Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 18, 2016

Special Feature

Unique Pro-D experience for southern BC teachers—FREE forestry tour

Festival of Forestry
May 18, 2016
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Festival of Forestry tours take teachers to rural and resource-based communities throughout BC. Our three-day tours provide teachers of all levels and subject areas with curriculum-focused, hands-on teaching ideas. There will be opportunities to talk with various resource experts and professionals along the way, including biologists, foresters, government officials, First Nations representatives and others. You don’t have to go far from Vancouver to find a forest—so this year we have decided to host a tour in our own backyard. From Maple Ridge, through Vancouver and up the valley to Squamish, participants will explore forestry from the seedling, through stand management, all the way to manufacturing. Visit a nursery where BC’s next generation of forests are being nurtured, tour a high-end cedar mill to see the automated and robotic nature of processing. Then travel to Squamish where professional foresters will show you forest management, active harvesting, silviculture, and more. 

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Business & Politics

Fire scorches lumber yard

Castanet Kelowna
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Fire crews appear to have the blaze at Mardan Lumber Sales under control, while continuing to douse a large smoldering sawdust pile. A charred piece of heavy machinery is on its side in the yard, and there are several pieces of burned lumber scattered nearby. Three fire trucks are on scene, mopping up the remnants of the blaze. A fire has quickly spread through Mardan Lumber Sales on Highway 97 in the Spallumcheen area. The blaze broke out just before 1 p.m., but quickly grew due to winds in the area. A witness at the scene said the fire had reached a sawdust pile and there are concerns of it jumping into nearby forested areas. The Okanagan Indian Band Volunteer Fire Department is on scene, along with Emergency Health Services.

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Fire then explosion shuts down Houston pellet plant

Prince George Citizen
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.’s Houston pellet plant was the scene of an explosion Monday as crews were dealing with an offshoot of a fire that broke out in the operation over the weekend. Pinnacle chief operating officer Leroy Reitsma said a fire broke out on Saturday night in one of the systems used to make the pellets. That fire was extinguished but a smolder had blown into an adjacent silo, posing the possibility for a “deflagration” – an explosion that travels slower than the speed of sound – as a crew worked to removed fibre from that section. …WorkSafeBC spokesman Scott McCloy said the agency had an officer on the scene on Tuesday but no decisions have yet been made on whether any compliance orders or other regulatory actions will be pursued. “At this time, we are not contemplating an investigation but that could change depending on what the officer finds,” McCloy said.

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Alberta forest industry rebounds on demand, prices and the dollar

After some tough years, the stars are aligning for Alberta’s third largest industry
CBC News
May 18, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Blame the low Canadian dollar, or the tumbling price of oil, or the American housing recovery. Whichever the culprit — or whichever combination of all three — the Alberta forestry industry is happy. Alberta’s third largest industry was hit hard by the 2008 recession, clawed its way back and then was hit with a price drop last year. Now, the stars are aligning, with the price of spruce, pine and fir starting to rebound. “It’s really been a long haul. We had some really down years. And some really tough years. Here, we dropped to a single shift,” said Ed Kulcsar, woodlands manager at Spray Lake Sawmills in Cochrane. “And now we’re back to a double shift operation. And like I said, things are looking optimistic for the future.” …Brock Mulligan with the Alberta Forest Products Association said a lot of that positive change can be linked to the housing market in the U.S., which hasn’t hit historic highs, but is rising from its once-calamitous lows.

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McQUARRIE — Forestry jobs being squandered

Forestry jobs could be increased by thousands.
New Kamloops
May 18, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…That being said, let’s look at how politicians and some pundits are hiding or at best ignoring the truth about B.C.’s abysmal record when it comes to resource jobs, especially in the forestry sector. …n Ontario, 292 cubic metres of harvested wood are needed to create one full-time forestry related job. In B.C., a full-time forestry job needs 1,300 cubic metres. In other words, it requires nearly 4.5 times more wood to create a B.C. job then it does in Ontario and it gets worse. Some may say that is a direct result of our productivity and we’re simply far more efficient than Ontario but that may simply be a myth. In 2012, Ontario added about $840 to their economy for every cubic metre cut. In B.C. that cubic meter added just $235 to our economy or less than a third of what Ontario was able to generate. So much for the efficiencies argument.

