Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 6, 2016

Business & Politics

Standing Strong at 22 Years

by Rick Jeffery, President & CEO, Coast Forest Products Association
Coast Forest Products Association
May 3, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Coast Forest Products Association has completed its spring annual general meeting marking its 22nd year of representing British Columbia’s coastal forest industry. In 1994, the world was a different place – Jean Chrétien was our prime minister, the North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect, and our industry was buried under the paperwork of the NDP Forest Practices Code. While coastal forestry has redefined itself for over a century, the past two decades have seen rapid change. As a sector, we have adapted to shifts in our society, culture and global economy. The constant in this changing context is that Coast Forest advocates for policies and progress that drive industry success, by applying a fresh, contemporary lens and focusing on benefits for our members, customers, communities and the province. In the upcoming year, Coast Forest will continue to drive the competitiveness agenda.

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Loggers rolling in to town

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

More than $35 million worth of equipment will be on display at the annual Interior Logging Association convention at Kal Tire place this weekend. Hundreds of people within the industry are expected to attend the event that will also feature guest speakers, displays, information booths and other activities. Wayne Lintott, with the Interior Logging Association, said one area the industry is continuing to focus on is safety. “Safety is a big issue with the contracting base,” said Lintott. “We’ve improved on our safety records over the last few years due to the B.C. Forest Safety Council’s participation…to help the guys get better health and safety programs in their businesses.” Lintott said local contractors are keeping busy, although things will slow down over the next few weeks due to spring break up.

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Western Announces First Quarter 2016 Results

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

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA– – Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX:WEF) reported adjusted EBITDA of $35.7 million in the first quarter of 2016, compared to adjusted EBITDA of $29.6 million reported in both the same period last year and the previous quarter. Improved log and lumber pricing, higher lumber production and increased lumber sales volumes delivered a 21% increase in adjusted EBITDA. The Company successfully grew revenue to $269.8 million in the first quarter of 2016, as compared to $248.6 million in the same period last year, and $265.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Strong demand for our specialty lumber products and improving commodity markets delivered higher lumber pricing.

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Premier rallies for new US softwood lumber trade deal

News 1130
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Donald Trump and trade protectionism are in the premier’s crosshairs as she meets with her counterparts from Western Canada. This comes as she tries to rally support for a new softwood lumber deal with the US. Trade protectionism is back in fashion down in the US with Donald Trump in particular talking in more isolationist terms. But Premier Christy Clark wants a new softwood lumber deal and says blocking trade isn’t the answer. “People are talking about building walls. Great American presidents never make their country or the world great because they were talking about building walls — they talked about taking down walls,” says Clark.

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Crews battle fire at Canfor Mill

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

UPDATE – Fire Fighters have successfully extinguished the fire. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Crews from the Fort St. John Fire Department are on the scene of a fire at the Canfor mill. The mill, off of 259 road, has a fire in its chip pile. More details to come.

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Forestry and agrifoods to lead B.C. exports into 2017

Traditional sectors offset impact of energy downturn
BC Business
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Export Development Canada predicts B.C.’s exports will grow by two per cent in 2016 and five per cent in 2017, compared to national export growth of 1.8 per cent in 2016 and 2.4 per cent in 2017. … The province’s strongest growth will be in exports of forestry, agrifood and metals/ores. Forestry, which comprises more than one-third of B.C.’s exports and more than half of Canadian softwood lumber production, is expected to grow by four per cent in 2016, thanks to strong growth in U.S. housing starts. In 2017, exports will increase by seven per cent due to higher prices resulting from reduced supply: by then the mountain pine beetle infestation will have killed off nearly 56 per cent of harvestable timber, according to B.C.’s ministry of forests, with timber supply remaining below historical norms until 2075.

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Fiona Famulak: Innovation deficit threatens construction industry

By Fiona Famulak – president of the Vancouver Regional Construction Association
The Province
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. has emerged as the bright spot in Canada’s economy. …The construction industry is playing a key role in driving this economic activity and job creation. …However, unprecedented economic, demographic and technological pressures are profoundly affecting the construction industry. Costs are escalating. People, raw materials, land, energy and water are not the infinite resources they once were. …Without innovation, we will see valued-added work and jobs lost to other regions and countries and we will see more out-of-market players reaping the rewards. All that being said, our industry has been innovating. B.C. has established itself on the world stage as a leader in green building techniques and wood technology. LEED Canada started in B.C. and we are the first to build Passive House projects. We are also the first to build tall wood structures.

