Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 24, 2016

Business & Politics

On softwood trade deal, getting agreement in Canada is the tough first step

by Peter O’Neil
Vancouver Sun
May 20, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Ottawa — Simmering tensions between B.C. and Quebec, and between large and small Canadian lumber producers, will frame formal Canada-U. S. negotiations to take place here next week. The internal conflict adds to the challenge facing the Trudeau government as it tries to put together a unified approach against an adversary that has often tried to exploit divisions in Canada forestry sector. …The B.C. government and the major West Coast producers — B.C. is responsible for roughly $12 billion of the $20 billion in wealth generated annually by Canadian forestry firms — are pushing for a negotiated settlement along the lines of the 2006 agreement. But Quebec’s largest company is suggesting it wants to wage a legal fight to obtain true free trade if a negotiated settlement doesn’t recognize Quebec’s effort to demonstrate that its industry isn’t subsidized.

Read More

U.S., Canadian Officials to Meet on Softwood Lumber

Bloomberg BNA
May 20, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Reaching agreement to avoid a new softwood lumber dispute later in 2016 will top the agenda for Canadian and U.S. officials meeting in Ottawa next week, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said May 20. Freeland told parliamentarians that she met separately, during the week of May 16, with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and British Columbia Premier Christy Clark on the issue, and that the bilateral officials’ meeting will carry forward the process of reaching a new deal. “I am pleased to report to this House [of Commons] that a U.S. negotiating team on softwood lumber is coming to Ottawa next week to continue our negotiations,” she said in response to questions from opposition politicians. She was responding to accusations by British Columbia Member of Parliament Todd Doherty, a member of the opposition Conservative Party, that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is falling behind on its commitment to forge a new softwood agreement.

Read More

Late-night mill fire prompts impressive regional effort from three fire departments

Castlegar Source
May 20, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A late-night fire at Kalesnikoff Lumber Thursday served to underline the importance of mutual-aid agreements between fire departments in our region, according to Tarrys Fire Chief Greg Patterson. Patterson said they got a call at 11 p.m. from Trail fire dispatch reporting a structure fire at Kalesnikoff Lumber (just off Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson). “It was a fire in the barker mill area (where they scale the bark off the logs),” Patterson said, explaining it was apparently a cutting torch that ignited nearby combustibles. “The Kalesnikoff fire brigade team initiated the initial attack on the fire, and probably saved the mill, because it (the fire) didn’t get going that fast.” Fire crews – 10 members from Crescent Valley FD, seven from Ootischenia FD and nine from Tarrys FD – took over the effort and were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, he said.

Read More

USA softwood lumber imports rose by 43%

EUWID
May 23, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

On account of a considerable rise in imports from Canada, USA imports of softwood lumber increased by 43% over the course of the first three months by comparison with the preceding year to 10.51m m³. Imports from Canada, at a total volume of 10.04m m³, also increased by 43%. The value of imports from Canada, however, only increased by 11%. Imports from Europe also increased, at +16% to 126,285m³. Whilst imports from Austria (-22%) and Latvia (-19%) remained below the preceding year’s figures, statistics of the US Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) show increases in imports from various other European countries, some of which are significant.

Read More

Quality fluff pulp a top priority at Domtar

Texarkana Gazette
May 21, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

At 5:54 a.m. March 31, 2016 the A64 paper machine produced its last reel of paper, marking the final day of operation for one machine and setting the stage for a new era and the future of the Ashdown mill. After employees shut down the machine, the work began with a three-month window to convert and startup the new A1 fluff pulp machine, with the ultimate goal of having the A1 machine to begin producing pulp by July 3. The conversion and transformation of this machine will demonstrate the strength and fiber of the Domtar employees. The A1 fluff pulp conversion project is the largest capital project in the new Domtar’s history. Once online, this new A1 machine will be one of the largest fluff-pulp machines in the world, according to the Domtar A1 fluff project update report.

Read More

Ta Ann to see better numbers ahead

Borneo Post
May 21, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

KUCHING: Ta Ann Holdings Bhd (Ta Ann) reported a slow start to the financial year 2016 but analysts see promising prospects in the group, backed by its palm oil segment and possible recovery in its timber division. Of note, Ta Ann recorded a net profit of circa RM14 million, which generally came below market an analysts’ expectations. Nevertheless, analysts favour the company’s plantation earnings prospects as well as potentials in the timber division. In a report, the research arm of AmInvestment Bank Bhd (AmInvestment Bank) said the group earnings were impacted by lower log and plywood volume and prices and traditionally, 1Q produces lower log and plywood volumes. For Ta Ann’s plantations segment, it noted that 1Q is traditionally is also traditionally the weakest quarter for fresh fruit bunches (FFB) production and it is entering the peak crop season in 3Q16.

