In 2020 the Portland International Airport started a five-year transformative remodeling inspired by the lush forests of our region and the potential of mass timber design. Unique in scale, the project connects 2.2 million board feet to the forests and people that grew the fiber. It stands as a North Star for what is possible when sustainable building projects intentionally incorporate positive conservation, community, and equity outcomes. Feature stories on:

  • Designers & Builders – ZGF Architect’s striking designs for the PDX-NEXT remodel have required the Hoffman Skanska Joint Venture and Timberlab to develop innovative solutions to bring it all togethe
  • Sourced From Oregon & Washington – Through the stories of three unique wood products: Glulam Roof Beams, Ceiling Lattice, and Oregon White Oak Flooring, we highlight the tribes, family forest owners, and fabricators involved in the remodel of the Portland International Airport.
  • The Forests – Harvested from forests in the Pacific Northwest, including the Coquille Indian Tribe’s forestland in Southwest Oregon and Yakama Nation’s forestland in Central Washington.
  • The Manufacturers – Yakama Forest Products, Zip-O-Log Mills & Zip-O-Laminators processed wood into Glulam Beams for the PDX-NEXT roof remodel.

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Forestry

Wildfires are burning higher in the West, threatening water supplies

By Joshua Partlow
The Washington Post
September 22, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Two years ago, the East Troublesome wildfire in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest raced up the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, at one point crossing over the Continental Divide amid 12,000-foot-tall peaks. It would become the second largest wildfire in state history, and started on the same October day that the Cameron Peak fire would be crowned Colorado’s largest ever fire. …the two massive 2020 blazes represented prime examples of a troubling trend: wildfires are burning at higher altitudes in the major mountain ranges of the West, including in areas that are normally cloaked in deep snows in winter. Winter snowpack that melts slowly in the spring and summer is a primary water source for the West. And so these trends of more fire at higher elevations and faster melting represent “a major threat to a critical water reservoir for the region,” said Dan McGrath, a Colorado State University scientist.

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Fuel-reduction work helped suppress Helena-area blazes

Helena Independent Record
September 22, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Shortly after two wildfires occurred in late August in the Helena area, federal, state and local officials sent out a news release touting that fuel-reduction work in the wildland area helped lay the groundwork for the swift suppression of the blazes. Local officials said this preparation was years in the making and the work continues. The Grizzly Gulch fire started Aug. 26 and was kept to about 25 acres and the Mount Helena fire, on the cusp of Last Chance Gulch, started Aug. 28 and was kept to about 18 acres. Management to reduce fuel accumulations in this area worked exactly as it should, officials said. With reduced fire intensity – a direct result of active management – staff have more options to safely manage wildfires. …Brad Langsather, Helena Parks, Recreation and Open Lands Department said they have been able to increase the space between trees and increase the height from the forest floor to the canopy.

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New Oregon wildfire risk map is coming

Central Oregon Daily News
September 22, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A new draft of the Oregon wildfire risk map that received public outcry earlier this year will be released next March, the Oregon Department of Forestry said. The Oregon Explorer Wildfire Risk Map, mandated by Senate Bill 762 in 2021, was released on June 30. …But the state pulled the map after receiving feedback from some 2,000 Oregonians. …The department now says it has revised its timeline for rolling out the map based on the feedback it received. The draft will go out on March 1 with the final version released late next year before it is officially implemented. There will be an appeals period before it takes effect. Between now and then, the state is offering opportunities to engage with the public. …“Oregon State University’s College of Forestry has used, and will continue to use, the best science to contribute to statewide wildfire risk mapping,” said Tom DeLuca, dean of OSU’s College of Forestry.