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Western premiers meet, discuss pushing feds to restore disaster funding

By Geordon Omand
The Canadian Press in the Winnipeg Free Press
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – As wildfires burn uncontrollably across northern Alberta, government leaders in Western Canada are meeting to discuss pushing Ottawa to reverse historic funding cuts to disaster-mitigation programs. The catastrophic fires that have forced tens of thousands to flee their homes around Fort McMurray, Alta., have thrust conversations around emergency management to the forefront of the agenda at this week’s annual Western Premiers’ Conference in Vancouver. British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said natural disasters related to climate change, such as floods and fires, have increased in frequency, yet at the same time federal support for disaster mitigation has waned. “The problem is getting worse,” Clark told reporters on Thursday, stressing the importance of preventative action.

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Augusta paper plant will lay off up to 95

The Augusta Chronicle
May 5, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Resolute Forest Products Inc. said Thursday that it will shut down one of the two paper machines at its manufacturing plant in south Richmond County, resulting in up to 95 layoffs and reducing the plant’s capacity by nearly half. The Montreal-based company, the world’s largest maker of newsprint, said in a statement that the move is in response to the “challenging” U.S. market and a stronger dollar. The closure, announced in the company’s first-quarter earnings statement, will result in a $20 million charge. “Long-term market conditions remain challenging for newsprint, particularly for our U.S. mills, which are especially vulnerable in the present U.S. dollar environment,” CEO Richard Gar­neau said in the statement.

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Resolute plants remain competitive

Chronicle Journal
May 6, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Resolute Forest Products says it remains optimistic about its Northwestern Ontario lumber and paper mills, despite recording an overall loss in the first business quarter of this year, and having to permanently close one of its U.S. newsprint machines. In a brief interview Thursday in the wake of the first-quarter results, Resolute president Richard Garneau said the company’s Thunder Bay pulp and newsprint plant and rural operations are well-positioned to remain competitive, even if the Canadian dollar rises. “With what we have done (in terms of equipment upgrades), we will be able to compete, even if the dollar is at par (with the U.S. greenback),” Garneau said from the company’s Montreal headquarters. While the weakness of the loonie — which slid back under 80 cents U.S. this week — has helped Canadian exporters like Resolute, Garneau said companies shouldn’t bank on it.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

The art and science of working in wood

Chronicle Journal
May 5, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

…Bagdon, creator of Port Arthur Woodcraft, embodies the link between art and science. “Everything,” he says, “works in ways that follow the laws of physics.” And when you’re working with wood, a medium that used to be a living, growing, photosynthesizing being, it helps to have some knowledge of the workings of the universe and all things in it. …Bagdon’s scope of knowledge of math and science has informed his work in the woodshop. Whether designing custom cabinetry or creating a one-of-a-kind piece of fine wood furniture, Bagdon explains, “The skills I learned apply directly to the design process.” Of course his ability to see the creative possibilities in a piece of wood is just as integral. The not knowing how the wood is going to change when it’s cut or planed is an exciting part of the process.

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Brain Food: Sound Wave Technology Measures Tree Quality For Market Value

KNAU Arizona Public Radio
May 5, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear, does it make a sound? It definitely makes sound waves, according to wood scientist Dave Auty of Northern Arizona University. Auty uses “acoustic evaluation technology”, or sound wave probes, to determine the stiffness and quality of a tree before it’s harvested. It’s a technique new to northern Arizona forests. Auty says the idea is to send a pulse of sound through the tree to measure the time of flight of the acoustic wave. Simply put, the faster the sound, the stronger the wood.  “For instance, the rolling velocity of this tree is 2.7 kilometers per second”, Auty says. “That’s quite low. so this tells me this tree isn’t very stiff. It will not produce lumber that’s really suitable for high-end structural uses.” This information helps those in the lumber industry determine the value of a stand and whether it will be turned into particle board, wood ships or higher-end building materials. 

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NTU’s new sports hall roof doesn’t need pillars

Straits Times
May 6, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The massive arched roof of Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) new sports hall has taken shape – without a supporting pillar or scaffolding in sight. Instead, the curved surface is formed by beams arching from one end to the other, with the last one hoisted into place yesterday. Unlike conventional buildings, these structural beams are not steel – but specially engineered wood. The seven roof beams are each composed of 36m-long halves of glulam manufactured in Austria and shipped here. …. Besides glulam, the hall also uses cross-laminated timber. It involves sticking layers of timber together at right angles, to produce solid panels. The sports hall is the first building in South-east Asia to use engineered wood on such a large scale.

