Region Archives: US West

Business & Politics

EPA fines PotlatchDeltic $225,000 for Clean Water Act violations

The US Environmental Protection Agency
May 17, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

SEATTLE – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced PotlatchDeltic Land & Lumber of St. Maries, Idaho, will pay $225,000 for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. PotlatchDeltic sits within the Coeur d’ Alene Tribe’s reservation and discharges into a section of the St. Joe River that is Tribal waters. …EPA conducted an inspection in March 2017 to evaluate PotlatchDeltic’s compliance with its permits and found PotlatchDeltic had numerous stormwater violations, such as failure to implement corrective actions following continued benchmark exceedances and implement adequate stormwater pollution prevention plan controls. …PotlatchDeltic agreed to extensive remedies to come into and remain in compliance with its Clean Water Act permits, including facility improvements, construction of a new filtration system and combining its outfalls. PotlatchDeltic also agreed to perform two mitigation actions designed to protect and enhance habitat for trout and salmon in Hangman Creek on PotlatchDeltic’s property.

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Makah Tribe announces Grand Opening of new sawmill

By Pepper Fisher
My Clallam County
May 21, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

NEAH BAY, Washington – The Makah Tribe at Neah Bay will be hosting the grand opening of their new sawmill on Thursday, May 30. The mill has already been in operation this month cutting lumber for customers both private and commercial. Their website says they take custom orders for rough and surfaced lumber in cedar, fir, spruce, hemlock and alder. They also offer kiln drying. As we reported in April, the Tribe is working with the Composite Recycle Technology Center (CRTC) to mill lumber from western hemlock, a tree that is often disposed of by the timber industry. When hemlock dries, it twists and cracks, making it poor wood for lumber. CRTC has found a way to change that with a process called thermal modification, and then integrate carbon fiber with the wood fiber to create cross-laminated timber panels for use in construction.

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Montana wood products industry receives financial help from federal government

By Zach Volheim
KPAX Western Missoula News
May 20, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

MISSOULA — The Montana woods products industry recently received financial support thanks to the U.S. Forest Service under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. A total of eight companies, consisting of sawmills, wood products manufacturers and logging operations, received grant money — totaling $5 million across all eight — for innovation and infrastructure assistance. They include: Kanduch Logging: $229,973, Panhandle Forest Products: $300,000, Montana Technology Enterprise Center: $300,000, California Hotwood, Inc.: $189,045, Sun Mountain Lumber, Inc.: $1,000,000, Stillwater Post and Pole LLC: $1,000,000, SmartLam NA Enterprises US, LLC: $1,000,000, and Panhandle Forest Products Inc.: $1,000,000. …Besides helping replace old machinery and equipment, this grant money will also help the companies continue to partner with the U.S. Forest Service to help promote and maintain healthy forests — mainly by reducing the amount of fuel for wildfires and increasing forest resilience to fire.

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Timberlab Acquires American Laminators Accelerating Growth of Mass Timber Construction

By Timberlab Holdings Inc,
PR Newswire
May 16, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Chris Evans

PORTLAND, Oregon — Timberlab, a provider of mass timber systems, and Diversified Wood Resources, doing business as American Laminators, an Oregon-based glue-laminated timber manufacturer, announce that they have entered into an agreement for Timberlab to acquire the assets of American Laminators and will continue operating their two Oregon-based facilities in Drain and Swisshome beginning June 10, 2024. Timberlab President Christopher Evans said, “acquiring American Laminators is another leap forward to advancing our capabilities and services in the mass timber industry.” Since its founding in 1962, American Laminators has been one of the leading manufacturers of custom glulam in the United States. They produce the longest-spanning glulam in North America, utilizing a clear glue that adds to the high aesthetic value of their product.

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Weyerhaeuser Appoints Brian Chaney as Senior Vice President of Wood Products

By Weyerhaeuser Company
PR Newswire
May 13, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Brian Chaney

SEATTLE — Weyerhaeuser announced the appointment of Brian Chaney as senior vice president of Wood Products, effective June 3, 2024. Chaney currently serves as vice president of Engineered Wood Products and Innovation for the company, and he will take over for Keith O’Rear, who is retiring from his role on June 3 and will serve as a strategic advisor to the company through the end of 2024. “Brian has demonstrated exceptional leadership driving safety, strategy and operational excellence in his 33 years with the company,” said Devin W. Stockfish, president and chief executive officer. …”I also want to congratulate Keith on his retirement and thank him for his 36 years of outstanding leadership and service with Weyerhaeuser,” Stockfish said. …”We are grateful for all he has done to grow the business and build on our industry-leading operating performance.”