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Climate-fueled wildfires worsen danger for struggling fish

By John Flesher and Brittany Peterson
Associated Press in Billings Gazette
September 21, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

AMALIA, N.M. — Biologist Bryan Bakevich rescued over 100 cutthroat trout in June from streams in mountainous northern New Mexico. The state’s largest wildfire on record had roared perilously close to their previous home, torching trees and undergrowth on nearby slopes. …They were kept in tanks at New Mexico State University until Middle Ponil Creek was readied to host them. Today, wildlife agencies in the southwestern U.S. consider missions like this essential as climate change brings more frequent and hotter wildfires, fueled by prolonged drought and tree-killing bug infestations. Particularly vulnerable are Rio Grande cutthroat trout and gila trout — rare species found mostly in small, high-elevation streams. “With every fire, more of their populations are being affected,” said Jill Wick, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “Their habitat is often gone, washed out of the creek. There’s no place they can hide and cool off. Their food is decimated as well.”

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Interior Department Invests Over $6.8 Million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Advance Wildfire Resilience in Oregon

US Department of the Interior
September 19, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior announced that it has invested over $6.8 million in fiscal year 2022 funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to advance wildfire resilience work and support fuels management projects in Oregon on 49,039 acres of land across the state. This is part of $103 million allocated by the Department earlier this year to reduce wildfire risk, mitigate impacts and rehabilitate burned areas. The additional funding will help complete fuels treatments on nearly 2 million acres nationwide this fiscal year, a substantial increase over the prior year. “As climate change drives harsher heat waves…we are seeing wildfire seasons turn to wildfire years, threatening communities, businesses, wildlife and the environment,” said Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau. “Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are investing in Oregon communities, advancing wildfire resilience work across the country, improving resources for the heroic firefighting workforce, and reducing the risk of wildfire.

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Forest fires impacting snowpack and compounding Western water woes

By Nik Olsen
Colorado State University
September 19, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Snowpack is a victim of increasing western wildfires, causing some regions to have less peak snow accumulation and reducing the number of days snow is on the ground, according to new Colorado State University research. In burned forests, trees no longer block as much energy from the sun and burned timber sheds soot making snow melt quicker in the late snow zone of mountain ranges – the highest area where snow is deepest and lasts the longest. Less snow could mean less water for a region that relies heavily on mountain snowpack for water supply, according to researchers. At the highest elevations, burned areas were snow-free up to 14 days earlier than in nearby unburned areas and in lower elevations, snow-free dates occurred 27 days sooner, according to research conducted by Stephanie Kampf, professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability in the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University.

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Federal Agency Plan Would Intensively Log Remaining Spotted Owl Reserves

By Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild
The News Guard
September 19, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

OREGON — A court battle is shaping up over a coast range timber plan. Oregon-based conservation organizations Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild have challenged the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Siuslaw Field Office’s plan to log 13,225 acres of public forests in the coast range foothills west of Eugene. The agency’s Siuslaw Harvest Land Base Project will clearcut mature and old-growth forests that border many communities and residences west of Eugene, according to the conservation organizations. “The BLM admits that this logging will increase fire hazard risks, slope instability and landslide risks, and drinking water contamination for these communities, but dismissed concerns raised about these impacts as insignificant,” a release from the conservation groups states.

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Rayonier 2021 Sustainability Report: Sustainable Forest Management

By Rayonier
NewsDirect
September 16, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Sustainable forest management involves a perpetual cycle of planting trees, allowing those trees to grow, harvesting those trees for use in various forest products, and then replanting new trees to begin the cycle anew. Rayonier first commenced a plantation forestry program in the late 1940s, marking the beginning of our perpetual cycle of planting, harvesting, and replanting our forests. Since then, we have planted well over one billion trees, and that number continues to grow, with more than 34 million additional seedlings planted in the U.S. and New Zealand in 2021. Rayonier operates an in-house research and develop ment effort designed to provide the knowledge, tools, and technology necessary to manage our forests sustainably and to implement effective silviculture programs (i.e., programs to improve the growth and cultivation of trees) across our ownership. 