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Forestry

Why log the watershed?

Letter 
Sunshine Coast Reporter
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

I had to laugh out loud when I read the “ELF has gone too far” letter. Either that or cry. Of course the district should own the land the watershed is in, otherwise our water supply gets contaminated from human activities like logging. It’s true that forest can regenerate, and some logging seems to be inevitable as a resource. However, we’re talking about the community water supply here, and about the alternative in a world of shrinking, clean water resources, already compromised with human and airborne pollution.

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New allowable annual cut set for Kamloops Timber Supply Area

Government of British Columbia
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Effective immediately, the new allowable annual cut (AAC) for the Kamloops Timber Supply Area (TSA) will be 2.3 million cubic metres and decrease to 2.1 million cubic metres, effective May 5, 2021, chief forester Diane Nicholls announced today. This new AAC is a decrease of 1.7 million cubic metres per year from four million cubic metres per year, set in 2008, which included an uplift to account for the salvage of dead pine. However, the average annual harvest over the last few years has been about 2.8 million cubic metres. The Kamloops TSA covers approximately 2.77 million hectares. Dominant tree species include pine, spruce, cedar, hemlock and Douglas-fir.

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A trim or buzz cut? 73 million timber board feet auctioned each year

The Daily Astorian
May 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Each year, the state Department of Forestry’s Astoria District sells 73 million board feet of timber out of nearly 137,000 acres in the Clatsop State Forest, providing $23 million in net revenue, two-thirds of it going to local governments and school districts. The district is planning 12 sales across 2,200 acres of state forestlands in the fiscal year ahead. Public comment on the sales is open through June. With pressures on the state Board of Forestry, the harvest may be in flux. …Next year’s sales call for 1,669 acres of clearcuts — about 0.5 percent of forestland in the district. At the beginning of the Astoria District’s implementation plan in 2001, Williams said, it was only clearcutting 600 acres a year.

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Full disclosure on herbicide use

Letter by Naomi Wagner
Ukiah Daily Journal
May 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Mendocino Redwood Company chooses this management practice because it’s the cheapest way to extract redwood and fir while appearing to comply with mandated ratios. MRC’s hundred-year Habitat Conservation Plan calls for even-age replanting of genetically modified conifers in the dead tanoak stands. Even-age management is strongly associated with tree farms, clearcutting and herbicides. …Toxic smoke from burning forests inundated with chemicals is a major concern of many residents as well as firefighters. MRC foresters minimize, but do not deny this danger, claiming the herbicide is used in such small quantities as to be “insignificant” and is “less prone to be released in the first year when the trees are still green.” Not reassuringly, it follows that toxic residues may persist in decomposing wood for years. MRC has used over 60,000 tons of Imazapyr on its Mendocino County forestlands to date.

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Separate funding needed for fighting wildfires and managing forests

by Patricia Megason, executive vice president of the Rural County Representatives of California
The Sacramento Bee
May 4, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A system needs to be created whereby wildfire disaster response is funded in a way similar to that of other natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods. The Federal Emergency Management Agency pays for response to those types of disasters out of a fund that is separate and apart from the costs of any preventive actions, and separate from any post-disaster cleanup or mitigation of future disasters. Wildfires, however, have never been funded in this two-part way, leading to “fire borrowing,” in which prevention and cleanup funds are swept into funding the response to the disaster rather than used toward prevention. California’s forests serve as a source of clean water, clean air and unsurpassed recreational opportunities for the world’s citizens – not just those living in California’s rural communities – and the harm from catastrophic wildfire is equally widespread.

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Biological reviews don’t stop projects, study says

Arizona Daily Star
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service didn’t stop a single project nationally over a seven-year period ending last year due to an endangered-species review, a recent study found. In that time, out of 6,829 formal reviews, the service only twice found that a project would jeopardize species’ existence and once concluded a project would illegally destroy critical habitat, said the study, written by two Defenders of Wildlife scientists. The study also found that despite numerous allegations by critics that the Endangered Species Act harms economic development, the wildlife service has significantly reduced the number of cases that result in findings of jeopardy or illegal habitat modification in the period this study covered compared to earlier decades.

