Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 5, 2016

Business & Politics

BC’s Logging Associations Convene In Vernon To Defend Contractor Sustainability

Truck Loggers Association
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Concerns over the viability of small business logging companies have prompted two forestry trade organizations to work together to seek solutions. The Truck Loggers Association (TLA) board will meet with the Interior Logging Association (ILA) board to discuss contractor sustainability and what must be done to build contractor sustainability in BC’s forest industry. The meeting comes in advance of the ILA’s 58th Annual Conference & Trade Show amid growing financial pressures on independent contractors and communities across BC as a result of tenure consolidation.  David Elstone, TLA Executive Director says “tenure consolidation has allowed major tenure holders to squeeze timber harvesting contractors, their workers and suppliers to the verge of bankruptcy.” 

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Global Forest, Paper and Packaging Industry: Market fundamentals continue to improve

Industry merger and acquisition activity increases in 2015
Canada Newswire press release
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, – Mixed prices and demand for commodities, as well as currency volatility continues to affect the performance of the global forest, paper and packaging industry. However, the building product sector fundamentals remain optimistic, with steadily improving US housing starts up 6% in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the annualized starts in December 2014. “What we saw in 2015 is the markets starting to stabilize. If we look ahead, the US housing market continues to improve, which has resulted in stronger lumber prices in the first quarter of 2016,” said Kevin Bromley, Partner and PwC Canadian Forest, Paper and Packaging Leader. “Pulp and paper have remained stable in the first quarter of 2016, although significant new global production is coming online later in the year.” “

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Opinion: Pulp and paper remains a key contributor to B.C.’s economic future

by Joe Nemeth, president and CEO of Catalyst Paper
Vancouver Sun
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Leading pulp and paper producers from more than 30 countries converged on Vancouver this week to attend International Pulp Week, a three-day conference that is part of PwC’s Global Forest Products Leadership Summit. Vancouver was a fitting venue for the 13th edition of this conference. Not only is Vancouver a world-class city, it’s also the commercial hub of a province whose pulp and paper sector has long been an economic engine for numerous communities, supporting families in the Interior and on the Coast. …Together, B.C.’s 15 pulp mills and six paper mills directly employ about 12,000 workers and support an additional 12,500 indirect jobs — about 20 per cent of all forest sector jobs in B.C. The sector pays among the highest wages and salaries in the province. While many rural families depend on these jobs, the sector also supports many professional services jobs in the Metro Vancouver area.

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Conifex Announces First Quarter 2016 Results

Marketwired
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA– – Conifex Timber Inc. (TSX:CFF) today reported results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016. Adjusted EBITDA* in the first quarter of 2016 was $6.8 million, compared to $7.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 and $5.7 million in the first quarter of 2015. In the first quarter of 2016, adjusted EBITDA was negatively affected by a foreign exchange translation loss of $1.1 million compared to foreign exchange translation gains of $0.4 million in the previous quarter and $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2015.

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Rayonier Reports First Quarter 2016 Results

Businesswire Press Release
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Rayonier Inc. (NYSE:RYN) today reported first quarter net income attributable to Rayonier of $14.5 million, or $0.12 per share, on revenues of $134.8 million. This compares to net income attributable to Rayonier of $17.7 million, or $0.14 per share, on revenues of $140.3 million in the prior year quarter. The first quarter results include $0.4 million of costs related to shareholder litigation1 and $1.2 million of gain on foreign currency derivatives.2 The prior year first quarter results included $0.1 million of costs related to shareholder litigation.1 Excluding these items, pro forma net income3 was $13.7 million, or $0.11 per share, versus $17.8 million, or $0.14 per share, in the prior year period.