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Olympic Peninsula legislators express concern for timber industry

By Peter Segall
The Peninsula Daily News
May 8, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

PORT ANGELES, Washington — The Olympic Peninsula’s legislative delegation discussed priorities for next year. …An issue raised with lawmakers was the forestry industry with some attendees expressing concern about more state Department of Natural Resources’ timberlands being moved into conservation status. Revenue from state timberlands funds junior taxing districts and local education, and the local timber industry provides a number of well-paying jobs. Lawmakers said they were concerned about the health of the timber industry and said finding a balance between a robust industry and environmental stewardship is difficult. …“My view is that if we could take those trees and turn them into mass timber products and build buildings with those trees, that will sequester that carbon,” Tharinger said. …Van De Wege said. “I’m very concerned about taking more land offline. …I worry about a collapse where sawmills are going out of business.”

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Timber industry warns Plummer mill closure has grave implications

By Tod Stephens
The Spokesman-Review
May 6, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

IDAHO — A North Idaho lumber mill will close this summer as timber companies face strains from tight operating margins. Despite still earning a profit at the mill, Stimson Lumber Company will permanently close its Plummer facility by August. Stimson has leased the property from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe along U.S. Highway 95 since 2007, but CEO Andrew Miller anticipates no tenant will ever reopen the mill. …At its peak, the mill once employed around 100 workers and produced about 100 million feet of lumber a year, Miller said. Today, those figures have reduced to 22 and 35 million, respectively. …“We’ve seen it in western Montana where there used to be a lot of sawmills and pulp and paper mills, and a lot of that was based on the Forest Service being the primary supplier of timber,” Miller said. “But in the ’90s, they changed their focus.”

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Clearwater Paper completes Augusta paper board mill acquisition

Clearwater Paper Corporation
May 5, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

SPOKANE, Washington — Clearwater Paper announced the successful completion of its strategic acquisition of the Augusta, Georgia bleached paperboard manufacturing facility from Graphic Packaging International. Terms of the acquisition were first announced on February 20, 2024. “I am pleased that we have finalized the acquisition of Graphic Packaging’s Augusta, Georgia, paperboard manufacturing facility. The Augusta mill is a great fit with our strategy and improves our position as a premier, independent paperboard supplier to North American converters,” said Arsen Kitch, President and Chief Executive Officer. Clearwater Paper is a supplier of private brand tissue products and paperboard. The company’s paperboard operations serve quality-conscious printers and packaging converters, with services that include custom sheeting, slitting, and cutting. 

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Finance & Economics

Boise Cascade reports Q1, 2024 net earnings of $104 million

By Boise Cascade Company
Business Wire
May 6, 2024
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho — Boise Cascade reported net income of $104.1 million on sales of $1.6 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, compared with net income of $96.7 million on sales of $1.5 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023. …Wood Products’ sales, including sales to Building Materials Distribution (BMD), increased $31.5 million, or 7%, to $468.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2024, from $437.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023. The increase in sales was driven by higher sales volumes for I-joists and LVL, as well as higher plywood sales prices. …BMD’s sales increased $125.8 million, or 9%, to $1,505.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2024, from $1,379.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023. Compared with the same quarter in the prior year, the increase in sales was driven by sales volume increases of 12%, offset partially by sales price decreases of 3%. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

SuperBungalows, a New Cross-Laminated Timber Apartment Building, is a Los Angeles First

By Russell Fortmeyer
Architectural Record
May 23, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – The SuperBungalows, a new apartment building completed this spring in the hip Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, is not a traditional bungalow. The project is an answer to LA’s need for density and housing, with a nod to the pleasures of living in an individual residence with a porch. It replaced an existing single-family house, an increasingly common occurrence in a city where land values make houses unaffordable to all but the rich or lucky familial inheritors. Most notably, the SuperBungalows represents the first cross-laminated timber (CLT) multifamily residential building in Los Angeles, the start of what the developer SuperLA hopes to replicate many times in the city.