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2016 Canfor Contractor Awards

Don Kayne’s Blog – Canfor
May 10, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor works with many exceptional contractors across our operations as part of our day to day business. This includes forestry contractors which harvest timber for us on our tenures in BC and Alberta and undertake challenging and extremely important work for us, delivering the fibre to supply our western Canadian operations. These companies play a vital role in our company’s success which is why I greatly value the opportunity to thank and recognize excellence in their performance with the annual Canfor Contractor Awards. 

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FPInnovations and Bioénergie La Tuque enter into a collaborative agreement

FPInnovations Press Release
May 18, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

La Tuque (Quebec) – FPInnovations and Bioénergie La Tuque (BELT) are proud to announce the signing of a collaborative agreement, the main purpose of which is to lead to the installation of a biorefinery facility supplied with forest residues. This announcement was made today in the presence of Mr. Pierre Lapointe, President and Chief Executive Officer of FPInnovations; Mr. Patrice J. Mangin, general manager of BELT and holder of a regional bioeconomy/bioenergy chair from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR); Mrs. Julie Boulet, Minister responsible for the Mauricie region and Minister of Tourism; and Mr. Normand Beaudoin, mayor of La Tuque.

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Kenora sawmill adds new planer shift

Fort Frances Times
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

After resuming rough lumber production in early February, Kenora Forest Products (KFP) continues to expand finishing operations with the start of the first shift in its new planer mill today. “There are now almost 70 Unifor members working at the mill,” noted Unifor national representative Stephen Boon. “And the workforce will continue to grow to about 110 unionized employees over the summer as the mill transitions to full production with another sawmill and planer shift,” he added. As part of the 2014 re-start negotiations, Unifor and KFP formally committed to ensuring local aboriginal members shared in the economic benefits and good-paying jobs associated with a re-opened sawmill in Kenora.

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Kenora Forest Products Continues To Grow

CKDR
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Kenora Forest Products Mill is one step closer to full production as Unifor says the first shift in the new planer mill started Monday. Local National representative Stephen Boon says there are now almost 70 unionized members working at the mill and that number will grow to about 110 over the summer with another sawmill and planer shift. Boon notes over 50% of the mill’s current workforce is now comprised of local Metis and First Nations members. He adds Kenora Forest Products will become one of the highest paying sawmills in Eastern Canada with toptrades’ wages increasing by nearly 59% to roughly $42 per hour by the final year of the current six year contract.

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Revenue Update on Boise Cascade Co

Trade Calls
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Boise Cascade Co (NYSE:BCC) announced the earnings results for Fiscal Year 2016 and Q1. The results came in during Pre-market on May 3, 2016. Company reported revenue of $880.70M. Analysts estimated a revenue of $830.22M. Earnings per share were $0.19. Analysts had estimated an EPS of $0.06. In a different note, On Feb 19, 2016, BMO Capital said it Upgrades its rating on Boise Cascade Co. The shares have been rated ‘Outperform’ by the firm. Boise Cascade Co (BCC) made into the market gainers list on Mondays trading session with the shares advancing 1.09% or 0.24 points. Due to strong positive momentum, the stock ended at $22.24, which is also near the day’s high of $22.45. 

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Korbel Mill Sold

North Coast Journal
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The Korbel Mill, which has been for sale for almost two years and closed down last February, recently sold to the Trinity River Timber Company. Green Diamond Resource Company, which owned the sawmill, announced the sale — which includes the fixed mill assets, a lease of the property and associated log and lumber yards and a log supply agreement with Green Diamond timberlands — in a press release today. The mill shut down on Feb. 5, 2015 after operating off and on since 1884, putting more than 100 employees out of work. It had been in decline for years thanks to a drop in the housing market and wrong moves regarding redwood sales and distribution by Green Diamond subsidiary the California Redwood Co., Senior Vice President Neal Ewald told the Journal in 2015.