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Desperate efforts underway to keep the forests of the Sierra from exploding in flames

ABC30.com
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

FRESNO COUNTY — Crews are frantically trying to clear out some of the 29 million dead pine trees that pose the greatest threat to lives and property. …With no way to get to most of the trees the Forest Service and Cal Fire are working together to reduce the fire threat where they can “There is no possible way for us to remove 29 million dead trees, so the key here is prioritizing, statewide, the immediate life hazard issues that we can try to mitigate,” said Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire. Cal Fire and the Forest Service are trying to put the wood to good use. Portable sawmills are being brought in to turn some of it into lumber, but there’s little demand for this kind of wood. Most of the logs will be piled up and left on the ground, some will be turned into wood chips.

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Forest Fires

There will always be fires in the forests, say experts

Canadian Press in The Guardian Charlottetown
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Communities nestled in the beauty of the forest, but then ravaged by wildfires, and prompting questions about what can be done to help protect them. “Fire itself is always going to occur in these forest ecosystems,” said Kelly Johnston, executive director of the Partners In Protection Association, which runs the FireSmart Canada program. “But we try and come up with solutions as far as mitigating the impact of those fires on communities.” FireSmart Canada is a program that aims to help homeowners, industry and communities living at what it calls the “wildland urban interface,” the area where people and forested areas meet. Johnston said communities can do forest management by clearing dead brush, pruning trees and spacing trees farther apart. If there is a fire, those steps could help prevent flames from climbing trees and growing higher into the air, he said.

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BC wildfire crosses border into Alberta

Global News
May 6, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. fire crews are being stretched to the limit as they fight a number of fires in northern B.C. The large Siphon Creek fire, near Fort St. John, has jumped the border into Alberta. The wildfire is currently sitting at 9,000 hectares and is zero per cent contained. The fire crossed into Alberta late Thursday night, pursued by B.C. firefighters. B.C. is leading the fight so Alberta crews can focus on Fort McMurray. The Beatton Airport Road fire has also grown in size after it merged with another fire, the Stoddart Road fire, yesterday. This blaze, now burning about 50 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John, is about 10,000 hectares in size.

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Fleeing Fort McMurray… for Good?

By Mychaylo Prystupa
The Tyee
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Locals speak with pride about ‘resilience’ — tested now like never before. Fort McMurray is empty of people and ablaze, fresh catastrophe hitting the capital of a region reeling from the plummeting price of oil. If the town and its oil sands industry are to recover, it will be because people like Cordell Sacrey maintain their faith in the place and invest their lives in rebuilding its future. Sacrey is an Enbridge tank maintenance technician who migrated to Fort Mac from Newfoundland and put down roots. In a barroom interview in March, Sacrey told The Tyee that Fort McMurrayers like himself were “resilient.” …Some see irony in Canada’s oil sands mecca getting struck by an extreme weather tragedy. “Wildfire rips through Canadian City, Forcing 80,000 to Flee. This is Climate Change.” proclaims a headline on Slate, a widely read U.S.-based political news site. Green leader Elizabeth May was one of Canada’s politicians who went there, saying “of course” the blaze was linked to global warming emissions, though she later retracted.

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Fort McMurray Construction Association details Wood Buffalo wildfire response

Journal of Commerce
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Members of the Fort McMurray Construction Association (FMCA) are working in partnership with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) to help fight a huge wildfire in the city, which could be the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history. “We have been really busy with the coordination of our contractors in the effort to help out with the fires, as well as making sure our membership is taken care of,” said FMCA President Charles Iggulden. “We are helping the municipality make entries into a registry to make sure our membership knows where to go and the municipality knows what resources are available to them. Some of our members are working and helping out with Cats (construction equipment) and water trucks, but I don’t know how many of our members are involved and who they are right now.” The Alberta government has declared state of emergency for the RMWB as a wildfire in Fort McMurray continues to burn out of control.

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‘We got a town to come back to and rebuild’: In Anzac, locals dig deep to help evacuees

By Vincent McDermott
Fort McMurray Today
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Fort McMurray is empty, inhabited only by firefighters and police officers. It’s 88,000 residents are scattered across the province, living in evacuation centres, hotels, cars and with loved ones. As of Wednesday morning,1,600 structures have been destroyed. Almost nothing remains of Beacon Hill, which suffered 80 per cent loss. Abasand has suffered a 75 per cent loss and 50 per cent of Waterways – Fort McMurray’s oldest neighbourhood – is gone. Thirteen trailers in Timberlea have been lost, as have 30 homes in Wood Buffalo. In the morning, the fire was 10,000 hectares in size and efforts to douse the flames have failed. At a press conference from a fire hall on Airport Road in Fort McMurray’s southern half, Mayor Melissa Blake spoke through tears as she reached out to the displaced. “Be the brave people that I know you are,” she said.

