Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 10, 2015

Business & Politics

Canada has a National Log Policy?

Globe and Mail
July 9, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thank goodness for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Without them, Canada might not seriously question some of its own practices – for example, long-standing, counterproductive limits on log exports from British Columbia. Japan, which is also in the TPP talks and is itself recalcitrant when it comes to liberalizing its own rice policies, would quite naturally like to pay less for lumber, but the B.C. government’s policy is that any exported logs “need to be surplus to domestic needs,” in the words of Steve Thomson, the provincial Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. But how do we measure “surplus” against “needs”? The upshot is that we are exporting lower-quality goods at lower prices.

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Chetwynd mill re-opening brings 150 new jobs

Alaska Highway News
July 9, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Chetwynd is celebrating the official re-opening of a mill that has been closed since 2012. On Wednesday, government and company officials officially opened the Paper Excellence Mill. The reopening of the plant brings almost 150 additional jobs to the South Peace, according to MLA Mike Bernier. “Forestry is a real important part of our area,” he said. “[The re-opening] helps the communities of Dawson Creek and Chetwynd. The mill was formerly run by Tembec. In 2012, they closed the plant, citing low pulp prices. In 2014, another company, Paper Excellence, purchased the mill.

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Forestry to disappear from Quebec’s North Shore without more support, says Resolute Forest Products

Financial Post
July 10, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL — Resolute Forest Products Inc. and the two other forestry companies working in Quebec’s North Shore region say the entire industry there will soon disappear if the provincial government doesn’t increase subsidies to reflect the higher cost of producing in the area. On Monday, Resolute, Arbec Forest Products and Boisaco removed their equipment from logging areas after a meeting between ministers and company officials failed to reach an agreement on the future of forestry in Quebec’s second-largest administrative region.

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Government makes changes to pulp mill permit

Canadian Press
July 9, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX – The government is making eight changes to its industrial approval of Northern Pulp, in response to an appeal from the Pictou pulp mill earlier this year. Environment minister Randy Delorey said Thursday seven of the eight changes to the permit, which was first issued to the mill in April, are administrative and mostly deal with wording. The eighth relates to reductions in water input usage, and is being returned to the department for further assessment.

Northern Pulp appeal leads to changes in industrial approval from The CBC News
Province issues decision on Northern Pulp appeal from The Chronicle Herald

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Oregon’s collaborative manufacturing approach lauded

Statesman Journal
July 9, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership was among the 12 communities designated to be a part of the Obama administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. Led by Business Oregon, Pacific Manufacturing Partnership is a coalition of urban and rural communities, organizations, universities and businesses based in the Columbia River Gorge and Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. The Commerce Department-led program is intended to help spur investment in manufacturing across the country and support the development of long-term strategic economic development.

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Superior Sawmill Inc. rebuilds after fire

Upper Michigan Source
July 8, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States


TRENARY — Sawdust and wood chips were flying today at the Superior Sawmill Inc., after rebuilding their business from a devastating fire last May. “That was a total loss,” said Mark Moser, owner. “It was a cement block building, so the blocks were still up, but the roof caved in and it burnt all the equipment and all the inventory we had.” A year later they have rebuilt bigger and better. It cost them around 180 thousand dollars to build the new office, workspace and outdoor sawmill. Although they continued to cut and sell their raw wood after the fire, they can now present the full finished product again.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Multi-storey residential fire questions use of timber frame construction

Building Construction Design
July 9, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

A major fire that ripped through and destroyed a four storey block of flats has underlined the vulnerability of timber frame construction. The fire on Saturday 3rd July at City Wall Avenue, Canterbury, affected 30 homes with five being completely destroyed and the front of the building collapsed. It is thought to have started in the utility room of a top-floor flat. Fortunately, there are no reports of injuries and all residents are accounted for. …“This fire questions the suitability of using timber frame construction for multi-storey buildings. There is widespread acknowledgement of the fire risk of timber frames during the construction phase but this fire quickly spread in a completed building despite its fire mitigation measures.”

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Boosting Timber Construction One Frame at a Time

Sourceable
July 10, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

It is a measure of the growing market for timber design and engineering that the Frame Australia conference this year doubled its delegate attendance from the design and construction sector on last year’s numbers. Frame has traditionally been a conference for the engineered timber industry and focused on products of most relevance to detached housing construction. Frame 2015 however, illustrated the realisation of a gradual transition to an altogether different emphasis.