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Palouse Fiber Packaging Debuts Wheat-Based Solution Ahead of Foam Packaging Bans

Packaging Strategies
May 23, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Palouse Fiber Packaging (PFP), a Washington State-based startup spearheading the research, development and production of a variety of low-impact alternative fiber packaging products, recently announced the public availability of their new 4-cup carriers, made using wheat straw pulp. The wheat-based carriers are a new product not only for PFP but also for the broader alternative fiber industry. Rather than relying on the waning global supplies of milled wood or post-consumer recycled material (the first of which is often deceptively marketed as being “greener” than foam and other plastics), the carriers will be made using fiber from harvested wheat crops, which is locally sourced and utilized as a molding medium instead of being incinerated as agricultural waste. Their availability comes before Washington State’s ban on all polystyrene take-out containers goes into effect on June 1 of this year and Oregon’s ban does the same in 2025. 

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Portland’s Timberview VIII mass timber multifamily development will offer more than 100 affordable units

By Peter Fabris
Building Design + Construction
May 8, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

An eight-story, 72,000-sf mass timber apartment building in Portland, Ore., topped out this winter and will soon offer over 100 affordable units. The structure is the tallest affordable housing mass timber building and the first Type IV-C affordable housing building in the city. (Type IV construction, a category of construction defined by the International Building Code, allows for taller heights, more stories above grade, and greater allowable areas.) The Timberview VIII project is composed of glulam beams/columns, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) floorplates, and a steel frame brace system. It utilizes five-inch ply CLT floorplates (fire rated 2-hr) and full height steel concentric braced frames for the lateral system. The building’s exposed mass timber design will allow residents and those passing by to see the beauty of mass timber inside and outside. …Mass timber offered construction and engineering benefits including lighter weight and more flexibility than concrete, creating advantages in meeting seismic standards. 

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Forestry

General Sherman passes health check but world’s largest trees face growing climate threats

By Terry Chea
Associated Press
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, California — High in the evergreen canopy of General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, researchers searched for evidence of an emerging threat to giant sequoias: bark beetles. The climbers descended the towering 2,200-year-old tree with good news on Tuesday. “The General Sherman tree is doing fine right now,” said Anthony Ambrose, executive director of the Ancient Forest Society, who led the expedition. “It seems to be a very healthy tree that’s able to fend off any beetle attack.” It was the first time climbers had scaled the iconic 275-foot (85-meter) sequoia tree, which draws tourists from around the world to Sequoia National Park. Giant sequoias, the Earth’s largest living things, have survived for thousands of years in California’s western Sierra Nevada range, the only place where the species is native.

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University of Idaho research team secures $15 Million grant to investigate impact of drought and fires on forests

By DFortin
Fox 28 Spokane
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Tara Hudiburg

MOSCOW, Idaho—A multidisciplinary team led by University of Idaho researchers has been granted $15 million to investigate the long-term impact of drought and fire on forest ecosystems. The six-year award comes from the National Science Foundation’s Biology Integration Institutes, which supports diverse and collaborative teams addressing critical biological questions across multiple disciplines through research, education, and training. The funding will establish the EMBER (Embedding Molecular Biology in Ecosystem Research) Institute, uniting researchers from various institutions and backgrounds. This includes molecular and cellular biology experts, organismal physiology, and ecosystem sciences. “We are looking at how stress caused by increasing drought and wildfire affects forest recovery and resilience. By working together, we are not just investigating how trees or microbes respond but how organisms depend on each other to survive,” said Tara Hudiburg, principal investigator for EMBER and professor in U of I’s Department of Forest, Rangeland and Fire Sciences.

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Oregon Department of Forestry awards $14 million to reduce wildfire risk

KPIC News
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is releasing $14-million to help protect the state’s waterways and reduce wildfire risk. It’s part of a local, state, and federal partnership called the “20 Year Landscape Resiliency Strategy.” The strategy prioritizes areas at high-risk for wildfires. This year through mid-2025, the three programs paid for by the state’s General Fund will invest about $14 million into local, state, federal, and private partners’ projects. The investment will expedite work on over 100,000 acres. The partners will implement these landscape resiliency strategy projects to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk. The state is leveraging almost 30 different sources of funding for the programs, such as the Landscape Resiliency Program and the Small Forestland Grant Program, with an eye towards not just reducing the risk of wildfire, but also building local economies and protecting water resources.