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Former Emmett sawmill owner paid fines following 2015 loss-of-limb accident

Idaho Statesman
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West


Gem Forest Products paid $10,800 in fines following an accident in July 2015 that left an employee without an arm. An OSHA investigation resulted in six serious safety violations for failing to prevent the accident. At the time, the mill operations manager told the Statesman that the 24-yar-old male employee put his hand in the head of a moving conveyor for unknown reasons. The sawmill, which has had a rocky history of closing and reopening, closed in December 2015 before Woodgrain Willwork of Fruitland purchased it the following month. The mill is scheduled to reopen this year. END OF STORY

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East Coast investors may bring more jobs to Prineville mill

No word yet on how many; officials, residents hopefull
KTVZ
May 3, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

An East Coast investment company is looking to acquire an interest in Consolidated Companies, a family-owned lumber company in New Jersey with a small mill in Prineville. Crook County Commissioner Seth Crawford said Tuesday he flew to New Jersey to met with the representatives of Tzar Investment Group LLC of Rhode Island and Consolidated Companies of New Jersey, which has a subsidiary, Consolidated Pine, in Crook County. The company announced it plans to invest in the Consolidated Pine lumber mill, though details have not been made public. The facility currently employs about 30 workers.

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Resolute Forest cuts U.S. newsprint capacity, permanently shuts Georgia machine

Canadian Press in 680 News
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

MONTREAL – Resolute Forest Products says it’s permanently shutting down one of its U.S. newsprint machines in response to ongoing challenges in the market. The Montreal-based pulp, paper and lumber producer says its U.S. mills are “especially vulnerable” in the present currency environment, when a strong American dollar weakens their competitive position. Resolute (TSX:RFP) recently announced price increases to its newsprint sales in the United States but doesn’t expect long-term demand to improve, unlike an anticipated recovery in demand for lumber for the U.S. housing market. The company says it anticipates a $20 million expense item will be recorded for the machine shutdown at its newsprint mill in Augusta, Ga., which will be recorded in the second and third quarters of 2016.

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Forestry sector considers pros and cons of EU membership

The Scottish Farmer
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

FORESTRY and timber trade body Confor has published a discussion paper on the key issues raised by the imminent EU ‘in/out’ referendum. The paper, written by Guy Watt of John Clegg Consulting, examines the six main areas where decisions made at European level have direct or indirect impacts on the forestry and timber industry: direct financial support from the EU; regulations and bureaucracy; trade; plant health; the labour market; and the economy. On red tape , Mr Watt cautioned against a ‘simplistic’ approach: “For those who owned woods or practised forestry 30 or more years ago, the challenge now of trying to get things done, or claiming grants, can seem a nightmare. The prospect of leaving the EU and getting rid of it all sounds something like paradise.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

$3000 Guitar Made of ‘Solid Linen’ Looks and Plays Like Wood

WIRED
May 4, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

El Capitan, the new six-string from Blackbird Guitars, provides the look, sound, and beauty of a hardwood instrument without the fuss or ecological concerns. It’s made of Ekoa, a proprietary composite of flax linen and bio-resin made from industrial waste. The company claims the material is lighter than carbon fiber and stiffer than Sitka spruce, the preferred material for the best soundboards. “We like to say it’s old-growth wood without the worry,” says founder Joe Luttwak. …Luttwak describes Ekoa as “solid linen,” and says the goal was to emulate old wood. As years pass, wood becomes thinner, yet more rigid and resilient, a combination that yields a warm, open and powerful sound. 

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Steel Building Construction Is a Sustainable Alternative to Lumber Construction that Meets New Code Requirements

PR Rocket
May 4, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

As consumers and businesses look for ways to meet the new increasingly restrictive building codes, steel building construction is an exceptional alternative to traditional wood construction that is completely code compliant. As building requirements become more strict, steel construction is an sustainable and durable alertnative to wood construction that is also code compliant. For example, in 2009 the Homespace + Workspace retail store in Santa Cruz, California burned to the ground. An entire business was lost as a result of a fire at a neighboring lumberyard that spread to their building. EcoSteel was then contacted to rebuild using a completely prefabricated steel structure and building envelope. Because medical facilities are a high risk of fast spreading fire damage with high pressure oxygen lines running through the walls, steel is an excellent alternative. In addition, because steel does not harbor mold, bacteria or termites there is no reason for dangerous chemical treatments that could be harmful to patients and employees.