Read More

NZ export log prices lift in May

Scoop.co.nz
May 23, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

New Zealand export log prices advanced this month as a decline in the local currency made the country’s shipments more competitive, offsetting a lift in shipping costs. The average wharf gate price for New Zealand A-grade logs edged up to $120 a tonne in May, from $119 a tonne in April, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. The in-market price of A-grade logs in China, New Zealand’s largest market, advanced to US$113/JAS from US$111/JAS last month as inventory levels on Chinese ports remain moderate, following a relatively low build up of stock on ports during the Chinese New Year holiday period.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Strategic Group brings Alberta its first five-storey wood-frame building

Calgary Herald
May 20, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

The first developer to bring a five or six-storey wood-frame building to Calgary under new building rules threw a party for its construction staff last week, celebrating its progress. …“We’re pretty excited about being Albert’s first five-storey wood-frame building that will receive occupancy and will be the first one people will be living in as a consequence of our new building code,” says Riaz Mamdani, president of Strategic Group. The City of Calgary announced in November 2014 that it would accept variances for applications for up to six-storey wood-frame buildings, and that is now building code in the province. Strategic Group, headquartered in Calgary, owns, manages and develops office, retail and apartment properties across Canada.

Read More

?Living the high life

CBS News
May 22, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

But in a forest in Southern Oregon, nature’s renewable skyscrapers — trees — may just provide a more sustainable answer. As they grow, trees take carbon out of the atmosphere, and even after they’re harvested they store that carbon. So Lone Rock Logging has decided to send some of its trees to a special mill that turns them into a new kind of “green” high-rise building block. “It’s going to change the way we build here in the U.S.,” said John Redfield, the chief operating officer at that mill, D.R. Johnson. It’s the only lumber mill in the U.S. certified to make cross laminated timber (CLT).  Though man has been building with wood since we’ve been building anything, what makes CLT unique is that it’s as strong as steel — and up to five times lighter than concrete, making CLT panels perfect to build a high-rise.

Read More

Pearl District’s 12-story timber tower moves forward, gets more ‘affordable’

Portland Business Journal
May 23, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

It’s not out of the ground yet, but a proposed 12-story high rise in the Pearl District made out of Cross-Laminated Timber is moving forward into its next phase of design, development and testing. A project from Portland-based LEVER Architecture and project^, Framework would rise from the corner of Northwest 10th Avenue and Glisan Street on a quarter block that is currently home to Albina Community Bank. …The project now moves into a second phase of research, which will focus on seismic and fire testing that could pave the way for the city and the state to issue building permits. The testing is expected to wrap up by October, which had initially been a tentative groundbreaking for the project.

Read More

Maine’s forest products industry gets USDA grant to expand

Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
May 22, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

BANGOR, Maine The U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving the Maine Forest Service more than $380,000 to assist the state’s wood products industry. The USDA is supplying a pair of Wood Innovation Grants to the state. One is $250,000 toward a program called “Strengthening and Expanding Maine Wood Markets.” The rest of the money is to help establish a Maine State Wood Energy Assistance Team. The team is expected to coordinate technical and financial assistance. It will also promote low-emissions heating technology. The team will include industry members, government representatives and people form the non-profit community.

Read More

Albury or Wodonga to host $25 million timber processing factory expected to lead to 54 jobs

The Border Mail
May 23, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

COST will be the decisive factor in whether a $25 million timber-processing factory is built in Albury or Wodonga. Manufacturer XLam trumpeted on Monday it would build Australia’s first cross laminated timber factory on the Border with plans for 54 jobs. The exact location is yet to be decided with XLam business development manager Rob De Brincat saying his firm was negotiating with Albury and Wodonga councils to secure the best deal. “We’re considering a couple of site options with a decision likely to be made in coming weeks,” he said. Rob De Brincat “We’re speaking about a staged approval process with both councils and we’re hoping to start construction in the next six weeks. “It’s looking at different land and build costs, because they’re both in close proximity cost is the main driver.”