See the Department of Forestry press release: ODF Grants $14 Million to Help Protect Water and Reduce Wildfire Risk

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Valley of the Giants, home to some of Oregon’s largest trees, closed by huge debris flow

By Zach Urness
The Salem Statesman Journal
May 23, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A massive debris flow has brought a long-term closure to the Valley of the Giants, a popular hike through some of Oregon’s oldest and largest trees in the Coast Range. In early December 2023, heavy rain triggered a flow that obliterated part of the North Fork Siletz River Road. It’s the final stretch in a network of remote roads leading to the trailhead west of Falls City. “It’s the biggest (debris flow) that I’ve ever seen on our lands,” said Andy Frazier, supervisory forester for the Bureau of Land Management’s Marys Peak Field Office. “It was massive. After it happened, we were standing on the road culvert and (the debris) was 15-20 feet above our heads.” The road and trail are closed and not likely to reopen for multiple years, Frazier said, adding, the debris flow started somewhere high above North Fork Siletz River Road.

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Not Too Wet To Burn

By Madeline Ostrander
Hakai Magazine – Coastal Science and Societies
May 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Brian Harvey

The forests of the Pacific Northwest, for instance, are made with prodigious quantities of water. Some of the rainiest spots on the continent lie along a strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and the western slopes of the Cascade Range from northern California up to Oregon and Washington. The sodden conditions continue up the west side of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia and through the Alaska Panhandle to the edge of Prince William Sound, close to Anchorage, Alaska. All along this region grows a dense tangle of lush forest. It is “a pretty good spot on the planet to grow big trees really fast,” explains University of Washington forest fire ecologist Brian Harvey on a vividly clear day in late July 2023. …So the scientists are here to consider what happens to the West Coast’s old-growth rainforests in an era of more wildfire?

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Study confirms link between forest thinning and water supply

The Payson Roundup
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ARIZONA — A test project conducted in the Kaibab National Forest has found that thinning 3,400 acres of ponderosa forest saves about 260 acre-feet of water per year, or about 75 million gallons. One acre-foot of water provides enough to support one household for a year. Thinning 1 million acres could save 90,000 acre-feet of water. And that’s worth about $50 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The test project researchers created a high-resolution map of the watershed using light detection and ranging imagery. This helped researchers at ASU’s Center for Hydrologic Innovations create a three-dimensional map of the watershed and estimate the extra water produced. The reduction in trees and brush allowed more water to flow into streams. …The Forest Service has been struggling for a decade to thin forests through the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative, but the need to get rid of low-value biomass has stalled large-scale thinning efforts. 

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Treating The Forest – Our relationship with fire is unique

By Jennifer Baires
The Bend Source
May 22, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BEND, Oregon — A three-part series exploring how Central Oregon can safely live with fire. …In Central Oregon, the reality of living with fire, and its offspring smoke, is unavoidable. But, unlike other natural disasters that regularly devastate communities worldwide, we have some measure of control over fire. Over the next few months, the Source Weekly will investigate how prepared we are for the next wildfire – from how the forests are being managed to how to accommodate the region’s rapidly growing population without increasing wildfire risk. Because, as the experts stress, it is not a case of “if” but “when” a blaze will be in our backyard. According to the USFS, 99.9% of prescribed burns go as planned. But when they go wrong, they can go very wrong. …Against this backdrop, the stakes today are high. But according to many experts, the risk of not burning is higher, per a  federal government wildfire crisis report.

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Forest thinning may provide water benefits downstream

By Sandra Leander
Arizona State University News
May 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…In a pilot program, Arizona State University and Salt River Project are investigating whether forest thinning will increase water supplies, in addition to reducing wildfire risk and protecting important infrastructure. The project is focused on a 3,400-acre area in the Kaibab National Forest. The research team developed a cutting-edge modeling technique for estimating water benefits derived from forest thinning and restoration. Specifically, they created a high-resolution map of the watershed — one that accounts for trees along with their height, size and species using light detection and ranging, or LiDAR, surveys and high-resolution imagery of the land. …The pilot program determined that forest thinning on approximately five square miles of land in the Kaibab National Forest would generate approximately 230 acre-feet, or nearly 75 million gallons of water during the first year. One acre-foot of water can provide water for three Arizona families for one year.