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Forestry

Annual Report Highlights State of BC’s Forest and Range Practices

BC Forest Practices Board
July 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA –The Forest Practices Board released its 2014-15 annual report today, which summarizes the board’s work over the past year and highlights current strategic priorities and projects underway. Topics reported on this year range from protection of water in community watersheds to an investigation of how forestry impacts to natural range barriers are mitigated. The board also issued a report card on the Forest and Range Practices Act and how well it is working.

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CFI wins award for exemplary woodlot management

CFI recognized for planting 90,000 trees over 110 acres of clear-cut land in New Brunswick
The Sackville Tribune Post
July 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

[Sackville, NB] – In recognition of its exemplary efforts, Community Forests International (CFI) has been given an award in woodlot management by the South Eastern New Brunswick Forest Products Marketing Board (SENB). Over the past two years, CFI has purchased 110 acres of clear-cut land on the Chignecto Isthmus, the strip of land connecting Nova Scotia with the rest of North America. The Isthmus serves as a gateway for the flow plant and animal life between the two landmasses.

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Zinke aligns with Democrats in opposing sale of public land

Great Falls Tribune
July 9, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke joined Democrats in supporting a measure to stop the government from spending money to sell or transfer public land to private owners and purveyors. The amendment, which failed Wednesday as part of a debate on 2016 funding, was opposed by two Democrats and 235 Republicans. Only eight GOP lawmakers, including Zinke, voted in favor of the amendment. “I’ve been very clear with (House) leadership that I will not vote for any bill that sells our public lands because once Montana sells its public lands, it will be purchased by people or organizations that will not allow traditional usage that Montanans have enjoyed for generations,” Zinke said. “I’m going to do what’s right for Montana.”

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Q&A: What’s In Store For Oregon’s Money-Losing State Forest?

Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 9, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Oregon Legislature has just adjourned for the year, leaving some unfinished business when it comes to a state forest that’s been the subject of controversy. Conservation groups expressed dismay last year when state officials decided to sell parts of the Elliott State Forest to timber companies. The Legislature had the opportunity to shape the future of the forest. But with no action on three different bills, its fate is still far from decided.

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Trout Unlimited worried about Canadian logging in Flathead

Hungry Horse News
July 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Members of Flathead Valley Trout Unlimited are worried about potential timber harvest in the headwaters of the Canadian Flathead. Two companies, Jemi Fibre and Canfor, hold privately owned forestland or lease government “crown” land within the watershed. Jemi recently purchased 130,000 acres in the Flathead and Kootenai watersheds. Canfor holds the area’s provincial crown timberland under a license “tenure” agreement. Jemi’s holdings include approximately 10,000 acres of Sportsmans Ridge, encompassing Foisey and McLatchie creeks, both major tributaries of the North Fork Flathead headwaters.

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Don’t weaken a successful NW Forest Plan

The Register-Guard
July 9, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Throughout the Pacific Northwest, trees grow in a dazzling display. From redwoods on the coast to hemlocks on the flanks of snow-capped peaks, it’s a forest of spellbinding wonder, growing taller and living longer than others. It bursts with life in stunning varieties that still have biologists discovering the unknown. While a third of Oregon’s forest is owned by the timber industry, most of the rest is under stewardship of the U.S. Forest Service, with some acreage under the wing of the Bureau of Land Management. This forest is owned by all Americans, and the way our agencies care for our greenest landscape is a credit — or a debt — to us all.

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Can the nation’s largest forest restoration project survive sawdust, scrutiny and ‘sabotage’?

E&E Publishing
July 9, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — One of Good Earth Power AZ’s major hurdles lies in a storage room at the back of the company’s office here in northern Arizona, arranged in tidy piles on tarps. Stephen Horner gestured at mounds of bark, chopped-up branches and pine needles, arranged in order of increasing density. “We have to find customers for all this stuff,” he said.Horner works for Campbell Global, a Portland, Ore.-based timberland management company that, until recently, subcontracted for Good Earth Power AZ, which is spearheading the biggest forest restoration contract in U.S. Forest Service history.

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Bill Would Fix Wildfire Funding Problem And Increase Logging

Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 9, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A bill that would make big changes to how the federal government pays to fight wildfire passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday. Currently, if firefighting costs exceed their budgeted amount – as they have done often in recent years – federal agencies have to borrow from fire prevention programs. Under the new Republican-backed legislation, the government could treat fire more like a hurricane or tornado and apply for emergency funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This kind of fix has broad support.