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Idaho Forest Group to buy assets of closed sawmill

The Spokesman Review
May 16, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Idaho Forest Group will purchase the assets of a closed sawmill in Kamiah, Idaho, officials announced Monday. The company doesn’t have immediate plans to reopen the mill owned by Blue North Forest Products Inc., but will acquire equipment and timber sale contracts through the purchase. The sale is expected to close this month. The purchase price was not disclosed. To keep the mill running, Blue North Forest Products would have needed a capital infusion and more timber under contract to expand to a second shift, said Bill Mulligan, Blue North’s operating manager.  The mill’s economic situation was also influenced by imports of Canadian lumber and a strong U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. products more expensive to foreign buyers, Mulligan said.

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Johnson Brothers Lumber Expands Business

By Sharon Driscoll
Madison County Courier
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, June 03, 2016 to celebrate the completion of Johnson Brothers Lumber’s five new drying kilns located at the Buyea Road landfill site in Lincoln. Johnson Brothers is using the excess heat from the Gas-to-Energy plant at the main landfill to dry their lumber. They are the first company to take advantage of the excess heat produced by the Gas-to-Energy facility owned and operated by Waste Management Inc. The kilns at JBL’s Cazenovia facility are heated with a waste wood burning boiler.

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NewTechWood signs distribution agreement with American Lumber to handle Northeastern region of the US

Lesprom
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

NewTechWood, Ltd. partners with American Lumber Company Inc. for distribution of it’s rapidly growing brand of composite building materials, NewTechWood announced. American Lumber has been based out of Walden, New York since 1918. “We’re very excited to partner with American Lumber Company for the distribution of our composite building materials in the Northeastern US,” comments Joel Cone a spokesperson for NewTechWood. “They have a long standing presence and great reputation throughout the Northeast and we know they’ll do great things for our brand.” UltraShield Naturale composite decking and building materials is a rapidly growing brand of capped composite decking, cladding and fencing materials that feature a unique embossing treatment, and natural looking color variations consumers are finding highly desirable.

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Linden Lumber closes hardwood flooring division

West Alabama Watchman
May 17, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Linden Lumber, LLC is closing its hardwood flooring division effective today, May 17. As a result, its work force will be reduced by 37 employees. “This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, but we believe it is the right decision given the ongoing depressed state of the solid flooring industry. Any time business decisions such as this negatively impact employees, it is very emotionally difficult for everyone,” says Hugh Overmyer, Linden Lumber’s president. The solid flooring market across the United States has been in a slump for the past year, and Linden Lumbers’ flooring sales have been no different. Nationwide, solid wood flooring mills have struggled on and off the last few years dealing with volatile price swings, while engineered flooring mills seem to be quite healthy and growing at a robust pace.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Housing starts in Calgary will dip for 2nd straight year, CMHC predicts

CBC News
May 18, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Housing starts in Calgary will decline for the second year in a row, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation predicts in its spring market outlook. Total housing starts in the Calgary Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) will drop from just over 13,000 last year to range from 8,400 to 9,400 units this year and next, the report says. “Reduced investments and layoffs in the energy industry due to low oil prices have spread and have impacted labour market conditions across many different industries,” said Richard Cho, CMHC’s head of market analysis for Calgary.

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Forestry

BC Mountain Town Revelstoke Fights to Save Recreational Area

SaveMacpherson.org seeks to halt logging operations scheduled for June 2016
PR Newswire
May 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

REVELSTOKE, British Columbia,  — Supporters are encouraged to visit http://savemacpherson.org/ and sign the petition at Change.org to advocate for more inclusive land use policy. There will be a public rally held May 21, 2:00pm at the Mt. Macpherson Nordic Lodge parking lot. Local citizens have created SaveMacpherson.org in response to British Columbia Timber Sales’ (BCTS) logging which is scheduled to occur between June 6, 2016 and Oct. 31, 2016. The goal is to convince BCTS to suspend all logging activities affecting Mt. Macpherson until a publicly acceptable solution is found. Columbia River–Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald stated his views on planned logging in the Mount Macpherson recreation area in a May 10 media release.