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California’s General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, may be at risk

By Kurtis Alexander
The San Francisco Chronicle
May 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

California wildfires aren’t the only thing killing the state’s majestic giant sequoia trees. Researchers in the Sierra Nevada, the only place where the giant sequoia naturally grows, have found several of the world’s largest trees unexpectedly infested with beetles, some dying from the attacks. While the mortality numbers are small, especially when compared to the toll of the wildfires, the emergence of another lethal threat to the titans — this one also tied to the warming climate — is hugely worrisome. That’s why research teams at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are climbing into the canopy. …The welfare check is coordinated by the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition. …Bark beetles have been a major scourge on Sierra forests over the past decade. Coupled with drought, they’ve caused a massive tree die-off. …Giant sequoias, however, were thought to be immune to the insect. [to access the full story a San Francisco Chronicle subscription may be required]

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Air tanker base opens for what fire official say could be another active wildfire season

By Reuben Schafir
The Durango Herald
May 20, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Durango, Colorado — The Durango Air Tanker Base opened May 15 in preparation for what fire officials say is likely to be an “average” wildfire season. With a snowpack that barely peaked above 30-year median levels and has melted rapidly since mid-April, the intensity of Southwest Colorado’s fire season still depends on many factors, such as the ferocity of the summer monsoons and wind. “Keep in mind an average June here is an active fire season,” said Toby Cook, deputy fire staff officer with the San Juan National Forest. “So, average doesn’t mean that we won’t be in a fire season, average could be a very active fire season.” …Air tankers and other firefighting support aircraft use the base to refuel and restock on retardant. It also is home to the forest’s Durango Helitack crew. …The base is open through September, unless fire season draws on longer than expected.

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Arizona wildfire protection plans get $7 million in support from USDA Forest Service

By Serena O’Sullivan
KTAR News
May 21, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PHOENIX — National environment authorities are investing millions of dollars into fighting wildfires across Arizona. In fact, the USDA Forest Service earmarked nearly $7 million for the cause, according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM). The DFFM announcement from last week said the money will flow through Community Wildfire Defense Grants. “The $7 million supports six projects, including a large-scale prevention project in Pine Lake and the Hualapais in Mohave County,” DFFM spokesperson Tiffany Davila said in a press release. …The cash will also support a fuels reduction project in Patagonia, along with updates to existing resiliency plans for the greater Flagstaff area and Cochise County. Additionally, the grants will help develop new Community Wildfire Protection Plans for Santa Cruz and Coconino Counties. Director for the Santa Cruz County Office of Emergency Management Sobeira Castro said these grants provide invaluable support.

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Alaskan Communities Awarded Funding to Mitigate Wildfire Risk

Alaska Wildland Fire Information
May 16, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A second round of funding through the USDA Forest Service’s Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) Program will support communities across Alaska through grants for creating Community Wildfire Protection Plans, planning efforts, or implementation totaling $3,759,337. Communities received priority for this program if they are a low-income area, recently impacted by disaster, or in a wildfire hazard location. “To support additional wildland fire mitigation in at-risk communities, the State of Alaska opted in to the CDWG program to allow local applicants the maximum resources and assistance from the Alaska Division of Forestry & Fire Protection,” said Norm McDonald, Deputy Director of Fire Protection. “The program aims to help communities effectively deal with wildfire risk and the division encourages eligible communities and organizations to take advantage of this funding opportunity and apply throughout the five-year program.”  

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Ground versus crown fire: How the new Fort McMurray blaze differs from The Beast

By Kelly Malone
The Canadian Press in The Chronicle Journal
May 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, US West

A fierce wildfire burning outside Fort McMurray, Altberta has brought back memories of a vicious blaze, nicknamed The Beast, that tore through the oilsands hub in 2016. …The most significant difference between the two wildfires is what parts of trees are burning. Jody Butz, the fire chief in charge of the Rural Municipality of Wood Buffalo, describes the 2016 fire as a big raging crown fire, while the current blaze is on the ground in the path of the former blaze. …John Gradek, at McGill University, says crown fires burn in the tops of trees. Flames jump from tree to tree along the peaks at a high rate of speed. When wildfires are on the ground, they move much more slowly, but have a lot more to burn, he says. “It is a much more intense (fire), and there is a lot of material on the ground,” Gradek says.