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EDITORIAL: National forests must be managed for many uses, not just our favorites

Cody Enterprise
July 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As the Shoshone National Forest struggles to update the travel-management plan for the forest, it is a good reminder for all involved that the national forests are mandated by Congress to have multiple use. Travel on forest lands and indeed outdoor recreation on national forests are just some of the uses for the public lands. The Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960, from which many of the marching orders for the National Forest Service are based, states that national forest lands are to be managed for outdoor recreation, grazing of livestock, timber harvesting, watershed protection, and wildlife and fish habitat.

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Embracing Forest Collaboration: Part 9: Phil Hough

Evergreen Magazine
July 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Editor’s Note: Phillip Hough comes by his interest in forestry and wilderness quite naturally. His great grandfather was Franklin Hough, an upstate New York physician who went on to become the first Chief of the Division of Forestry, forerunner of the U.S. Forest Service. Like his great grandfather, Mr. Hough is an ardent conservationist. He helped start Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness at Sandpoint, Idaho a decade ago. In this interview, Hough, who was an executive with Hyatt Hotels for 20 years, explains how collaboration and lumber industry support are bringing his group closer to the day when the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness may be designated by Congress.

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Is a deal on federal timber policy in the offing? House GOP hopes so as it passes new logging bill

The Oregonian
July 9, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Congressional Republicans waded back into the timber issue again as they pushed a measure through the House Thursday aimed at increasing logging on federal lands. Sponsors said the measure would help combat the growing wildfire problem and encourage efforts to build consensus on how to manage federal forests. But environmental groups and many Democrats said the measure amounts to another effort by the timber industry and its allies to run roughshod over environmental laws.

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Select cutting selects what?

Is partial cutting the best way to employ a timber harvest?
Michigan State University
July 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Many forest owners express satisfaction with having their forest “select cut”, which immediately raises a red flag. There seems to be a popular perception that partial cutting is the best way to employ a timber harvest, maybe, and maybe not. A selection harvest, or uneven-aged management, benefits a forest only when the correct trees are harvested and the system is applied to an appropriate forest type. To foresters, the term “selection harvest” or “selection system” has a specific meaning and application. The popularized term “select cut” sometimes has a much less precise definition and might result in as much damage to a forest than a misplaced clear-cut. The terms can be confusing.

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More trees on your street means fewer health problems, says study

Having on average 10 more trees in a city block improved how someone rated their health by a level comparable to an increase in annual income of $10,000
The Guardian
July 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Residents report feeling better and having fewer health problems when there are more trees on their street, a new study has found. An online health survey of 31,109 residents living in the Canadian city of Toronto was combined with high-resolution satellite imagery and tree data. The research was published in Scientific Reports on Thursday.   Having on average 10 more trees in a city block improved how someone rated their health by a level comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000, moving to a neighbourhood with $10,000 higher median income, or being seven years younger.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Column: Is using forest land for primary bioenergy production a wise choice?

Williams Lake Tribune
July 9, 2015
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Most people would agree that using residual wood for bioenergy is a good choice but what if green fibre is grown on forest land with the primary purpose of converting it to some form of energy (pellets, syngas or electricity)? In Ben Parfitt’s 2010 paper on bioenergy he has a section on “Wood as energy: Promises and Pitfalls,” which reviews the various options. With the pine beetle epidemic in B.C., it was perhaps inevitable that the province would seize upon bioenergy as key to revitalizing its forest industry.

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Forest Fires

B.C.’s forest fire service has failed the province

Letter to the Editor
Alberni Valley Times
July 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Port Alberni – We all know the ridiculous loss of Dog Mountain, late response, too little too late.The Martin Mars has apparrently been contracted for one month, maybe another month if needed, who really knows.The loss of homes, animals, B.C. forests, even a life lost. So it tells me that if you lost your home to a wild fire, who pays to rebuild, the government? Not likely, our insurance companies pay, and who pays, we do because now our premiums go up, as they did with all the floods that happened east of us in the last couple of years. There is so much politics going into making poor decisions.Where were the other parties working on behalf of the Martin Mars, why did the TV networks not ask enough tough questions about why the Mars sat so long? Is this political,is it personal? We don’t know.

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Evacuations, air quality advisories continue as B.C. wildfires rage

Canadian Press
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia has forced some people to visit hospitals because of breathing problems and chest pain, says the provincial health officer. Dr. Perry Kendall said emergency rooms in Whistler and Burnaby have seen a slight uptick in patients dealing with respiratory conditions during an early fire season. He said about 12 people have visited the emergency room in the resort town of Whistler, and another 25 to 30 people have visited hospitals in the Fraser Health region, which extends from Burnaby to Hope.

