Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 11, 2015

Business & Politics

Fortress Paper Announces Second Quarter 2015 Results

Marketwired
August 10, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA- – Fortress Paper Ltd. (TSX:FTP) (“Fortress Paper” or the “Company”) reported 2015 second quarter EBITDA of $4.1 million, an increase of $6.6 million and $10.1 million over the previous quarter and prior year comparative period, respectively. The Dissolving Pulp Segment generated EBITDA of $2.1 million and the Security Paper Products Segment generated EBITDA of $3.4 million. Corporate costs contributed EBITDA loss of $1.4 million to EBITDA.

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Conifex Acquires Arkansas Mill as US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement Sets to Expire

Woodworking Network
August 10, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Conifex Timber Inc. has completed its purchase of a private Delaware company holding exclusive rights to a sawmill and 186 acres of land near El Dorado, AR.  …Conifex CEO Ken Shields said uncertainties in softwood lumber supply spurred the acquisition, with the Softwood Lumber Agreement between Canada and the United States set to expire in October. “It’s important to Conifex to secure this ideal site and high quality infrastructure in one of the most advantaged softwood supply regions in North America,” said Shields. “The uncertainties flowing from the expiry and renegotiation of the Softwood Lumber Agreement could potentially impact the timing of the modernization and upgrade of our Canadian sawmills, while we expect the SLA will have less impact on capital expenditure decisions for mills located in the US.”

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Canada’s Stella Jones Sales Boosted by Strong U.S. Currency

Woodworking Network
August 9, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) second quarter sales reached $428.1 million, up 24.2% from $344.8 million a year ago. “Stella-Jones produced solid operating results in the second quarter driven by healthy demand in its core markets and a wider reach in the residential lumber category. Margins benefited from further selling price adjustments in response to evolving market conditions in the untreated railway tie market and from greater network efficiency. Finally, our significant operating cash flow was mainly invested in working capital to support expected growth,” said Brian McManus, CEO.

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Timber Industry Report

The News-Review
August 7, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

… Home values continue to rise, and 30-year mortgage rates, while rising, are still at a very desirable level, around 4 percent. Unsold inventories at 1.6 months in Portland, are also down near historically low levels. This low inventory pushes up the demand for new homes. Building permits have reached a 7-year high of 1.34 million. Housing starts are also gaining, and may show a post-great-recession record next month. With wood products demand continuing to rise, stud prices might also rise. This is not always good for the mills, since log prices often rise even more when shortages occur. Like housing, which was affected by extreme weather last winter, stay tuned for weather-affected markets in logs and wood products this summer, especially if housing continues to pick up

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Brazil’s exports of pulp and paper up 7,1 per cent

Pulp and Paper News
August 11, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The Brazilian Tree Industry (Ibá) announced that in the first half of 2015, Brazil’s volume of pulp exports totaled 5.5 million tons — 7.1% higher than the same period in 2014 when 5.1 million tons were exported. Exports of paper reached 987,000 tons from January through June 2015 — a 3.9% increase year-over-year. For the wood panels segment, the amount exported in the first six months of 2015 totaled 289,000 m3 — a 48.2% growth year-over-year when exports totaled 195,000 m3.

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Launch of a New Zealand Forest Policy Project

New Zealand Scoop
August 11, 2015
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry held its annual conference today at Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, with President James Treadwell’s opening address introducing the Forest Policy Project. The forestry sector is trying to put together an intergenerational forest policy for the greater good of New Zealand. “My hope is a clear policy will enable the governments of the day to clearly understand what the sector can offer, understand the long term nature of the sector and ensure any decision made is made with the sector and the long term policy in mind,” says James. The policy is not only looking at economic benefits, but also non-economic (environmental and social) benefits of forests.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

B.C. lags behind on green housing

By Barbara Yaffe
Vancouver Sun
August 10, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — Vancouver claims to have the greenest building code of any city in North America, but the Brits are winning a global race to build energy-efficient new homes. And a report from the University of Victoria-based Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions is calling on B.C. to start walking its talk. …Vancouver, aspiring to be the world’s greenest city by 2020, intends to require buildings and houses constructed after that date to achieve energy neutrality by reducing energy use by 50 per cent over 2007 levels, and using renewable forms of energy to make up the other half of the targeted reduction. What makes the policy challenging for Vancouver, says Neil Moody, CEO of the B.C. Homebuilders’ Association, is affordability.