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State proposes timber sale near El Capitan cave on northern Prince of Wales Island

By Raegan Miller
KRBD Ketchikan Radio
September 16, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ALASKA — Demand for lumber is pushing the state’s Division of Forestry to pitch the sale of old growth forest near El Capitan Passage on northern Prince of Wales Island. As KRBD’s Raegan Miller reports, a regional conservation group is arguing that the 340-acre sale could come at the expense of the island’s deer, fish and even tourism. The state’s Division of Forestry is proposing the sale, which would include clear-cutting eight million board feet of old-growth forest. That’s according to the preliminary best interest statement released late last month. And the division’s southeast area forester, Greg Staunton, said the timber industry has been struggling since the Biden administration paused old-growth logging in the Tongass. Timber industry jobs in the region fell to their lowest level on record last year, according to a recent report. 

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US Forest Service tries hand at relocating trees

By Nathan Giles
The Columbian
September 19, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Andrew Bower

U.S. Forest Service Climate Adaptation Specialist Andrew Bower’s experiment in the future of forestry under an ever-warming climate is about a 45-minute drive into the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. …This is an experiment in a radical new idea called “assisted migration” and a recognition by the Forest Service that climate change is here to stay. Assisted migration is the idea that because the climate is steadily warming, trees can — and, some argue, should — be moved from where they currently grow to where they are predicted to grow in the future. …Bower’s experiment is one of the first of many planned in the coming years by the Forest Service to see if the agency can put years of scientific research into assisted migration into operational practice. …In the years and decades to come, Bower expects to see clear differences between the locally sourced trees and the migrated trees.

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Yurok Forestry Director Becomes First Native Woman Appointed to State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection

By Yurok Tribe
Lost Coast Outpost
September 15, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Dawn Blake

On Tuesday evening, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Yurok Tribe’s Forestry Department Director Dawn Blake to the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. “It is an honor to be appointed by Governor Newsom to serve on the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. My traditional upbringing, university education and professional career have prepared me for the opportunity to manage the state’s natural resources on behalf of all state residents,” Blake said. “Placing a Native American land manager on the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection is a win for California and the many tribal nations within the state,” added Yurok Chairman Joseph L. James. “We strongly encourage the Senate to approve the appointment.” “With her background in western science and indigenous traditional ecological knowledge, Dawn has a comprehensive understanding of California’s natural landscape,” said Yurok Vice Chairman Frankie Myers

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The Forest Service Is Experimenting With Relocating Tree Species To Save Them From Climate Change

By Nathan Gilles
InvestigateWest
September 15, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

U.S. Forest Service Climate Adaptation Specialist Andrew Bower runs an experiment in the future of forestry under an ever-warming climate is in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington. …Bower’s research subjects are Douglas-fir seedlings grown from seeds that came from the Willamette National Forest and Siuslaw National Forest, both in Oregon and both nearly 200 miles further south and several degrees warmer than their current location. …This is an experiment in a radical new idea called “assisted migration” and a recognition by the Forest Service that climate change is here to stay. …Among the Oregon migrants are seedlings grown from seeds collected locally, both near this site and further downslope at a lower elevation. Bower expects to see clear differences between the locally sourced trees and the migrated trees. …In 2019, the BC Ministry of Forests changed its rules around its “seedlot” selection system—to incorporate climate change and assisted migration. 

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The Truth about the Economics of Logging

The Tillamook County Pioneer
September 14, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Economist Ernie Niemi presented at the North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection (NCCWP) monthly educational series in “The Truth about the Economics of Logging” during an Online Event on September 13, 2022. Mr. Niemi broke down the true cost of logging and how to rethink forestry. Ernie specializes in applying the principles of cost-benefit analysis, economic valuation, and economic-impact analysis to describe the economic importance of natural resources. He is the President of Natural Resource Economics out of Eugene. “If we want to have a stronger economy we need to have a higher quality of life,” says Mr. Niemi. There is a common argument that forests must be cut for the economy. Here’s what the numbers actually show.

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Gunnison County adopts urban wildland interface code

By Katherine Nettles
Crested Butte News
September 14, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Gunnison County’s Land Use Resolution (LUR) now contains new building code adjustments in response to an increasing urban wildland interface, and the new codes will apply a higher standard of wildfire hazard mitigation to all new building permit applications beginning in 2023. Gunnison County commissioners held a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday, September 6 before voting unanimously in favor of both incorporating the 2021 International Wildland Urban Interface code also amending the LUR. The only suggestions came from two wildfire specialists who recommended further consideration of how vegetation management around homes is addressed and affects surrounding areas. …Several people emphasized the importance of education and outreach with the intent that builders, contractors, landscapers and others in the building industry will shift their practices over time. 