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London Design Festival 2016 reveals installations

Design Week
May 4, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

…Installations announced for London Design Festival 2016 include a giant curved walkway made of sustainable wood, a takeover of a disused stairwell and sit-in boxes that aim to address the housing crisis. The Smile, designed by Alison Brooks Architects, is an outdoor installation supported by the American Hardwood Export Council and ARUP, and is a 36m-long curved rectangular tube made from sustainable timber. At 3.5m high, visitors will be able to walk through the wood tunnel, which will be scattered with light due to perforations along the walls. …Baboushka Boxes has been designed by architect dRMM and supported by financial company Legal & General and homelessness charity Shelter. It will include a series of large, stacked box structures, also made from cross-laminated timber, which visitors will be able to sit and stand in. Alex de Rijke, co-founder at dRMM, says the project is a “conceptual piece – a mini manifesto for change”, looking at housing as “sustainable, adaptable, transportable and strong”.

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Forestry

Forest week kicks-off Alberta Special Weeks in the month of May

Peace River Record Gazette
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Peace River is welcoming Alberta Forest Week from May 1-7, a part of province-wide celebrations in celebration of Alberta’s Special Weeks 2016. “During this time of celebrating our forest, Agriculture and Forestry will deliver close to 70,000 tree seedlings to Grade 1 students throughout the province,” said Crystal Burrows, area information coordinator for the Peace River Forest Area. “(This is) a long-standing tradition to teach the value of trees and their contribution to the Alberta way of life.” Burrows will be presenting and working with Environment and Parks to present Alberta Forest week in the Peace River area.

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Letter: Forest industry not declining

By Eric Andersen, Squamish
Squamish Chief
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In a good letter last week (“Higher paying jobs will come,” April 28), responding to a fine editorial the week before (“The real costs of commuting,” April 21), there was some phrasing that deserves comment: “In the wake of the declining forestry industry and the closure of the Woodfibre pulp mill, Squamish, like B.C., is diversifying itself…” The forest industry in this region is not “declining.” This is perhaps an easy misperception, with many years of news stories on, for example, interior pine beetle and coastal newsprint sector woes. The timber harvesting industry has seen growing activity levels during recent years in this area since the major recession of a few years ago. And it is still working under capacity. District harvest levels are below the allowable cut.

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B.C. has seen worse droughts than previously thought, tree rings reveal

Data on 350 years of B.C. droughts reveals extremes that were not recorded before, says researcher
CBC News
May 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents on B.C.’s South Coast will likely have to endure worse droughts in the coming decades than previously thought according to a new study from the University of Victoria. Researchers used tree ring data to reveal centuries of B.C.’s water history — much further back than the 50 or so years that humans have been keeping stream-flow records. Looking at more than 350 years of tree ring data from B.C.’s South Coast, the study found 16 historical droughts that were worse than the benchmarks used today by water managers in the region, said Bethany Coulthard, paleoclimatologist and lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Hydrology.

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Water wise: Logging one of 29 identifed risks to our water

By Tanis Gower, Registered Professional Biologist
Comox Valley Record
May 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Drinking water quality is a hot topic in the Comox Valley, especially since we taxpayers will be required to pay for upgrades to our water system. …The Watershed Protection Plan, then, aims to bring all the parties together for the sake of the watershed. The plan has identified 29 risks, with five being categorized as “very high,” nine as “high,” eight as “moderate” and seven as “low.” The risk relating to logging extent and locations is “high,” while off-road vehicle use, camping in undesignated areas, wildfire, flooding and augmentation/concentration of stream flows are the risk factors that are “very high.” …Ultimately, most of the 54 recommendations in the plan deal with factors other than logging. This may be a surprise to some, since logging is the dominant and most controversial land use. Logging practices on private land have very limited public oversight, and the recommendations are a reflection of that reality – though TimberWest does state that it follows up-to-date, science-based best practices.

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Finding Common Ground in the Forest

Forestry expo showcases stewardship as hundreds of students learn about sustainable management
Flathead Beacon
May 3, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Nearly 30 years ago, a coalition of longtime adversaries turned unlikely bedfellows invited the public to a weeklong workshop in the woods to have a chat about one of the most polarizing issues of the time – land management. Surrounded by stakeholders whose interests ran deep and diverse – almost as diverse as the bristling stands of grand and alpine fir, spruce, larch and cedar – the folks in attendance were finally able to see the forest for the trees, and the Flathead Family Forestry Expo was born. Tree huggers stood alongside tree cutters in a united front as hundreds of area fifth-graders and their families learned about logging, as well as about fisheries, forest fire, back-country camping and safety, ecology, wildlife habitat, and more. Most importantly, they learned about how one affects the other.