Read More

Forestry

BC Forest Discovery Centre fundraiser gets $25,000 kick start from municipality

Cowichan Valley Citizen
May 20, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Municipality of North Cowichan has provided the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre with a $25,000 grant. The money, which will come from the municipality’s Forest Legacy Fund, will go towards the centre’s Shay Locomotive Project. Alf Carter, president of the B.C. Forest Museum Society, told council at Wednesday’s meeting the money will be used to “kick start” the fundraising campaign. He said the ultimate goal of the campaign is to raise $200,000 to refurbish two steam locomotives at the centre, and repairs to its track system. Carter said that during its 50-year existence, the main attraction at the centre has been a ride on a vintage steam train, a 2.5 km. trip through a park-like setting surrounded by 100 acres of dense forest land.

Read More

Tent caterpillars attack Regina

An earlier than normal spring is to blame for early infestation
CBC News
May 20, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

An earlier and warmer spring than normal has led to the early arrival of some things that are not so welcome. Trees in some Regina neighbouoods are being ravaged by tent caterpillars. Tent caterpillars, not to be confused with cankerworms, like to clump together and defoliate trees. They have a preference for ash, poplar and fruit trees. This year’s infestation has been prevalent in newer areas of Regina like Harbour Landing and The Creeks where the trees are smaller. Russell Eirich is manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture for the city. “Probably the warm spring has allowed the eggs to hatch a little bit earlier than normal,” he said. “That’s why we are seeing this now.”

Read More

B.C.’s Elaho Giant, a centuries-old Douglas fir, is dead

Vancouver Sun
May 20, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The life of an ancient colossus of the B.C. wilderness appears to be over. The Elaho Giant, a centuries-old Douglas fir growing in the Upper Elaho Valley, was caught in a wildfire last June. Although firefighters tried their best to save the famous tree, video shot this week shows a black, lifeless trunk and bare branches at a time when fir trees should be draped in needles. Squamish resident John Buchanan shot the video on Thursday after making the dangerous hike through downed trees and landslide-prone terrain. Although he cautions anyone against following in his footsteps, he’s been itching to discover the tree’s fate for nearly a year. “It was completely black. That fire had gone straight up the Giant. The root system is extremely dry. I put my hand in it; it was all ash,” he said. “There was nothing green; there were no green needles anywhere.”

Read More

Appeals court finds for Flathead Forest in thinning case

by Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
May 20, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In an uncharacteristically quick response, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to a Flathead National Forest thinning project. “We don’t toot our horn as much as some people think we should,” Flathead Forest environmental coordinator Michele Draggoo said Tuesday. “We had four cases going in the last two years, and we’ve won all four of them. Overall, I think the Forest Service is winning more than they’re losing.” …But a three-judge panel of the appeals court took just three days between oral arguments on May 3 and its resolution on May 6 to uphold a U.S. District Court ruling in favor of the Forest Service. And it did so with a memorandum – a simplified response that didn’t address any issues brought up in the arguments.

Read More

Flagstaff Study: Forest Thinning Boosts Ponderosa Pine Seedlings

KJZZ
May 20, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Ponderosa pine seedlings are more likely to sprout and thrive in mechanically thinned forests, a new study out of Flagstaff finds. The study began in 2013 when researchers counted ponderosa seedlings in 18 experimental forest plots. They monitored seedling survival for two years in both densely treed and mechanically thinned areas. Tom Kolb of Northern Arizona University coauthored the study. “What we found was that in the medium density plots—the plots that had had moderate to heavy thinning over the last 50 years — that survival was surprisingly high,” said Kolb. That’s partly because trees in thinned plots produced more pinecones and thus more seedlings. Also, young trees in those areas received more light and nutrients.

Read More

Libby logger: Tom Horelick still makes a living in the woods of Montana

The Missoulian
May 21, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Tom Horelick is a gyppo logger. It’s a term that, decades ago, was used in a derogatory way, but today means a logger who largely works independent from established mills or lumber yards. “The big boys do more in a day than I do in a month,” Horelick says. Still, his business, North Fork Forestry, employs four people full-time, and one part-time salesman. At the small sawmill and log yard, Todd Ogden is the sawyer and Jake Swartzendruber works the green chain. When he’s not in the forest helping Horelick, Bowers is turning logs too small for other uses into firewood. The part-time employee is Randy Edwards, who runs the log yard and handles sales for North Fork.

Read More

At Eugene tree farm fed by sewage sludge, sheep graze to keep the weeds down

The Register-Guard
May 21, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

This spring, more than 100 sheep are ­helping the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission knock back weeds at the agency’s Biocycle Farm by grazing among the acres of poplar trees.  The sheep eat the grass and weeds between the trees on the almost 600-acre farm run by the commission, a partnership between Eugene, Springfield and Lane County, according to residuals supervisor Randy Gray. The farm is off Highway 99, between Eugene and Junction City.The commission collects and treats sewage from the Eugene-Springfield area and uses some of the liquid residue as fertilizer for the trees, Gray said. For the past two decades, the MWMC has provided local grass seed growers with the liquid as well, to fertilize their land.