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REVIEW: Exhibit offers inspiring examples of the craft of woodturning

Chronicle Herald
August 10, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Turning Against The Grain is currently on display at the Mary E. Black Gallery in the Nova Scotia Centre for Crafts and Design and challenged members of the Nova Woodturners Guild to develop the artistic nature of the trade, bridging the divide between art and craft. As the show is a juried exhibit of work by experts and novices, there are a few classics —bowls and vases — but also some standout sculptural pieces. Even the bowls, it should be noted, are testaments to the artists pushing their limits. They have beautifully rolled or undercut rims, each highlighting the natural grain and inherent qualities of the wood.

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Handcrafted oyster trays taking off for midcoast man

Bangor Daily News
August 10, 2015
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Oyster River Joinery, a company that began as a hobby and an outlet for his creativity. Through it, Sampson makes handcrafted platters out of wood that are shaped like oysters, shrimp, fish and even a chicken, complete with indentions where the oysters on the half-shell and other offerings can safely be nestled into the tray. The trays — carved from such wood as cherry, mahogany, red birch, walnut and yellow birch — have a warm glow and a festive feel. …Oyster River Joinery recently was cited as one of the best new products at the New England Made Giftware and Specialty Food Show. 

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Forestry

B.C. says park policy offers protection from development but not everyone is convinced

CP in The Province
August 7, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says the province’s parks are off limits to industrial activity under a new policy, but an environmental group fears it makes way for pipelines and other development projects. “Protecting our natural spaces is a priority,” Environment Minister Mary Polak said in a written statement Friday. “This policy provides more clarity around how research and information-gathering activities will be undertaken in B.C.’s parks and protected areas, which allows us to make informed decisions.” The statement said B.C. parks remain restricted to new industrial activity, but the permits could play a role in decisions related to requests to adjust park boundaries.

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Logging on to learn mutual lessons

The Scotsman
August 11, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, International

…Looking to the 21st century, there is a real opportunity for [Canada and Scotland] to learn from each other in the forestry and wood processing sector, even if they occupy different ends of the spectrum when it comes to scale and maturity. …Both countries are looking at new ways to use wood. In Scotland, this reflects a growing resource. In Canada, it is being driven by a significant fall in exports to its principal market, the United States, due to a dramatic fall in housebuilding since 2008 and a major reduction in demand for news print. As a consequence, Canada has seen pulp and paper mills close and sawmills struggle. Forced to look for new markets, companies are working with federal and provincial governments to invest millions every year in research and innovation, market development and promotion.

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First Nations elders to guide deconstruction process of B.C. home built atop burial site

Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
August 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

SALTSPRING ISLAND — Crews will soon deconstruct a partially built home on a sacred burial site off Saltspring Island after a multimillion-dollar deal with the landowner. Construction on a Grace Islet house started last fall after the landowner got the necessary permits, but First Nations raised concerns about the historical significance of the area. Work stopped in December, and the land was transferred to the Nature Conservancy of Canada after the B.C. government paid the landowner $5.45 million. …She said cultural workers will be at the site to ensure that 16 cairns beneath the foundation are not disturbed. Hannah said elders from eight First Nations will provide guidance on the deconstruction process in an area that is also known for its 200-year-old juniper, Garry oak and Douglas fir trees.

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BC Forest Safety Council Huddles to Prevent Further Fatalities

250 News
August 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George, B.C. – Alarm bells have been ringing in the wake of a recent rash of fatalities either directly or indirectly related to forestry activities. There have been five forestry related deaths this year and two fatalities associated with forestry activity. …CEO of the BC Forest Safety Council Reynold Hert says the number of fatalities is not a sign the industry is letting down its guard ” When I look at the type of incidents that have occurred, they are all very different so we’re certainly going to learn on one or a couple of them on what could have been done better, but I don’t see anything that would indicate the industry is letting its guard down”

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Donation protects 80 acres of Acadian forest in P.E.I.