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Senate cuts down timber bill

Barre Montpelier Times Argus
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MONTPELIER — Senate lawmakers gutted a bill intended to offer protections for landowners who want to harvest timber on their property. On Tuesday, the Senate gave its approval to a bill that had called for the creation of a system to assist landowners with issues related to contracts and land management, and instead replaced the proposed system with a report. “I am perplexed, and I’m worried that there seems to be a willingness to avoid helping consumers avoid getting their forests cut by people who are not ethical and have many opportunities to not play by the rules that our parents and our grandparents played by,” said Sen. Mark MacDonald, D-Orange. House Bill 857 had called for the creation of system in which landowners would voluntarily notify the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation when they planned to have timber harvested from their property.

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Georgia: EU project helps combat forest pests and diseases

The FINANCIAL
May 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Two forestry reports supported by the EU-funded Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Program (FLEG II) in Georgia are now being used by the country’s authorities to develop a plan on addressing and eradicating pests and diseases in the country’s forests. The studies were conducted upon request from the National Forestry Agency of Georgia and, according to the country representative, they revealed ‘a great amount of information which is indispensable to proceed with the next steps’ needed to protect forestry resources in the country, FLEG II reports.

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Forest Fires

Why the boreal burns: The trees surrounding Fort McMurray are hard-wired for fire

National Post
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Natural Resources Canada says that in the boreal forest fire “is as crucial to forest renewal as the sun and rain.” During a Tuesday press conference in Fort McMurray, Bernie Schmitte from Alberta Forestry elaborated on why the region is going up in smoke. “Spruce trees, pine trees, they like to burn. They have to burn to regenerate themselves. Those species have adapted to fire. Their cones have adapted to open up after the fire. The trees have adapted so that once they’re old enough, and decadent and need to be replaced, they are available to fire so they burn.” He called the black spruce, white spruce and aspen trees “volatile fuels” in the fire-dependent ecosystem.

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Forest fires by the numbers

Castanet
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

A by-the-numbers look at forest fires in Canada over the last four-plus decades: 373,597: Forest fires in Canada between 1970 and 2015 51,320: Forest fires in B.C. between 1990 and 2015, the most of any province during that time 32,894: Fires in Alberta during the same time, the second-highest total of any province 64,639,645: Hectares of land burned by forest fires between 1990 and 2015 17,388,508: Hectares burnt in the Northwest Territories, the largest amount of any province and territory between 1990 and 2015

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Forest fire concerns growing in Manitoba

Global News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

WINNIPEG — Manitoba has had half the normal number of forest fires so far this year, but officials worry things are about to change. Gary Friesen, manager of the provincial fire program, says dry weather and winds in the forecast are expected to create some challenges, but nothing on the scale of what is being seen in Alberta. Still, he says, conditions are dry enough that Manitoba is not able to contribute water bombers and other equipment to Alberta at this time. With the season just starting, about 90 firefighters are ready for duty and more are being trained next week.

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Following the Slave Lake fire, Alberta devised a plan to contain wildfires — but is it working?

Edmonton Journal
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Alberta government is taking the right steps to fight Alberta’s inevitable wildfires, says Tom Burton, one of four experts who led a review panel on the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire. The panel came up with recommendations in 2012 to prevent damage from such infernos. It proposed developing quick-response firefighting specialists, having more widespread fire bans, forest area closures and elevated fines during extreme weather, and also doing more work on fire prevention through the province’s FireSmart committee. The former government took the recommendations “very seriously” and provided more money for prevention, Burton says.