Read More

Sen. Daines: Management reform essential to bring Montana forests back to life

The Missoulian
May 21, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Forty years after the Montana Logging Association was founded, the group met Saturday morning to look at an industry in limbo and what needs to change so it will thrive. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., addressed the MLA attendees, hopeful that a bill containing forest management reform that passed the U.S. House recently would soon make it through the Senate, into a conference committee and onto President Barack Obama’s desk before the end of the year. Either that, he said, or the Senate would try to pass a standalone bill. …”The current state of our forests, frankly, is tragic. You can see the clear difference between federal ground, state ground and private ground. It’s tragic that our mills have to go hundreds of miles to get logs to supply.”

Read More

Study shows trees moving to higher, cooler elevations

Lake Country News
May 24, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Signature tree species in the high Sierra Nevada forests – including mountain hemlock, red fir and western white pine – are shifting toward higher, cooler elevations according to new research by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. This study foreshadows how climate warming may significantly alter entire habitats for multiple species. The CDFW researchers found that large areas of Plumas and Sierra counties no longer have much mountain hemlock, as much of the northern Sierra Nevada lacks the higher mountains the trees now need to persist. These conifer species that are shifting to higher elevations provide food for insects, birds and mammals, and help to build forest soil. The report was published this week in the California Fish and Game 2016 Winter Issue.

Read More

Women in Timber awards scholarships

The Humboldt Beacon
May 19, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Four local high school students and four college students received scholarships last week from the North Coast Chapter of Women in Timber. Each student was awarded a $500 scholarship to assist with their pursuit of natural resource related careers. The students were treated to an outdoor dinner at Camp Bauer in Korbel prior to receiving their scholarships. “These students are passionate about one of our local industries,” said North Coast Women in Timber Chairwoman Lizzie Ebert, referring to forestry and timber production. “All who applied were outstanding candidates, and all incredibly impressive.”

Read More

Fate of primeval forest in balance as Poland plans logging

Associated Press in The Seattle Times
May 21, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

WARSAW, Poland — It is the last remaining relic of an ancient forest that stretched for millennia across the lowlands of Europe and Russia, a shadowy, mossy woodland where bison and lynx roam beneath towering oak trees up to 600 years old. Conservationists believe the fate of the Bialowieza Forest, which straddles Poland and Belarus, is more threatened that at any time since the communist era due to a new Polish government plan for extensive logging in parts of the forest. The plan has pitted the government against environmentalists and many scientists, who are fighting to save the UNESCO world heritage site. …“This forest is a Polish treasure but it is also the world’s treasure, and we could lose it,” said Katarzyna Kosciesza from ClientEarth, one of the groups that filed the complaint. “The logging would really threaten it.”

Read More

Indonesia’s forestry ministry follows through on palm oil permit freeze

Mongabay
May 23, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Indonesian forestry ministry is on board with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plan to ban new oil palm permits, and has rejected all outstanding requests to establish plantations in the forest zone, a ministry official said on Friday. Sixty-one palm oil companies have had their proposals rejected, sparing a total of 851,000 hectares of land from conversion, according to the San Afri Awang, the ministry’s head of governance and planning. That’s 12 times the size of Singapore. “We are bringing the president’s directive on [the moratorium] to fruition as best we can,” Awang told foresthints.news. Jokowi announced the palm oil permit freeze in April. It also applies to coal mining licenses. Both sectors are vital to Indonesia’s economy, but lead the way in damaging the environment.

Read More

Roads take a hit from forestry

New Zealand Herald
May 23, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International


A special rate to cover the damage heavy trucks are expected to create on Whanganui’s rural roads when forest harvesting accelerates is something the district council needs to get serious about. That is the message from Wanganui Federated Farmers in its submission to the council’s 2016-17 annual plan. Branch spokesman Tim Matthews told councillors they should look at what Ruapehu District Council is considering – a special differential rate to recover costs from the forest landowners. Mr Matthews said Whanganui’s rural roads would experience heavy vehicle movements at least four times and possibly 10 times higher than those currently servicing existing farming operations adjoining the forests.