The Charlottetown Guardian
August 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

CLYDE RIVER- A large parcel of the Acadian forest that at one time covered the entire province is now being conserved for future Islanders to enjoy. It’s also preserving the legacy of a well-known family that lived in the area. The Island Nature Trust held a celebration for the donation of the 80-acre parcel of hardwood forest, located in Elmwood off Peter’s Road, at the Clyde River Community Centre last week.  Jackie Waddell, the trust’s recently retired
executive director, said discussions began with joint owners Eric
MacPhail and his sister-in-law, Helen MacPhail, about two years ago.

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Embracing Forest Collaboration: Part 11: Bob Boeh

Evergreen Magazine
August 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

“Collaboration is a tool – just like a lot of other tools Congress has given the Forest Service to help it do its job better. Right now, it is the sharpest problem solving implement we have. It’s time consuming and inefficient, but we continue to support it because it brings all stakeholder groups to the same table. We work hard to iron out potential disagreements over proposed Forest Service projects, hopefully avoiding costly litigation that hurts our business, our communities and our forests. Congress must continue to incentivize collaboration by providing additional streamlining and legal certainty for projects.”

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Living in the real world

CDA Press
August 7, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Judging from Bonnie Bogart-Brown’s July 28 My Turn [When Human Management Isn’t Such a Good Thing], she’d be just as happy living in a cave. More power to her, but most of us – me included – aren’t interested in rolling the clock back 5,000 years. …Unless Ms. Brown lives in a tent – made from cotton or linen [thank you farmers] – her house is probably made from wood, which is renewable, recyclable, biodegradable, carbon neutral and more energy efficient than any other structural building material on earth. She should thank her local logger and sawmill worker for the roof over her head.

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Forest maintenance: A plan to improve health of forests, communities

Letter from Glenn Wiggins, Port Angeles, a consulting forester
The Seattle Times
August 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

With keen interest, I read today that Tom Vilsack, our secretary of agriculture, is worried about forest fires and what it does to the Forest Service’s budget [“The cost of fighting wildfires is sapping Forest Service budget,” Opinion, Aug. 5]. So am I. However, he presents no clear solution when one is desperately needed. More than 20 years ago when the Northwest Forest Plan became the law of the land around here, the Forest Service changed its business plan to nearly exclude the harvest of timber. The small thinnings they do produce hardly pay the costs of getting them to market.

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Spotted owl strategy shows bad thinking is not extinct

Eureka Times-Standard
August 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Where is the public indignation? What happened to the screaming environmentalists who fight tooth and nail to save endangered salamanders, insects and snail darter fish? Why isn’t every earth-loving, shrub-hugging, trail-plodding, trout-pestering conservationist in this country outraged? For decades we’ve been told the northern spotted owl was a threatened species because of logging. In the hands of conservationists groups and other spin doctors, old growth became “ancient” and redwoods — once considered a renewable resource — became objects of reverence and awe.

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Logging starts near Bridger Bowl Ski Area

Billings Gazette
August 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Skiers will find more space between the trees in a portion of Bridger Bowl Ski Area this winter as the Forest Service begins a logging project. The South Bridger Interface Project will spread across 250 acres and thin tree crowns so they are 15 to 20 feet apart in the Slushman Creek area, about 15 miles northeast of Bozeman. The project on the Custer Gallatin National Forest is meant to create less favorable conditions for western spruce budworm, mountain pine beetle and Douglas fir beetle.

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Op-Ed – We must preserve our forests for generations to come

Union-Bulletin
August 8, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

With wildfires burning across the Pacific Northwest, the House of Representatives has taken action to prevent catastrophic fire, effectively fight wildfires when they happen, and bring jobs and opportunity to rural communities. When we envision our national forests, we imagine healthy trees and green foliage. …The federal government made a promise to actively manage America’s forests for the benefit of those who call this land home — and to preserve it for their livelihood. Clearly, the government has faltered in this commitment. Decades of burdensome regulations and frivolous lawsuits have hindered forest management.