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Loan Program Helps Reduce Wildfire Severity While Improving Profits for Wood Products Businesses

By Jonson Kuhn
North Forty News
September 14, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) delivered the first Wildfire Risk Mitigation Loan under a new partnership with the San Luis Valley Development Resources Group (SLVDRG) Business Loan Fund. Along with the help of the Northwest Loan Fund, Marshall Forestry Solutions received this specialized loan that will be used for equipment to help maintain Colorado’s forests. Marshall Forestry Solutions… works on forest management and wildfire risk mitigation projects across Colorado. “We work to create fire-resistant community landscapes while maximizing the utilization of forest products,” said Jacob Marshall, founder, and owner of Marshall Forestry Solutions. “Our expertise in financing and lending coupled with the CSFS’ work in forestry and with our wood products business community is helping reduce wildfire occurrence and severity across the state, resulting in more profitable and successful wildfire mitigation and wood products businesses,” said Marc Bellantoni, business loan fund administrator with the SLVDRG.

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Tussock moth outbreak stresses trees in New Mexico forests

Associated Press in Midland Daily News
September 14, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.  — A Douglas-fir tussock moth outbreak is believed to be causing conifer stands in some central New Mexico forests to lose their needles, further stressing trees amid an ongoing drought. Officials with the Cibola National Forest said Wednesday that Douglas-fir, white fir and even some ponderosa pine trees are turning brown as the larvae of the tussock moth feeds on the previous year’s needles. …defoliation weakens the trees, making them vulnerable to subsequent attacks by bark beetles that may kill the tree tops or even entire trees. The Douglas-fir tussock moths are increasing in the Sandia and Manzano mountain ranges. …Officials warned people to avoid touching or handling the insects. The caterpillars have thousands of tiny hairs covering their bodies. The female moths, egg masses and cocoons also have hairs that can cause tussockosis, an allergic reaction from direct skin contact with the insects themselves or their airborne hairs.

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Groups sue feds over Pacific fishers

By Mark Freeman
Mail Tribune
September 13, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ASHLAND — Conservation groups sued the federal government Tuesday to reverse its decision not to grant federal endangered species status to the region’s Pacific fisher, a rare forest carnivore whose range includes the Ashland Watershed. The Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center joined others in suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s 2020 decision to protect just fishers isolated in the southern Sierra Mountains near Yosemite National Park. In doing so, the service ignored the West Coast population that straddles the southwest Oregon/Northern California border, putting the fishers in peril, the groups claim. At that time, the service’s decision rebuffed recommendations from its field biologists, instead saying the West Coast’s fisher population is balanced enough survive without the ESA protections. …The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by the Center for Biological Diversity. It is joined by KS Wild and the Environmental Protection Information Center based in Arcata, California.

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As logging companies face worker shortage, University of Idaho offers relief with new degree path

By Andrew Baertlein
KTVB 7
September 13, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

VALLEY COUNTY, IDAHO — The timber industry labor shortage is considered a normalcy for second generation logger Gerry Ikola. …The timber industry accounts for nearly $2.5 billon of Idaho’s economy, according to Okerlund. The demand for timber products is only increasing, according to University of Idaho Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences Department head Charles Goebel. The University of Idaho is working directly with Idaho Loggers to find a potential solution to the issue by offering a new degree program, Goebel said. The two-year program awards an associates degree in Forest Operations and Technology. “We were being responsive to the forests products industry across the state,” Goebel said. It is one of the first associates degrees offered in university history. “This is not a foresters degree. This is a degree to train individuals that are interested in going out and working in the forest operations sector on logging operations,” Goebel said.