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118 fires today, situation could worsen: Saskatchewan officials

600 answer call for more firefighters
CBC News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The number of Saskatchewan forest fires has increased in the past day and thanks to hotter weather, the situation could get worse tomorrow, officials say. Provincial officials said Thursday there are now 118 wildfires burning in the north, up from 113 the day before. One of the largest, covering 90,000 hectares, is only 1.5 kilometres from the town of La Ronge. 90,000 hectares are more area than Saskatchewan’s 16 cities have combined. Dry conditions and temperatures topping 30 C, combined with shifting winds, could mean even more fires on Friday, officials said.

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Wildfire burning 15 km from Jasper townsite

Visitors being evacuated from the Maligne Valley, Skyline trail and area around Maligne Lake
CBC News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Firefighters are battling a wildfire about 15 kilometres south of the Jasper townsite. The 200-hectare fire is burning near Excelsior Creek in the Maligne Valley. People are being cleared from the valley, the Skyline trail and the area around Maligne Lake. The Maligne Lake Road is closed. “Most of our efforts have been focused on evacuating people from the valley,” said Greg Fenton, Jasper field unit superintendent for Parks Canada. “Both the day-use area around Maligne Lake … and then starting evacuations from backcountry campgrounds.”

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B.C. fires: which ones do they fight first?

Blazes are examined on a case-by-case basis, says the Wildfire Management Branch
CBC News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

With roughly 190 wildfires burning across B.C., the province’s Wildfire Management Branch has to prioritize which fires will get fought first. According to spokesperson Kevin Skrepnek, there is no strict protocol in place to determine which fires get prioritized. Instead, each fire is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, based on the following criteria: Top priority is always human life and safety. Second priority is property, such as houses and buildings. Third priority is high environmental values, such as community watersheds and habitats of species at risk. Fourth priority is resource values, such as timber harvesting and resource extraction sites.

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Forest fire crews in Manitoba too busy to help in Saskatchewan

Manitoba crews battle 59 active forest fires with help from firefighters from Quebec and Wisconsin
CBC News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Manitoba is in no position to send firefighters to help battle the blazes in Saskatchewan, says a provincial official. Crews in this province are battling 59 active forest fires and can’t be spared, said Gary Friesen, manager of the wildfire program with Manitoba Conservation. In fact, Manitoba is relying on the help of about 70 firefighters from Quebec and Wisconsin. The largest fires are between Grand Rapids and The Pas, Friesen said. “Whenever we can help other agencies, we do. [But] we are taxed to our complete capacity here in Manitoba, that’s why we have other agencies helping us right now.”

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B.C. fires: Christy Clark pledges to spend beyond budget on wildfires

Premier gets up close and personal with wildfire base north of Whistler
CBC News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West


B.C. Premier Christy Clark has pledged to spend beyond budget to fight the wildfires raging across the province. She landed by helicopter in Pemberton, north of Whistler, on Wednesday to take a first-hand look at the wildfire hot zone, a week before a massive music festival is set to open. All the available firefighters in B.C. are already working, and reinforcements have been brought in from Ontario and requested from Australia and New Zealand. B.C. has more than burned through its entire wildfire budget of $63 million for the year, but the province has statutory access to contingency funding.

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Staged ignitions will grow Dog Mountain fire to 400 hectares

Alberni Valley News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Staged ignitions near the isthmus of the Dog Mountain peninsula will cause the fire to grow to 400 hectares throughout the course of the day, said B.C. Coastal Fire Centre fire information officer Marg Drysdale. “The fire will grow due to preplanned ignitions,” said Drysdale. “It’s premeditated growth.” There are 31 crew, including the Thunderbirds, and three helicopters working on the Dog Mountain fire. Regarding a rumoured jump of the fire from the peninsula to the mainland, Drysdale said that “nothing of the sort” has happened.

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B.C. fires: What you don’t know about the Martin Mars water bombers

From serving with the U.S. Navy to fighting fires in B.C., just 2 of these planes remain today
CBC News
July 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Martin Mars water bomber will be coming out of retirement to join the battle against the raging wildfires burning throughout the province, the B.C. government has confirmed. While its crew readies it for lift off, On the Coast host Stephen Quinn spoke with Doug Rollins, librarian at the B.C. Aviation Museum in Sidney, for a look back at its storied life. The Martin Mars was originally intended to be a maritime bomber for use in the Pacific War, Rollins said. The idea was to build a vessel that could patrol for enemy vessels and submarines by sea, but that would also be capable of launching long-range bombing missions.