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B.C. battling double the number of wildfires seen last year at this time

Province says crews here must focus on B.C. and can’t be sent to Alberta
CBC News
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

There are 85 wildfires currently burning. Seven of them have been classified by the B.C. Wildfire Service as notable and have prompted several evacuation alerts. Since April 1, there have been 203 wildfires with more than 23,000 hectares burned. “Those numbers are unusually high for this time of year,” provincial fire information officer Kevin Skrepnik said. “We’re [at] nearly twice the number of fires that we’ve responded to for this time of year and in terms of hectares we’re almost 20 times above average for where we would normally be for this time of year.”

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Alberta’s aging forests increase risk of ‘catastrophic fires’: 2012 report

Edmonton Journal
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta’s aging forest puts our communities at ever greater risk of wildfires, said the Alberta government’s expert committee on containing wildfires. In 1971, more than half of Alberta’s boreal forest was deemed to be young, with about a third immature, five per cent mature and a small portion deemed “overmature”. By 2011, that had changed to less than 10 per cent young, about a quarter immature, more than 40 per cent mature, and more than 20 per cent overmature. “Before major wildfire suppression programs, boreal forests historically burned on an average cycle ranging from 50 to 200 years as a result of lightning and human-caused wildfires,” the panel found in a report released in 2012. “Wildfire suppression has significantly reduced the area burned in Alberta’s boreal forest. However, due to reduced wildfire activity, forests of Alberta are aging, which ultimately changes ecosystems and is beginning to increase the risk of large and potentially costly catastrophic wildfires.”

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Fort McMurray’s horrifying experience shows humans can’t stand in nature’s way

By Don Pittis – a forest fire fighter for nearly a decade, studied forestry at Lakehead University before switching to economics and journalism.
CBC News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

In nearly a decade of being paid to fight forest fires, I rarely experienced the intensity of the fire that the people of Fort McMurray witnessed this week. And while I have felt in terror for my life, I have certainly never seen such economic destruction. It’s not because such giant conflagrations are so rare. It’s because firefighters only get that close to the roaring, moving head of a large forest fire when things have gone badly wrong. Canada has thousands of fires every year, but the giant ones seldom come close to communities as big as Fort McMurray. …Firefighters standing in front of the blaze would suffocate as the fire consumes the oxygen and replaces it with smoke. That’s why, despite economic damage, they must be pulled out. 

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Don’t make ‘a political argument out of one particular disaster’: Trudeau refuses to link fire to climate change

By LEE BERTHIAUME
Ottawa Citizen
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned against trying to link the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray to climate change, while pledging that the federal government will do everything possible to help the city and Alberta. …“While the full extent of the damage isn’t yet known, we certainly do know that for those who have been affected, this fire is absolutely devastating,” Trudeau said during a press conference called to talk about his government’s record. “It’s a loss on a scale that is hard for many of us to imagine. …But Trudeau refused to wade into the question of whether climate change was specifically responsible for the wildfires. He said trying to link any specific natural disaster to climate change is not helpful, and the better measure is to identify whether the number and scope of disasters is increasing.

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Alberta Forest Fire Halts Shell Oil-Sands Operation

By CHESTER DAWSON
Wall Street Journal
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

CALGARY, Alberta—Raging forest fires in Canada’s oil-rich province of Alberta forced the evacuation of nearly 80,000 people, devastating the remote town at the hub of the country’s oil-sands industry and threatening to further burden a sector already plagued by low energy prices. Some 76,000 people evacuated from Fort McMurray, 270 miles north of Alberta’s capital Edmonton, to shelters hundreds of miles north and south of the town, officials said, revising an earlier estimate of 88,000. “We had a devastating day yesterday and we’re preparing for a bad day today,” said Darby Allen, the town’s regional fire chief, at a news briefing Wednesday. He said there were no known casualties or injuries. The uncontrolled blaze shut down one major oil-sands mining operation on Wednesday and forced another to curtail production. 

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Les Leyne: B.C. limited in help it can offer Alberta

By Les Leyne
Victoria Times Colonist
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A year ago this month, Alberta needed some firefighting help and B.C. responded by supplying personnel to the maximum extent possible. It’s a different story this time around. With horrific scenes from the Fort McMurray wildfire coursing through all media, there’s a natural neighbourly inclination to help out. But B.C. faces some constraints that limit the usual lending of crews and equipment. Last year in late May, Alberta fires flared up and B.C. announced it was sending 88 personnel and two fixed-wing aircraft to Alberta to help in fire suppression. Two days later, it followed up with another deployment of 41 fire personnel.