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National Park Service marks 100 years of preserving natural treasures

By Marylou Tousignant
Washington Post
May 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Ready to blow out some candles? The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this summer! Special events are planned from coast to coast and overseas. There’s sure to be something near you. That’s because the park system oversees more than 400 sites, including battlefields, monuments, historical parks, lakeshores and seashores, scenic rivers — even the White House! Fifty-nine of those sites are actual national parks, including the granddaddy of them all: Yellowstone. People have been coming to this natural wonder of gushing geysers and wild animals for more than 11,000 years, and it’s where the story of the National Park Service begins.

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Averting Disaster

Payson Roundup
May 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

So, here’s the good news. The Forest Service has a plan to keep Rim Country from burning down to ash and mudslides. Here’s the bad news. The massive environmental impact statement necessary to award thinning contracts on 1.4 million acres won’t be done until 2020. Even then, it might take years for a timber company to actually get around to thinning the tree thickets. In the meantime, preliminary studies have documented the soaring risk of a devastating crown fire on virtually every forested acre in Rim Country — including the watershed of the C.C. Cragin Reservoir on which Payson’s economic future depends.

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Idaho officials in the market for timberland, farmland

The Idaho Land Board voted Tuesday to get back to its roots of managing timberland and agricultural land.
Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
May 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Land Board voted Tuesday to get back to its roots of managing timberland and agricultural land. The unanimous vote by the five-member board to adopt a new strategic reinvestment plan calls for using money from the sale of commercial real estate and residential cottage sites to buy resource-producing lands. Specifically, the vote authorizes the Idaho Department of Lands to start a pipeline of potential purchases with what is expected to be $160 million. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said during the meeting he’d like to see the state use the money to buy 100,000 acres of timberland to push the state timberland total to a million acres. “In the forest, that’s what we’re good at and that’s where we make our money,” Otter said after the meeting. “Stick with what we know.”

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Forest Service Seeking Public Input on Whitefish Fuels Reduction Project

Timber harvest, prescribed burning proposed in watershed near Whitefish Mountain Resort due to fire danger
Flathead Beacon
May 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking public input on a strategy to thin a dense section of forested land east of Whitefish Mountain Resort, where wildfire concerns have driven a collaborative effort to reduce fuels in a watershed that includes the city’s primary drinking source. The proposal, called the Whitefish Municipal Fuels Reduction Project, would include thinning, prescribed burning and commercial timber harvest. The project is located in the wildland-urban interface approximately four miles northeast of Whitefish, within the municipal watershed that is the primary source of water for city residents.

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Budding foresters test their knowledge among the trees

Bonner County Daily Bee
May 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West


CAREYWOOD — Forestry, history, fresh air, students and a barbecue lunch came together on Thursday at the 34th annual Idaho State Forestry Contest at the Delay Tree Farm. Students traveled to Careywood from throughout the state to participate in the outdoor event organized by 185 volunteers from the forestry profession, state agencies, businesses and local residents. Participants competed in 10 resource management and forestry categories at the event, including log scaling, timber cruising, tree and plant identification, tree health, silviculture, map reading, compass and pacing, tool identification, soils and water quality and noxious weeds. Novices in first through sixth grades listened to experts at several stations to learn about forest management basics before taking their tests.