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BC not doing enough to stop wildfires: NDP

By Michael Mui
24 Hours Vancouver
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. New Democrats are warning that the provincial government hasn’t spent nearly enough on wildfire prevention — specifically to remove kindling-like underbrush in forests near communities. Surrey-Newton MLA Harry Bains said on Thursday that a government report written after the 2003 Kelowna wildfire had recommended 685,000 hectares of forest be cleaned of underbrush, and that this was followed by a promise from former Liberal premier Gordon Campbell to invest $700 million into the effort. However, only a fraction of the money has been spent. “Twelve years later, when we asked the minister how much of that area is cleaned, he said only about 80,000 hectares — which means out of 685,000 high risk, just a little over 10% of the area has been cleaned,” Bains said.

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Fort McMurray fire now too large, too fierce to stop without rain

National Post
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Three hundred firefighters on the ground and dozens more in the air continue to battle the most destructive wildfire Alberta has experienced in more than a century but, despite their best efforts, officials concede they are no match for the blaze. The flames have consumed swaths of Fort McMurray and chased away most of the city’s residents — more than 80,000 people — in a panic-stricken last-minute mass evacuation that is already leaving emotional scars. What began as a small brush fire outside city limits has grown into a raging inferno, increasing 10 times in size since the evacuation began Tuesday. It’s not known how the blaze started.

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100 people evacuated as firefighters battle forest fire along Manitoba, Ontario border

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

A forest fire is raging along the Manitoba and Ontario border Thursday evening. The fire started north of West Hawk Lake but has since moved east into Ontario. Water bombers and fire crews from Manitoba and Ontario have been battling the blaze. The water bombers have stopped working for the night. Pat Harvey, Fire Management supervisor with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, said the fire was roughly 250 hectares in size as of 7 p.m. CT.

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Wildfires spark evacuation order, state of emergency near Fort St. John

Smoke, flames also prompt travel advisory for Alaska Highway north of Fort St John
CBC News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

An evacuation order has been issued near the Alaska Highway in northeastern British Columbia because of wildfires in the area. The Peace River Regional District says the order is in effect for the Mile 80 area of the Alaska Highway, near Stoddard Road, and the Shepherds Inn area. Anyone in those areas must leave immediately and register at the North Peace Arena reception centre in Fort St John. There are also several evacuation alerts in the area — meaning residents should be prepared to leave on short notice. British Columbia’s Peace River Regional District has declared a state of emergency due to aggressive wildfires near Fort St. John.

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B.C. Wildfire Service recruits sweat it out at boot camp

By Rafferty Baker
CBC News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

About 200 recruits are schooled and drilled before they’re hired and deployed across the province. As wildfire season begins with much more ferocity than usual in Western Canada, a couple hundred young recruits were nearing the end of their rigorous boot camp in Merritt, B.C., on Thursday. In Alberta, a wildfire has devastated Fort McMurray, destroying at least 1,600 structures and in B.C. Fires in the Peace Region have put much more stress on firefighters than usual. …In B.C., the Wildfire Service needs to hire about 200 new people each year to replenish its seasonal crews. According to Skrepnek, about 1,500 people will apply, and 600 will be interviewed. There’s an intense fitness assessment, and about 200 recruits will be invited to the eight-and-a-half day boot camp.

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Expert: Alberta evacuation one of largest in recent memory

Washington Post
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The wildfire raging in the Canadian province of Alberta is driving one of the largest evacuations in North America in recent memory, said Bill Stewart, co-director of the University of California’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach at the University of California, Berkeley. With few exceptions in the United States, an entire town hasn’t been threatened on this scale for over 100 years, he said, noting rather that devastation has struck neighborhoods and smaller communities in California. There is no stopping the advance of a fire such as the wind-driven flames in Alberta, which is spreading embers well beyond fire lines, Stewart said. He said the aggressive fire is also unusual for burning so early in the warm season and so far north.