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We’re stretched to the limit: wildfires burn in B.C., ravage Fort McMurray

By Amy Smart, Lindsay Kines and Jeff Bell
Victoria Times Colonist
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

British Columbia won’t send significant support to Alberta as it battles massive forest fires in the Fort McMurray area because fires raging within its own borders are tying up resources. On Wednesday afternoon, there were 85 fires burning across B.C., with the majority concentrated in the Peace River region near Fort St. John. Eight new fires started Tuesday, the B.C. Wildfire Service said. Here is a map of fires now in progress. Premier Christy Clark said her government will do everything it can to help Alberta, while focusing attention locally. “Unfortunately, we are so busy with 48 fires now in the Peace in British Columbia that we just really don’t have any more resources that we can assist in Alberta,” she said.

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Fire crews fight to prevent spread of embers as winds expected to move in

By Giuseppe Valiante
Canadian Press in The Chronicle Journal
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jamie Coutts’ harrowing experiences in Alberta five years ago are serving him well as he helps battle wildfires that have devastated entire neighbourhoods in Fort McMurray. The fire chief from Slave Lake, about 250 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, fought so-called “wildland-urban interface” blazes as they ravaged his community in 2011. They start in the bush before spreading into populated areas, requiring a particular approach if they are to be extinguished. Coutts’ 10-person fire crew spent much of Wednesday protecting homes, buildings and other critical infrastructure in Fort McMurray by clearing grass and trees away from houses adjacent to the devastation zone. He said it’s critical to douse charred homes and structures, known as “hot spots,” in order to ensure embers don’t get pushed by the wind into houses initially saved from the flames.

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Wildfire in heart of oilsands country serves as latest climate change flashpoint

By Bruce Cheadle
Canadian Press in the Chronicle Journal
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

OTTAWA – The raging forest fire that’s forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alta., has brought out the worst on social media, with sanctimonious eco-trolls posting incendiary, insensitive and unhelpful barbs describing the conflagration as climate change “karma” for a city that is synonymous with oilsands development. “Karmic #climatechange fire burns CDN oilsands city,” former Alberta NDP candidate Tom Moffatt of Lethbridge posted on Twitter, prompting such a firestorm of criticism that he appears to have deleted the post. “Burn, tarsands, burn!” offered up Quebecker Edouard Dugas. “I hope everyone gets the irony of a massive fire in the heart of big oil country,” posted Jim Ray of Guelph, Ont. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau… was having none of it Wednesday. “It’s well known that one of the consequences of climate change will be a greater prevalence of extreme weather events around the planet,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa.

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Fort McMurray wildfire burning so hot, only weather can stop it

‘Perfect storm’ of factors makes Alberta wildfire a powerful force, but such fires could be ‘the new normal’
CBC News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The raging wildfire that has forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray, Alta., and engulfed parts of the community is the kind of blaze that firefighters dread, but could become more common, according to experts. Alternatively described by officials as “catastrophic,” a “multi-headed monster” and a “dirty, nasty” fire, the blaze is at least 10,000 hectares in area and has destroyed more than 1,600 structures. It could threaten the entire community, they said. The wildfire became so intense Tuesday that the heat limited air operations over the affected areas. More than 150 firefighters are battling it on multiple fronts, with hundreds more from other provinces expected to arrive in the coming days.

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Building a better community: Hot fire safety tips from the Chief

By Gord Schreiner Comox Fire Chief and 2010 Canadian Career Fire Chief of the year.
Comox Valley Record
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

We are expecting another long dry summer and it is very important that we all work together to ensure a fire-safe summer. A small fire can very quickly grow into a very large uncontrollable fire. Here are some very important summer fire safety tips. [List of tips]…I get very nervous this time of year as I know that a small fire can quickly grow out of control. We do not want a major forest fire in our area. We need the public’s help to keep our area safe from fires.