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Bureau of Land Management shares draft resource management plan for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

By Justin Higginbottom
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Federal courts recently upheld the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument on the border of Oregon and California. Now, the Bureau of Land Management is working on a plan for that monument’s future, inviting the public to learn more about the management options. The monument located on the border of Oregon and California was first in 2000 and expanded in 2017. Timber companies challenged that expansion, arguing the president didn’t have the power to designate a monument on Oregon and California railroad lands originally set aside for logging. In March, a federal appeals court upheld the expansion. …The BLM’s preferred plan, labeled “moderate active management,” emphasizes flexibility, according to the agency. That option would reduce the amount of land managed for recreation from 9,859 acres to 431 acres. It would also decrease the area where wildfire fuels reduction is prioritized from 29,600 acres to 10,944 acres, with a focus on land .25 miles from at-risk communities.

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US Department of Agriculture Invests $250M to Reduce Wildfire Risk to Communities

By the Forest Service
The US Department of Agriculture
May 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

YAKIMA, Washington – Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small announced $250 million to help at-risk communities protect their homes, businesses and infrastructure from catastrophic wildfire, made worse by the climate crisis, as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The Community Wildfire Defense Grant program will fund 158 projects to help communities in 31 States, two Territories and 11 Tribes develop community wildfire protection plans and remove overgrown vegetation that can fuel fires that threaten lives, livelihoods, and resources. …Now in its second year, the program helps communities in the wildland-urban interface maintain resilient landscapes, create fire-adapted communities, and ensure safe, effective wildfire response — all goals of the unifying National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy and aligned with the objectives of the National Climate Resilience Framework.

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USDA Invests in Wood Products to Support Local Jobs and Healthy Forests

By the Forest Service
The US Department of Agriculture
May 14, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

YAKIMA, Washington – Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small announced that the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is investing nearly $74 million to spark innovation, create new markets for wood products and renewable wood energy from sustainably sourced wood, and increase the capacity of wood processing facilities as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. …these investments fund 171 project proposals across 41 States and American Samoa, and directly support forest health and the wood products economy. …The Forest Service is awarding grants to entities across the public, private, and non-profit sectors through its Wood Innovations Grant, Community Wood Grant, and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grant Programs. …Funded proposals include converting heating systems in schools to sustainable biomass boilers, installing cutting-edge equipment in sawmills and processing facilities to increase efficiency, supporting innovative housing using mass timber, and more.

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To replant Oregon’s forests after major wildfires, state foresters have a need for seed

By Joe Raineri
KGW8
May 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

NEWBERG, Ore. — Following the destructive wildfires in 2020, state officials started looking to plant new trees to replace those that burned. Now the Oregon Department of Forestry has turned to an expert to make sure those new trees have the best chance of survival. Workers at the Oregon Department of Forestry spend a lot of their time keeping Oregon green, and one place they spend much of that time is at J.E. Schroeder Orchard in Saint Paul. ODF manages the property, but you could say Kevin Barnes is a key figure in making sure our forests continue to grow. He’s a grafting specialist and makes sure the trees in the orchard will be able to produce seeds for replanting in forests both in Oregon and across the Pacific Northwest.

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Oregon’s wildfire strategy: Building resilient forests and protecting communities

By Allison Gutleber
KATU News
May 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND, Oregon — The Oregon Department of Forestry says it is not sending crews to help with fires burning in western Canada. Dozens of fires in British Columbia and Alberta are labeled “out of control.” …While we haven’t seen any major fires in the Pacific Northwest, that could change in an instant, officials say. The Oregon Department of Forestry wants to make sure we’re ready when it happens. They are building a vision for Oregon’s forests. Right now, the Oregon Board of Forestry and the Department of Forestry are working together to put together a strategy to protect the state’s forests and the people who rely on them. …The plan includes funding wildfire resources, expanding the use of prescribed burns, and teaching more people about wildfire safety and prevention. The plan could be adopted in June, before heading to Governor Kotek’s desk.