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Last stand for Europe’s remaining ancient forest as loggers prepare to move in

The Guardian
May 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Europe’s last primeval forest is facing what campaigners call its last stand as loggers prepare to start clear-cutting trees, following the dismissal of dozens of scientists and conservation experts opposed to the plan. …But a recently-passed logging law to allow work to begin on the old-growth forest has divided families, and led to death threats against campaigners and allegations of an “environmental coup” by state interests linked to the timber trade. The logging in Bia?owie?a is expected to raise about 700m z?otys (£124m), and pave the way for extensive and more lucrative tree clearances. Sources say that internal government discussions have already begun on extending the new timber regime to the national park, which covers 17% of the forest and has been untouched by humans since the ice age.

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Environmental groups demand end to logging of Australia’s native forests

The Guardian
May 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

More than 30 environmental groups have signed a statement demanding that agreements allowing the logging of Australian native forests not be renewed. Australia’s 10 regional forestry agreements (RFAs) were signed between 1997 and 2001, each running for 20 years, with the first two expiring in 2017. The agreements between state and federal governments mean proposals to log in designated native forests aren’t required to be approved through the usual federal process, under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC). …But a damning 50-page report produced last week by the National Parks Association of NSW concluded the agreements failed in all their aims, with the logging of native forests they facilitated resulting in an increase in threatened species.

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Government welcomes M?ori forestry collective announcement

New Zealand Scoop
May 17, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) welcomed the announcement of Te Taitokerau Maori Forestry Collective Incorporated’s Action Plan to 2020 launched today at the He Kai Kei Aku Ringa (HKKAR) Regional Hui in Kerikeri. The Collective is made up of 10 M?ori land entities, and together they plan to replant more than 32,000 hectares of their land in forest – an initiative that offers business, education and employment opportunities. The Action Plan to 2020 will pave the way for the Collective’s future. Ben Dalton, Deputy Director General at the Ministry for Primary Industries, is pleased with the significant progress the Collective has made.

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Applications to plant 17,000ac of forestry received in last 8 months

Agriland
May 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Since opening for applications for financial approval under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme in mid-September 2015, applications have been received in respect of over 7,000ha (17,000ha) of land. This is approximately equivalent to the same period in 2014/15 latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show. However, the Department figures also show that technical afforestation approvals from January 1 to end April 2016 at 4,483ha is down from 5,135ha for the equivalent period in 2015. The new Programme for Government agreed between Fine Gael and a host of independents targets an increase in planting each year over the lifetime of the programme, commencing with 6,000ha of new forests in year one, increasing to 8,290 ha in 2020.

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North Coast forests over-logged under failed scheme

Ballina Shire Advocate
May 18, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

NATIVE forests on the North Coast are being logged faster than they can grow back under well-intentioned but ineffective regional forest agreements. National Parks Association of NSW science officer Dr Oisin Sweeney said the agreements between the Commonwealth and state governments to allow logging in native forests had been abject failures. There are 10 deals currently active in Australia, with agreements in East Gippsland and Tasmania the first to expire from next year. NPANSW assessed each one, finding the north-east NSW region’s agreement had vastly overestimated native forests’ ability to regrow after logging. “Since 2007, actual yields of large sawlogs and veneer have been lower than wood supply commitments in the North East RFA region and yields have been on a downward trajectory -despite adjustments of supply commitments,” the report stated.

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Forest Fires

Businesses grapple with growing risks from wildfires

Globe and Mail
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.’s timber rights through a large swath of northeastern Alberta are being ravaged by fire, and the size and intensity of this spring’s blaze comes as no surprise to its woodlands manger, Cal Dakin. The combined impact of drought, climate change and modern forest-management practices has left the western boreal forest extremely vulnerable to the type of massive fire that forced the recent evacuation of Fort McMurray and the temporary halt to oil sands operations in the area. Wildfires will strike with increased severity and volatility in the coming decades, according to forecasts from government and scientists – and industries such as forestry, oil and gas extraction, and insurance are all wrestling with how to manage this risk.