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Forest Fires

Rain helps containment of Mosquito Fire in Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Sacramento

Associated Press in Redding Record Searchlight
September 19, 2022
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SAN FRANCISCO — A major storm that battered western Alaska over the weekend churned through Northern California on Monday after bringing early-season snow to mountains and dropping rain that helped firefighters increase their containment of a huge wildfire. No growth was reported on the 119-square-mile Mosquito Fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Sacramento. The blaze was 38% contained Monday after downpours allowed sheriff’s officials in two counties to lift or downgrade some evacuation orders. It’s the state’s largest wildfire of the year so far. More rain was expected, which fire spokesman Scott McLean called a mixed blessing for firefighters. “It did help a bit to stifle that aggressive fire,” McLean said. “But we’re going to have new safety issues now with all the mud that’s out there. And the ground moisture could cause some of those damaged trees to fall over.”

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Cedar Creek Fire grows by 17,000 acres, mostly due to burning operations

By Adam Duvernay
The Register-Guard
September 17, 2022
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

OREGON—Cedar Creek Fire managers planned Saturday morning to burn more unburnt areas on the fire’s perimeter, continuing a strategy begun after a dangerous east wind event ended last weekend and the weather began to get cooler and wetter. The Cedar Creek Fire has been burning east of Oakridge since it was sparked by lightning at the beginning of August, but rapidly spread west between Sept. 9 and Sept. 10 when winds came in from the east. The greater Oakridge-Westfir area was threatened during that time, and residents were put under a Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation order Friday. The threat decreased when winds died down, but High Prairie, Oakridge and Westfir areas remain at Level 1 (Be Ready). The Cedar Creek Fire was 0% contained as of Saturday morning, but increased moisture over the coming days should allow firefighters to reach some level of containment on the northwest side of the fire to protect the Oakridge area

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No Grass Creek fire east of Deer Lodge in Montana now at 1,145 acres

By Phil Drake
The Independent Record
September 15, 2022
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

POWELL COUNTY, Montana — The No Grass Creek fire east of Deer Lodge is estimated to be 1,145 acres, U.S. forest officials said Thursday. The fire, reported on Sunday, is in Powell County on the west end of the Helena Ranger District and the far east end of the Pintler Ranger District. It is being managed by the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, in close coordination with Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The fire is in an area that has had large amounts of tree mortality, officials with the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest said. It is dense and continuous throughout the Electric Peak roadless area and recommended wilderness area. Because of the current state of the dead timber, it’s neither safe nor effective to put fire personnel into the area, officials said. 

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California Wildfire Grows to Become Biggest of the Year

By Brian K. Sullivan and Mark Chediak
BNN Bloomberg
September 14, 2022
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A fire in Northern California grew overnight after dry winds Tuesday fanned flames, making the blaze the largest in the state so far this year. The Mosquito Fire, which started Sept. 6, spread nearly 10,000 acres (4,046.9 hectares) and now covers a footprint of 58,544 acres in El Dorado and Placer counties, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. The blaze was 49,761 acres Tuesday. Burning east of Sacramento, the fire had forced 11,277 people to be evacuated and was 20% contained as of Tuesday morning, according to Cal Fire. It has destroyed at least 64 buildings and threatens nearly 6,000. …“The fire area remains a dynamic situation that may change at any time, as evidenced by the fire activity on Tuesday afternoon,” Cal Fire said. Evacuation orders remain in force.

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Montana wildfire spreads over 1K acres; personnel can’t safely fight on ground

By Julia Musto
Fox News
September 14, 2022
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A western Montana wildfire has spread over 1,000 acres, tearing through Helena National Forest. The No Grass Creek Fire is located in the Helena Ranger District, an area that has experienced large amounts of tree mortality. The 1,003-acre blaze is 0% contained and the Powell County Sheriff’s Office said resources on the fire have been assessing values at risk. Because of the current state of the dead timber in the area, the forest service said that it is “neither safe nor effective to put fire personnel into the area.” “Fire personnel are managing from the air, while other firefighters are observing the fire’s progression, activity and overall behavior within the planning area from various vantage points on the district,” it said. In addition, due to the remote location of the fire, no homes or private property are threatened by the fire, allowing the fire to naturally function and provide ecological benefits. 

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