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‘Of course’ Fort McMurray fire linked to climate change, Elizabeth May says

Trudeau, Mulcair focus on support for Alberta, but experts say higher temperatures, drier forests play role
CBC News
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The leader of Canada’s Green Party said Wednesday climate change was partly to blame for the wildfire devastating Fort McMurray, Alta., touching off a debate about whether it was the right time to discuss the causes of the conflagration. “Of course,” Elizabeth May said Wednesday when asked if there was anything about the fire that is linked to global warming. “The temperature records were being smashed through last month for northern Alberta,” she said, while noting that no single event is caused by climate change alone. “It’s due to global emissions. “Scientists will say we know with a destabilized climate, with a higher average global temperature, we will see more frequent, more extreme weather events … due to an erratic climate, due to our addiction to fossil fuels.”

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Military aid at the ready as offers of help pour in for Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees

Hinton Parklander
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Anzac Recreation Centre, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation are now under a mandatory evacuation order. Hundreds of evacuees from Fort McMurray were sent to Anzac on Tuesday after fleeing the city from the wildfire. RCMP officers are going door-to-door and the evacuation is scheduled for 11 p.m. Evacuees are being moved to Lac La Biche, about 280 kilometres south, or even further to Edmonton. Fire crews in Fort McMurray are scrambling to douse three separate fires, one of which is inching closer to the Fort McMurray International Airport. …Premier Rachel Notley is expected to land in Fort McMurray shortly. …There are approximately 250 firefighters battling the wildfire burning in Fort McMurray. Fire has razed more than half of the houses in multiple neighbourhoods, according to an update from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

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Local firefighters to help battle Fort McMurray fires

Thunder Bay News Watch
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Local efforts are being made to help those affected by a devastating wildfire that is ravaging Fort McMurray. A four-member group from Thunder Bay will be among the 119 personnel sent by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on Friday to combat the northern Alberta blaze, which as of Wednesday afternoon is estimated to have consumed more than 1,600 homes and buildings and has grown to more than 10,000 hectares. Estimates indicate at least 53,000 people were evacuated Tuesday out of Fort McMurray, where in one neighbourhood 70 per cent of homes were destroyed.

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Devastating forest fires in Uttarkhand

Daily Pioneer
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

The builder and the timber mafia, which work closely with politicians, bureaucrats and villagers, are to be blamed for the increase in the number of forest fires. Finally, the Uttarakhand forest fires are reportedly close to being extinguished. At the time of writing, the Indian Air Force has deployed two MI-17, and one Dhruv ALH, helicopters, spraying water on the fires. Six thousand people are fighting the blazes. Army personnel and three teams of National Disaster Relief Force have been deployed. …The devastation has been severe. Thousands of animals — snakes, rodents and birds have been killed. Eight humans have died and over 20 have been injured till the time of writing.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Don’t conflate science and scientists

Letter by Brent Erickson,executive vice president of the Industrial and Environmental Section of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
The Washington Post
May 2, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Regarding the April 29 editorial “Burning wood is not the answer to climate change”: Biomass is a renewable energy resource. Congress is appropriately exercising its oversight authority in directing federal agencies to correctly and consistently count carbon emissions from biomass. Forests and trees will not sequester our carbon emissions if we forgo bioenergy and use fossil fuels such as natural gas instead. Fossil fuels provide no incentive to protect forests; it is inappropriate to grant the fossil-fuel industry a free carbon-storage service from existing forests. The United States has relied primarily on fossil fuels; our forests can’t keep pace with carbon emissions.

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University of California mulls sawmill, CHP facility purchase

Biomass Magazine
May 4, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

The University of California is on the verge of purchasing the Sierra Pacific Industries Loyalton, California, mill and associated property, including a 20-MW, combined-heat-and-power (CHP) biomass unit. The mill has a history of shuttering and restarting—in 2009, Sierra Pacific Industries closed the facility amidst contractual disputes with its power purchaser. …Now, the University of California has entered into an escrow to purchase the site and use it as a regional educational facility serving to study wood and forest product technology, biofuels, forest health, biomass energy production and CHP. Sierra County Supervisor Paul Roen confirmed the potential purchase, but added that the transaction was still under negotiation.

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