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“Fort Mac was a wakeup call”

Mayor Greg Dionne urges the creation of a high-level committee to address Nisbet Forest risks
Prince Albert Daily Herald
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Fort McMurray fire should be seen as a wakeup call for Prince Albert, Mayor Greg Dionne said, pointing to our Nisbet Forest as a disaster waiting to happen. “We’ve known for years that our Nisbet forest is going to blow up any day,” Dionne said during Monday’s city council meeting. The Nisbet Forest’s risks have been well documented in the Daily Herald archives. One fire in particular prompted the Ministry of Environment’s Wildfire Management Branch to draft a study in 2011 on lessons learned. The blaze in question started at a private residence on May 17, 2010, just north of Prince Albert. Traveling at a rate of 22 metres per second, the fire spread to about 15 hectares in size within about a half-hour.

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Wildfire resiliency built into oilsands projects, experts say

By Lauren Krugel
Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

CALGARY – Wildfires that ravaged some neighbourhoods in Fort McMurray and forced 80,000 to flee the city two weeks ago are now chewing through the wilderness further north, where major oilsands projects are located. A 665-unit work lodge has burned down and two more are under threat. But experts and officials say they aren’t expecting serious harm to the oil-producing facilities themselves. Here’s why: There’s a built-in buffer zone: Oilsands projects — whether they involve scooping the ore out of a mine or melting it underground with steam — are built in such a way that there’s a lot of empty space between facilities and forest. Unlike in residential neighbourhoods where there are a lot of trees and wooden buildings, there’s little in the way of fuel at the industrial sites to feed the ravenous flames.

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Fire risks cause Island Timberlands to close gates near Port Alberni

By Karly Blats
Alberni Valley News
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Island Timberlands will be closing some of their gates for the May long weekend to manage the risk of fires due to recent warm, dry weather. And the decision is not sitting well with Alberni Valley residents who have spent many years camping in the local backcountry. Long-time camper and Port Alberni resident, Tim Sherwood, is upset with Island Timberlands’ gate closures as he will not be able to continue a traditional Elsie Lake camping trip this year. …Island Timberlands does have access agreements in place for people to access Crown land through Island Timberlands property but even under those agreements, Makenzie Leine said the company still has the ability to restrict access if there’s a safety concern or fire risks.

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Notley blames climate change for Fort Mac wildfire, NDP’s bad forest management more likely culprit

The Rebel
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Notley told reporters in a press conference Tuesday that as part of her plan to save us from climate change, she is working on the Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review Recommendations. That review was done in 2012 after the Slave Lake fire claimed a third of that Boreal forest town. In the NDP’s spring budget there was a $5.3 million direct cut to forest fire preparation, prevention and mitigation. Cutting the programs that do the work specifically mentioned in the Flat Top Complex Report doesn’t seem like Notley was working through the recommendations. Oh. And another thing: fires aren’t climate change. They are the result of fire suppression and bad forest management.

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Why costly forest fires come back to terrorize us some more: Don Pittis

Threat to oil operations adding millions to cost of relentless Fort McMurray blaze
CBC News
May 18, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The latest evacuation of Alberta oilsands operations has added millions of dollars to the billions in damage already caused by the single Fort McMurray fire that only a few days ago was so calm it had begun to fade from the headlines. …The cost and scale of battling a giant forest fire is often compared to fighting a war. Thousands of men and women must enter the fray. Despite being many kilometres from civilization, the workers must be housed — often in tents — and fed. Despite a lack of roads, they need transportation, sometimes expensive helicopters. And as they get closer to the fire, they must carry everything they need on their backs….As we saw this week, a fire’s battle plan is never static. Changing winds, falling humidity and rising temperatures can turn a fire that looks like a dozing pussycat into a rampaging dragon.

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Fort McMurray fire sweeps east through northern oilsands sites

Fire destroys lodge for workers north of the city
CBC News
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Fort McMurray wildfire has destroyed one of the oilsands camps north of the city and is roaring eastward toward others in its path. In a news conference Tuesday morning, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley confirmed fire had destroyed all 665 units at Blacksand Executive Lodge, which provided temporary housing for workers in oil facilities nearby. CBC News obtained photos of the fire engulfing the facility around 6 a.m. MT Tuesday. Around 2 p.m. Tuesday, CBC News obtained more photos that appeared to depict flames at the edge of Noralta Lodge, a large oilsands camp a few kilometres east of Blacksand.