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Drones getting in the way of emergency responders

Idaho Statesman
August 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SAN DIEGO — As Jason Thrasher lowered his helicopter to a park with seven firefighters aboard, he saw what he thought was another firefighting chopper battling a blaze that was threatening homes. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pilot suddenly identified the object as a four-rotor drone only 10 feet from his windshield, forcing him to make a hard left to avoid a collision about 500 feet above ground, according to a report he filed the next day. “If that drone came through my windshield, I have no idea what could have happened,” Thrasher said in a phone interview. “If that drone hits my tail rotor, for sure it’s going to be catastrophic.”

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Mill valuation creates challenges for commissioners

The Western News
August 7, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Last week’s release of the mill valuation by the Montana Department of Revenue will have a significant impact on Lincoln County as commissioners work to finalize the new budget. The new mill valuation could cost the county as much as $365,400 in levied revenue. The 2015 mill value has been set at $31,673, as compared to $35,153 in 2014. While the decrease could be good news to property owners in the form of lower taxes, it is a difficult pill for the commissioners to swallow as they struggle to balance a budget already suffering from decreased revenues and the need to repay taxpayers for overtaxation in previous years.

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Rattlesnake logging removed from Marshall Woods project

by Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
August 11, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Missoula Ranger District has dropped plans to commercially log a busy stretch of the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area in its effort to improve forest health along the city’s northern border. “I was incredibly humbled at the response that we got about the national recreation area,” District Ranger Jennifer Hensiek said Monday. “It opened my eyes a lot about how engaged the community is. What drove it for me was talking about recreation values and ecological concerns, and what is that balance. We’ve come to a good compromise.” The Marshall Woods project proposed several options for improving old logging scars, removing hazardous fuel build-ups and restoring meadows in the hills above the Rattlesnake and Marshall canyons.

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4 Questions About The Future Of Oregon’s Elliott State Forest

Oregon Public Broadcasting
August 10, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon’s State Land Board meets Thursday to once again consider a big question: What to do with the Elliott State Forest? After months of consultations, the Oregon Department of State Lands is bringing forth guidelines for selling the forest to a single buyer or a group of buyers. The board is being asked to tweak that framework and to give the go-ahead for the department to start putting together a deal.

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Emerald ash borer creeps north toward higher tree density

Leader Telegram
August 11, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The emerald ash borer, which has wreaked havoc on ash tree populations across southern Wisconsin, is likely to have an even more disastrous impact on those trees in the northern part of the state, state biologists said. The bright-green insect that bores into trees and prevents trees from transporting water and nutrients from their roots, thereby killing ash trees, would have even more of those trees to feed on in northern forests, where the majority of Wisconsin’s naturally occurring trees of that species are found. “If the emerald ash borer were to take up (in the north), it would be
probably a nightmare,” said Donna Gilson, public information officer for
Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

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New Finnish champion in forestry skills

Finnish Forestry Association
August 11, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: International

What do you call it when a couple dozen silent people gaze at a lot of trees along a stick, occasionally turning it up at an arm’s length and focusing their eyes at its top end? The Finnish Championships in forestry skills, of course. This is the most important task in the competition, and the only one where outsiders are permitted to observe. The instructions are strict: you may not speak to the competitors or disturb them in any way. …In this mind-boggling forest compartment the competitors must assess the volume of growing stock per hectare. The only tool permitted is a relascope, busily plied by every one.

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East Coast hap? oppose Forestry NES

New Zealand Scoop
August 11, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Hap? groups with kaiteki responsibilities under the RMA covering more than 60,000 hectares of land on the East Coast are joining Gisborne District Council in opposing proposed changes to national rules for plantation forestry, and suggesting Treaty of Waitangi breaches could result if the proposed National Environmental Standard (NES) is adopted by the government. Hikurangi Takiwa Trust representing a collective of hap? covering 30,000 hectares south of Ruatoria and Te Papatipu o Uepohatu Trust hap? representing hap? in the Ruatoria area voted earlier in the month to oppose the NES for Plantation Forestry.