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Wolf Fire operations wrap up following 10,000 acres of forest treatment

Arizona Daily Sun
May 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ARIZONA — According to a release from the Coconino National Forest, Wolf Fire operations have resulted in the treatment of roughly 10,000 acres of land following a late April lightning strike on the Coconino National Forest’s Mogollon Rim Ranger District. Fire managers spent roughly one week conducting firing operations to reduce dead vegetation and hazardous fuels, restore critical nearby watersheds, improve wildlife habitat and lessen the future risk of catastrophic wildfire in the Clints Well area. Firing operations wrapped up in advance of predicted rains for Tuesday and Wednesday. The Northern Arizona Type 3 Incident Management Team, which has been managing the Wolf Fire since April 6, plans to transition management of the fire back to the Coconino National Forest on Wednesday.

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Conservation groups, U.S. Forest Service settle on details of logging project near Townsend

By Darrell Ehrlick
Montana Right Now
May 13, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A large logging project ended in an unusual way for many lawsuits involving logging, endangered species and federal agencies: It settled without years of litigation. Late last year, two conservation groups, Native Ecosystems Council and the Alliance for the Wild Rockies filed suit to halt a large logging project near Townsend, known as the “Middleman Project,” that they said hurt elk, grizzly bear and Canada lynx, the latter two of which are classified by the federal government as endangered species. …The project was originally slated as a 20-year project in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest and the Big Belt Mountain Range. …As part of the agreement, the Forest Service can continue with the “associated activities” in the Crouching Trout Timber sale. The service also agrees to limit prescribed burning to the “inventoried wilderness areas” of no more than 25% of any area.

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Gov. Tina Kotek abandons nominations to Oregon forestry board after pushback

By Dirk VanderHart
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 10, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Tina Kotek

Gov. Tina Kotek abruptly pulled back this week on a pair of nominations to the board that oversees Oregon forest policy, after blowback from environmental groups over one of her picks. Kotek had planned to tap two men for the state Board of Forestry who have often been on opposite sides of debates over how much of Oregon’s forests should be open to logging. One was Bob Van Dyk, a conservationist who formerly spent a dozen years with the Portland-based Wild Salmon Center. The other: Heath Curtiss, vice president of government affairs for Hampton Lumber. The dual appointment would have left the balance unchanged on a seven-member board that is closely scrutinized for where its volunteer members stand on forest issues. …The reason appears tied to a letter eight environmental groups sent to Kotek’s office on Tuesday, railing against the selection of Curtiss for the board.

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Tree Mortality Attributed to Douglas-fir Engraver Reaches 55-Year High in Annual Forest Health Highlights

Washington State Department of Natural Resources
May 9, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources released its annual Forest Health Highlights report on Wednesday following a 2023 aerial detection survey that mapped 517,000 acres of forests with some level of tree mortality, defoliation, or foliar diseases. …Though the 2023 Forest Health Highlights report documents the fewest acres affected as part of a complete survey since 2018, it also contains several concerning trends and new data points underscoring the forest health crisis in Washington. One of the most concerning datapoints comes courtesy of the Douglas-fir engraver. Scientists mapped 25,600 acres of tree damage attributed to this bark beetle – the largest amount recorded by an aerial survey in Washington since 1969 and nearly 20 percent more than the 20,300 acres observed in 2019. Douglas-fir engraver damage signatures such as dead tops and branch flagging…

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Ecologist Suzanne Simard on “Mother Trees,” How to Safeguard Forests and Tackle the Climate Crisis

By Isabella Genovese
Noozhawk
May 8, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Suzanne Simard

Fostering mutual respect with nature is the answer to saving forests and even solving the climate crisis, according to forest ecologist Suzanne Simard. “It comes down to what we do with this concept of reciprocity,” said Simard, crediting the practice to long-lasting indigenous traditions. “This idea of being … in kinship with the trees.” The 64-year-old spearheads a British Columbia-based forest restoration project and recently authored a book, “Finding the Mother Tree,” about forests forging communities of their own — both above and below the ground. “Every tree is linked to every other tree,” Simard said at a talk for University of California Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures earlier this month.  …Simard’s findings defied the age-old idea of survival of the fittest… “It’s created a whole bunch of controversy,” Simard said, referencing her 1997 publication that disrupted the world of science. “That upended this notion that plants are in it for themselves.” 