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Dog Mountain blaze grows; Martin Mars water bomber tested

Victoria Times Colonist
July 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Most of Vancouver Island remains on an extreme fire danger rating with human-caused blazes at Dog Mountain and near Port Hardy the biggest concerns, says the Coastal Fire Centre. The Dog Mountain blaze near Port Alberni has reached 400 hectares, up from 245 hectares on Wednesday, but some of the spread is due to fire management techniques, said information officer Marg Drysdale on Thursday. “You’re basically fighting fire with fire to strengthen control,” she said. The idea is to have a deliberate burn meet with the original burn deprive it of oxygen. There are 31 crew and helicopters on the site, which is steep and heavily forested.

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GOP-led effort to tap disaster funds for fighting wildfires generates White House opposition

Associated Press
July 8, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are proposing that some forest fires be treated like federal disasters, an attempt to win broader support for legislation that targets overgrown national forest lands. The legislation focuses on speeding up timber harvests and the removal of underbrush the Forest Service deems necessary to improving the health of a forest. Some Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups have been critical of the bill because they say it would erode key environmental safeguards. With a House vote expected this week, GOP lawmakers added the federal disaster language to the bill, something the Obama administration first proposed early last year, but with some key differences.

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Oregon Wildfires & Forest Fires

The Oregonian
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Oregon Wildfires & Forest Fires

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Bayview, Idaho Fire 40 Percent Contained

Associated Press
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has visited the area burned by the Cape Horn wildfire near the town of Bayview in northern Idaho. Thursday’s tour started aboard an Idaho National Guard Blackhawk helicopter. Although heavy smoke obscured views, Otter says they were able to watch helicopters dropping water on the flames The Spokesman-Review reports that the Cape Horn fire started Sunday and has burned 1,155 acres and six homes. Officials say it is 40 percent contained, and no longer actively threatening homes. More than 300 firefighters continue to strengthen containment lines.

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Federal, state foresters declare 5,524-acre 36 Pit Fire officially ‘out’

The Oregonian
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West


ESTACADA — The 36 Pit Fire, which ravaged 5,524 acres of timber southeast of Estacada last fall, was officially declared “out” Thursday. State and federal foresters conducted night flights over the scorched area, using infrared cameras that would have detected heat from lingering hot spots. But nothing was found. “It’s a relief to finally be able to declare this fire officially out now that we are in yet another hot and dry fire season, said Ranger Jackie Groce, of the Mount Hood National Forest’s Clackamas district.

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Wildfire near Detroit 80 percent contained

Statesman Journal
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A 79-acre wildfire burning near Detroit was 80 percent contained as of noon on Thursday, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. The wildfire was discovered July 4 about a mile from Highway 22 near the Big Cliff Dam, according to officials. On the first day it burned about 30 acres and more than doubled by the next day. At the height of the fire about 180 firefighters from seven different agencies and five helicopters assisted to fight the flames.

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Wildfires also hit Southeast forests

CoastAlaska News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Much of Alaska has faced or is facing smoke and wildfires this summer. Southeast has too, though with far less impact. As of Wednesday, Tongass National Forest officials counted 16 fires, one more than the regional average for a whole year. And despite some rainfall, the threat continues. Assistant Forest Fire Management Officer Seth Ross says most are campfires that burned down into the forest’s flammable peat soil.   “We have had a few lightning fires. This season was warm enough that
we did generate some lightning. But traditionally, human-caused fires
are our main sources of ignitions,” says Ross, who works out of the
Hoonah Ranger District.

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Crews battling Mount Adams fire try to be light on the land

The Longview Daily News
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

About 260 firefighters are using low-impact techniques to contain the 250-acre Horseshoe Fire burning in the Mount Adams Wilderness, the U.S. Forest Service reported Thursday. Low-impact methods involve using natural barriers, minimizing snag removal and using water to extinguish the fire perimeter, rather than the traditional digging and chopping of a fire line on the ground. “Incident managers are committed to protecting wilderness values while minimizing firefighter exposure and achieving fire containment,” Brian Gales, incident commander of Washington Interagency Incident Management Team, said in a written statement.

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Spain sends 16 planes, helicopters to combat forest fires

Associated Press
July 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MADRID — Spanish authorities sent 16 water planes and helicopters to help fight five different forest fires Thursday as summer temperatures soared once again. The Environment Ministry said it sent five planes to combat a blaze near the southern towns of Gualchos and Lujar. Some 500 people had been evacuated from the towns after the fire started Wednesday but authorities said Thursday it was safe enough for them to return home. Planes and helicopters were also sent to help extinguish a fire that had destroyed 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) of land around the south-central town of Quesada.

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