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Council speaks out against new forestry rules

The Marlborough District Council is to make a firm stand against the Government’s one-size-fits-all approach to planned new forestry rules.
Radio New Zealand News
August 11, 2015
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Government said it wanted to remove the huge variations in forest management currently caused by different council rules, and planned to change how plantation forestry activities are managed under the Resource Management Act. Marlborough Council is concerned that it will slacken controls around use of land at risk of erosion, and will be making a submission to the Ministry for Primary Industries on this basis. Plantation forestry is currently managed under councils’ district or regional plans, which govern land use. Each council around the country has a different plan.

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Forest Fires

A wildfire wake-up call for Canada

Globe and Mail
August 17, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Hey Canada! Mother Nature is calling. She wants you to know that climate change is real, and she is going to kick your butt with another bad fire season unless you wake up and smell the smoke. Nearly four million hectares have burned so far this year in Canada – close to double the average season. Record numbers of people were forced to move in Saskatchewan. British Columbia experienced its warmest winter and spring to date since 1948, when temperatures were first regularly recorded, and has battled 1,400 wildfires this season so far; 10 per cent are still burning. Alberta called on firefighters from Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and the United States for help. August is typically a very active fire month, so we aren’t out of the frying pan yet.

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B.C. fires: Weather helps contain Wood Lake fire near Harrison Hot Springs

Fire now covers more than 13 square kilometres
CBC News
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cooler weather over the weekend helped fire crews build guards around 40 per cent of the wildfire burning north of Harrison Lake, B.C., located at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley. The Wood Lake wildfire is just over 13 square kilometres in area, but is not threatening any homes or properties. It first was reported on Aug. 2. It was caused by unspecified human activity. 137 firefighters and five helicopters have been fighting the fire. The Sts’ailes Forest Service Road (formerly known as the West Harrison Lake FSR) on the west side of Harrison Lake has been blocked at the 0 kilometer marker.

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Wildfire Activity Reduced….For Now

250 News
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George, B.C. -Wildfire activity throughout B.C. has calmed somewhat from the situation experienced just a couple of weeks ago. There are 127 wildfires burning in B.C. right now, three of them spotted yesterday. Those numbers are well below the days when as many as 18 new fires were being reported on practically a daily basis as most of the province was under an extreme fire danger rating. Only the southeast portion of B.C. remains in that extreme rating zone, as extremely hot temperatures persist amid dry conditions. There is a risk of lightning today along the south east border with Alberta, so there is a potential for further flare ups says Wildfire Branch Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek.

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Campfires, discarded cigarettes still an issue

Whister Question
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

…The danger from campfires or discarded cigarette butts doesn’t necessarily come from those sources sparking an open flame. Nelson explained that even if campfires or butts are put out with dirt, they can burn into the ground and draw enough oxygen from the soil around them to sustain the ember for days on end, without any visible flame. …“There was no campfire there, but someone discarded some sort of burning material and they thought they had extinguished it,” said Nelson. “It burned down (into the soil), caught a root then travelled the length of that root to the base of a stump of a tree. It literally burned for days in there, literally off the side of the Valley Trail where thousands of people walk right by the rope swing. One of our fire captains said when they opened it up it looked like a pottery kiln. It was that hot.” 

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Smokejumpers Celebrate 75 Years of Service

USDA Blog
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

In 1940, Rufus Robinson and Earl Cooley made U.S. Forest Service history parachuting onto a fire over Martin Creek on the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho. This historic jump started an elite smokejumper program, a program born of necessity and innovation. Since then, smokejumpers have played a vital role in fire suppression by providing a unique capability to deliver large numbers of highly skilled, qualified firefighters over large distances in a short amount of time. Now, 75 years later, more than 100 smokejumpers from across the country reunited in Missoula, Montana, in July to share stories and reminisce about their smokejumping days.

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Editorial: Congress (still) fiddles while forests burn

Albany Democrat-Herald
August 8, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service this week issued a report saying that for the first time in the agency’s 110-year history, it’s spending more than half of its budget fighting wildfires. …It’s also a vicious cycle that Congress can break — although it has yet to do so. In fact, Congress has recessed for the month, without taking action on any of a number of proposals to change the way we pay for firefighting. Many of the proposals in Congress enjoy bipartisan support, so it remains a mystery why this issue has languished for years in Washington. In general, many of the proposals in Congress (along with a similar proposal backed by the Obama administration) would treat the very largest wildfires as legitimate natural disasters, the way that floods or hurricanes are treated by the federal government.