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Fort McMurray fire expected to reach Saskatchewan today

Government of Saskatchewan expands open fire ban in high risk zone
CBC News
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

With the Fort McMurray fire about to cross into the border into Saskatchewan, the wildfire risk continues to escalate across the province. “We expect the eastern front of this fire to reach the Saskatchewan border likely today with the western winds, but it is a dynamic situation,” Alberta’s senior wildfire manager Chad Morrison told reporters Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan government is expanding the ban on open fires to some new areas. The original ban on open fires issued May 10 for the west side of the Crown land forest remains in place, but now it has been expanded to include Lac La Ronge Provincial Park and all Crown forest north of the Churchill River.

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Alberta reviews Fort McMurray wildfire re-entry plan as flames spread north

By Otiena Ellwand
Canadian Press in Edmonton Journal
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Alberta government is taking a second look at its plan to allow people to return home to Fort McMurray after an explosion damaged some homes in the city and the raging wildfire spread north toward oilsands plants. Premier Rachel Notley confirmed Tuesday that a camp facility north of Fort McMurray was destroyed by wildfire, and 10 residences in the city were damaged following an explosion and fire Monday night. “The Government of Alberta has been discussing a re-entry plan with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo,” Notley said. “Obviously, yesterday’s events have caused us to take a second look at those plans. Safety will be and must be our first and principle priority.

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Wildfire officials brace for expected severe season in some areas

Mail Tribune
May 17, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The nation’s primary wildfire firefighters are getting ready for the 2016 season, which is expected to be worse than average in Hawaii, Alaska and the Southwest. U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will meet with regional forest officials today to discuss plans and preparations. The Forest Service is part of the Agriculture Department. Last year, wildfires burned a record 15,800 square miles nationwide. Seven Forest Service firefighters died. Forecasters said earlier this month the potential for significant fires this season will be average or below-average in most of the nation, but dry conditions could make thing worse in some regions. The Forest Service spent more than $1.7 billion on firefighting last summer. Officials say fires are eating up a growing share of the agency’s overall budget. END OF STORY

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Wood Pellet Association of Canada announces leadership change

Biomass Magazine
May 17, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Effective May 12, Michele Rebiere has resigned as president of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada. Rebiere expressed the need to focus on her role as chief financial officer of Viridis Energy as the company pursues the sale of its business. WPAC’s board is grateful for MsRebiere’s five years of dedicated service as a board member and for her extraordinary effort over the past year as president. In accordance with WPAC’s bylaws, the board has appointed former vice president Rene Landry as president. He has assumed this role until the next general meeting of the membership is held in September.

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Lack of action on climate change concerns premier’s own advisors

Canadian Press in CBC News
May 17, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

Members of a panel advising the British Columbia government on climate change say they’re concerned that the province has not moved forward on recommendations for meeting climate goals. Seven people on the climate change leadership team have signed an open letter to Premier Christy Clark, saying the province is in “no position to delay or scale back efforts.” The letter, signed by Matt Horne from the Pembina Institute and Merran Smith from Clean Energy Canada, says carbon pollution in B.C. is increasing, and instead of being a leader on climate change, the province is adding to the problem.

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Time to reclaim B.C.’s climate leadership

Pembina Institute
May 17, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER / COAST SALISH TERRITORY — Seven members of Premier Christy Clark’s Climate Leadership Team are voicing concern that the B.C. government has still not released a new Climate Leadership Plan that is needed if B.C. is to meet its legislated climate targets. A year ago, the government committed to releasing a draft plan in December 2015 and the final plan this past March. One year after their appointment to the blue-ribbon panel, a group of First Nations chiefs, university professors, and civil society leaders released today an open letter urging the premier to put forth a climate plan that will see B.C. reclaim its climate leadership.

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