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Canada evacuating 8,000 by air as wildfire rages

Associated Press in the Boston Globe
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta — Canadian officials will start moving thousands of people from work camps north of devastated Fort McMurray in a mass highway convoy Friday morning if it is safe from a massive wildfire raging in Alberta. Officials airlifted 8,000 people on Thursday and will continue the airlift Friday, while a mass migration of cars will move south in the morning. The Alberta provincial government, which declared a state of emergency, said more than 1,100 firefighters, 145 helicopters, 138 pieces of heavy equipment and 22 air tankers were fighting the fire, but Chad Morrison, Alberta’s manager of wildfire prevention, said rain is needed. ‘‘Let me be clear: air tankers are not going to stop this fire,’’ he said. ‘‘It is going to continue to push through these dry conditions until we actually get some significant rain.’’

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Fire at lumber mill near High Level contained, evacuation order to lift at noon

Fire started at Norbord’s mill yard and ‘quickly spread to the log storage area’
CBC News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A fire at a lumber mill near High Level, Alta,. that started Wednesday afternoon is now contained, and an evacuation order was lifted at noon today. …The fire broke out at Norbord’s Oriented Stranded Board mill yard, according to a news release today from the company. “As a result of the hot, dry, windy weather conditions in northern Alberta, [it] quickly spread to the log storage area outside the plant,” the release says. The company says it immediately suspended production at the mill. “Fire crews, including helicopters, have been on site since yesterday afternoon and the fire is currently contained to the log storage area outside.” All non-essential mill employees were evacuated from the site, and the company says no one was hurt. It’s assessing the damage to the mill and how the fire will impact its operations.

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Fire threat highest in Rocky Mountain Front, Billings area

Helena Independent Record
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Wildfire forecasters predict an average fire season in Montana, although the Billings area and Rocky Mountain Front face more severe predictions for wildfire potential. Montana’s wildfire season is already underway, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation fire and aviation management Bureau Chief Mike DeGrosky told a legislative interim committee on Wednesday. DNRC responded to fires as early as February, he told the Environmental Quality Council, with most ignitions occurring in the south central part of the state. Fire protection responsibility is divided across the state among federal, state and local or county districts. A local volunteer fire department may have initial attack duties, but routinely agencies work across jurisdictional boundaries with agency assists.

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Montana, feds come to agreement on use of firefighting helicopters

Billings Gazette
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

HELENA — Montana and federal officials have made a deal that will allow the state’s five firefighting helicopters to respond to some blazes on federal lands, after they were barred from doing so last year as fires raging across the West led to equipment shortages. The agreement allows the retrofitted Vietnam-era helicopters to be used when lives are at risk or when the governor declares a state of emergency, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation spokesman John Grassy said Thursday. Additional details about the deal, which was finalized this week, will be released during Gov. Steve Bullock’s fire briefing in Butte Friday.

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India fires: Rainfall douses deadly blazes in Uttarakhand

BBC News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Rain in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has extinguished forest fires which killed at least six people and destroyed more than 1,900 hectares of woodland, officials say. Fires in the state have persisted over the last four weeks despite the efforts of the army and air force. But heavy showers over the last 48 hours have put nearly all of them out. From mid-February, Uttarakhand has witnessed nearly 1,800 forest fires as temperatures soared across the country. The Uttarakhand Department of Disaster Management said on Thursday that all fires had been extinguished in hill forestry areas of the state and there were now no fires in any of the state’s 13 districts.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub Form Partnership with Natural Resources Canada

USDA Blog
May 5, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

Because each country shares a similar set of values and challenges related to climate impacts on forests and agricultural lands, the USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub is actively working with Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Forest Service to share scientific and technical expertise pertaining to climate change adaptation, resources and tools. The purpose of this work is to build meaningful connections and partnerships that will aid natural resource professionals to make climate-informed decisions in their management and planning activities regardless of which nation they work in. …Nationally, the USDA Climate Hubs could be a platform for science delivery between both countries, sharing not only resources created in the U.S. but also Canadian approaches to climate adaptation planning and implementation strategies.

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Airline Watchdog Said to Weigh 2 Forest Credits for Offsets

Bloomberg
May 5, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The International Civil Aviation Organization is considering new rules that would require airlines to buy two forest-protection emission credits for each metric ton of carbon dioxide, double the typical amount, amid concern over the permits’ environmental credibility, according to two people with direct knowledge of negotiations. As the United Nations-overseen regulator builds the first global emissions market for the industry from 2020, it wants to include forest-protection credits to get a wide range of supply. It’s also accounting for the fact that some see the offsets as less rigorous than other types of credits, said the people, who asked not to be identified because some of the discussions are private. Emission credits can be created from existing forests that might otherwise have been logged. 

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