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Wildfire burning near massive blaze expands

Associated Press in Helena Independent Record
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LOWER LAKE, Calif. — A wildfire that erupted near a destructive blaze in Northern California’s rural, rocky hills expanded farther. The blaze had burned 9 square miles by Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. It broke out several miles away from the community of Lower Lake Sunday afternoon and quickly spread. Evacuations have been ordered for the fire that ignited Sunday and doubled in size overnight. Authorities couldn’t say how many homes were evacuated or how many people were told to be prepared to flee. Containment of the fire about 100 miles north of San Francisco was not in sight.

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Massive attack by crews thwarted blaze near Rough & Ready

Mail Tribune
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A four-alarm, 53-acre wildfire Saturday near the Rough & Ready lumber mill threatened 125 homes and forced 30 to 40 people to be evacuated before a massive attack stopped the fire. “We brought everything,” said Jason Bayless, Illinois Valley Fire District spokesman. Illinois Valley firefighters reached the scene first, but before it was over a caravan of fire engines from all over the Rogue Valley reached the scene via the Redwood Highway, as structural task forces were called in. As many as six helicopters from the nearby Illinois Valley Airport and three air tankers from Medford were working the blaze…

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Forest Service Managing Wildfire Near Blue Ridge Reservoir

Payson Roundup
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A lightning-caused fire just south of C.C. Cragin/Blue Ridge Reservoir is being managed for resource benefits and clearing hazardous forest fuels in the area while providing strategic protection for the reservoir. The General fire began on July 31 and was 300 acres Friday, burning at low to moderate intensity and producing smoke that is noticeable to visitors of the reservoir and surrounding communities. “Allowing this fire to reduce forest fuels so close to the reservoir is a good strategic move,” said Linda Wadleigh, Mogollon Rim district ranger. “Low intensity wildfires like the General fire are crucial and necessary in the area surrounding the reservoir to prevent damage and destruction to this vital watershed from larger, more severe wildfires.”

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How Megafires Are Remaking American Forests

National Geographic
August 9, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

TWISP, Washington—The largest fire in state history swept through the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range with explosive force last summer. The Carlton Complex Fire burned more than 250,000 acres, devouring everything in its path at the hypersonic pace of 3.8 acres per second. Until then, the top slot in the state’s fire rankings belonged to the Tripod Fire, which burned up 175,000 beetle-infested acres in two months on the same slopes in 2006. Carlton and Tripod are “megafires,” part of a wave of extreme fires that are transforming the great forests of the American West. By the end of the century, scientists say, megafires—conflagrations that chew up at least 100,000 acres of land—will become the norm. Which makes them of critical interest to researchers.

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Op-Ed Why we need to learn to live with fire instead of fighting it

Los Angeles Times
August 8, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

…We created our fire problem, and virtually everything we’re doing to combat it only makes it worse. Most Western forests grew up alongside frequent low-intensity fires that burned saplings and brush in the understory and left behind the oldest and largest trees — those capable of surviving the heat. But for the last 100 years we’ve dealt with blazes by putting them out. …Not only is our approach to handling fires ineffective, it’s expensive: federal, state and county fire agencies spend almost $5 billion a year to stem the destruction. The U.S. Forest Service shoulders the burden of this enormous cost, and firefighting now consumes half the agency’s budget. In 1995, it took up just 16%. By 2025, firefighting will take up two-thirds.

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With Climate Change, a Terrifying New Normal for Western Firefighters (& video)

Yale Environment 360
August 10, 2015
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

To many people, climate change is a distant, abstract concept. But to the men and women who battle wildfires in Colorado and throughout the American West, evidence of a warming world is something they face on a daily basis. In recent years, these fire crews have fought blazes that are larger, more frequent, faster-moving, longer-lasting, and increasingly unpredictable — the result of rising temperatures, diminishing snowpack, and more frequent droughts. This e360 video, “Unacceptable Risk: Firefighters on the Front Lines of Climate Change,” produced by The Story Group, focuses on the people battling to save lives and property in a rapidly changing environment.

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