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Plumas group sues Forest Service over wildfire protection project

By Jake Hutchison
Oroville Mercury-Register
May 7, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

QUINCY, California — Last week local groups announced a lawsuit aimed at the United States Forest Service claiming that the agency’s project in Plumas County is increasing wildfire vulnerability among other accusations. The release refers to a “$650 million logging project” that would allegedly log and spread herbicide on about 133,000 acres of old-growth forest while not preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. The groups that issued the release are Feather River Action, the John Muir Project and the Plumas Forest Project. However, the Forest Service’s numbers vary dramatically from the claims made by those filing the suit. Plumas National Forest Public Information Officer Tamara Schmidt said that while the service cannot comment on the litigation itself, the project referred to is likely the Spirit R-Z Resource Service project. The project’s numbers don’t quite line up with the claims made in the suit.

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Forest Fires

Spruce Creek fire burns nearly 5,000 acres in southwestern Colorado, sparks air quality alert

By Lauren Penington
The Denver Post
May 23, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

State health officials are warning of bad air quality in southwestern Colorado on Thursday after a wildfire burning in the San Juan National Forest grew to nearly 5,000 acres. The lightning-sparked Spruce Creek fire ignited on May 14 on U.S. Forest Service land about 21 miles north of Mesa Verde, fire officials said. As of Wednesday, the fire was burning on 1,867 acres, according to fire records. The burn area more than doubled overnight, flames jumping to reach 4,962 acres of San Juan National Forest land as lower humidity and warmer temperatures worsened fire conditions. Heavy smoke choked many areas in southwestern Colorado on Thursday morning, especially along Colorado 145c south of Rico to Dolores, according to a Thursday news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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‘Very aggressive’ wildfire hops Northwest Territories-Alberta border near Highway 1

By Ollie Williams
Cabin Radio
May 23, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, US West

A wildfire that has menaced the highway along the NWT-Alberta border for the past two weeks pushed north as it flared up on Thursday. Fire HTZ001 has predominantly been burning on the Alberta side of the border near Highway 35, causing a string of road closures. On Thursday evening, NWT Fire said the fire had “made an excursion in the NWT” and was about 300 metres from Highway 1 shortly before 6pm. A road closure was in place as of 6pm from Steen River on Highway 35 up to Enterprise on Highway 1.  In recent days, pilot cars have been used to guide traffic through closed stretches of highway when wildfires are burning nearby. NWT Fire said crews had set up sprinklers to protect the 60th Parallel Visitor Information Centre and “other assets near Highway 1,” and those sprinklers were running on Thursday evening. 

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Wildcat Fire in Tonto National Forest grows to 14K acres as more resources fight blaze

By Sasha Hupka
Arizona Republic
May 20, 2024
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Fire officials were calling in more resources to fight a fast-growing wildfire in the northeast Valley Monday morning after it nearly tripled in size within 24 hours. The Wildcat Fire, which is burning in the Cave Creek Ranger District, was reported Saturday morning. Its cause is still unknown. The fire has consumed more than 14,000 acres of land. It was 0% contained as of Monday morning. About 300 people are fighting the blaze, with officials calling in increasingly more federal, state, county and local resources. That included aviation resources and medical teams, Tonto National Forest spokesperson Mike Reichling said. …Fire officials expected the wildfire to continue moving southeast on Monday through rugged terrain dominated by grass and brush, per InciWeb. They’re hoping personnel can find opportunities to construct firelines and plan out ways to protect infrastructure and natural resources in the area.

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Forest History & Archives

The history of Washington’s timberlands (Part 1)

By Adam Sowards
History Link
May 21, 2024
Category: Forest History & Archives
Region: United States, US West

Friedrich Weyerhäuser

Washington’s forests changed during the nineteenth century. When the century began, forests dominated most of the region. They were homelands for diverse and sovereign Indigenous nations whose reciprocal relationships with these places made them thick with stories, family relationships, and material culture. European and American nations claimed these forests too. By the mid century, Americans arrived in greater numbers building towns, and developing resources, attracted in part by the abundant timber. In 1854-1855, territorial governor and superintendent of Indian affairs Isaac Stevens signed treaties with tribes and bands across the territory that extinguished Native title to millions of acres, allowing forests to be transformed from Native ancestral homes to non-Native-owned property. …Congress supported railroads with land grants, including forest lands, and by the late nineteenth century timber companies were buying large tracts of forests. In 1900, Weyerhaeuser bought 900,000 acres of timberland from the Northern Pacific, marking the end of one era and the beginning of another

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