Read More

EU and United Nations Increase Effort to Combat Illegal Logging

Hardwood Floors Magazine
May 23, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The European Union, United Kingdom and Sweden have contributed a combined $30 million to support the next phase of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Programme (FLEGT), which gives sustainable forestry products producers in foreign companies easier access to the European timber market, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The EU contributed $18 million; the UK, $7.25 million; and Sweden, $5.3 million. “Thanks to global initiatives like FLEGT, illegal timber production has declined by an estimated 22 percent since 2002,” said René Castro Salazar, FAO assistant director-general for forestry, in a statement.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Talking Point: Tassie forests can play role in tackling carbon

The Mercury
May 23, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

WE’RE failing the ultimate test of success in cutting carbon emissions: the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Tasmanian carbon dioxide levels are now above 400 parts per million and rising. That’s one reason the Hodgman Government should look at a new proposal from The Wilderness Society. Another is the continued depressed state of forestry. Trees have many assets, but their most valuable one now is helping to stop the planet’s greenhouse gas budget getting out of hand by taking up carbon dioxide. The more trees in the ground, the better. Doubt about human-induced climate change in conservative politics has limited the scope of Coalition abatement policy and prevented an effective move on smokestack or tailpipe emissions.

Read More

Forest Fires

UPDATE: Alberta bringing in extra firefighters to gain upper hand on Fort McMurray fire

Canadian Press in the Chronicle Herald
May 20, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — A massive wildfire that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray hasn’t grown in size in the forest around the city and officials are planning a surge of firefighters in the coming days to try to gain the upper hand. Alberta senior wildfire manager Chad Morrison said Friday cooler temperatures, higher humidity and a forecast for rain have allowed the government to safely put more boots on the ground. “From a firefighting perspective we hope to hold this fire in place over the weekend,” Morrison said. “Even if we don’t get rain, the firefighters and our resources out there are making great progress. These are great firefighting days for us. … The province plans to bring in an extra 1,000 firefighters over the next two weeks, adding to 1,100 already on the ground, Morrison said. Many will come from a pool of Alberta crews who had been spelled off earlier in the month. The rest will come from other jurisdictions.

Read More

Fort McMurray forestry industry braces for wildfire damage reports

Canadian Press in Canadian Business
May 20, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

CALGARY – When the smoke cleared, unbelievably, there was good news. A $1.5-million stockpile of logs harvested over the winter and stored in a gravel pit north of Fort McMurray had caught fire but only about half of it was consumed before the flames burned themselves out. The stacks contained about 40,000 cubic metres, enough wood to fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools. “There was actually no ground fire leading up to it so it was just the embers from the fire that fell in there,” Brent Rabik, business development manager for pulp producer Alberta Pacific Forest Industries or Al-Pac, said Friday. …However, the early spring setback makes it unlikely that Alberta’s forestry industry will see a repeat of 2015’s four-year high output of about $3 billion worth of pulp, lumber and panel products, said Paul Whittaker, president and CEO of the Alberta Forest products Association.

Read More

Firefighters wanted: B.C. government looking to recruit support crews

Known as ‘type 2,’ these fire crews are on contract and are hired to provide additional support
CBC News
May 19, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government is looking to hire contract fire crews — known as ‘type 2 crews’ — to support its core team of firefighters. “These contracts can come in an excellent second capacity to take the strain off of our own crews in the later phases of the fire which can take some time,” said Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.’s chief fire information officer. Each year, the province directly employs roughly a thousand firefighters who undergo a rigorous recruitment process the year before. These government firefighters carry out the initial attack to contain fires and prevent them from growing, but then have to move on to battle other fires.

Read More

Fort McMurray announces re-entry schedule, evacuation lifted on some oilsands camps

Residents from the lower townsite and southern areas of the city can return on June 1, if safe to do so
CBC News
May 21, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents from Fort McMurray’s lower townsite and areas south of the city will be among the first allowed back in next month in a reentry plan that could begin June 1. The voluntary, phased re-entry plan will occur by zones to ensure residents have access to necessary services, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo said in a media release on Saturday. ….The fire known as “the beast” now sits at 504,443 hectares, seven times the size of Edmonton. This includes 741 hectares in Saskatchewan. Bob Couture, the director of emergency management for Wood Buffalo, calls it “an incredible fire” but adds that, at the moment, it poses no imminent threat to any structure or any operation.

Read More

Fire risk map shows blue (low) in Alberta, red (high) for Sask.

Saskatchewan has been dry, but rain is in the forecast
CBC News
May 21, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The latest information from Natural Resources Canada shows a big change in the risk for wildfire: Alberta goes blue and Saskatchewan has a lot of red. The data is compiled and presented as part of the federal ministry’s Canadian Wildland Fire Information System. While the risk for wildfire has fallen in Alberta, crews are still battling a fire dubbed “the beast,” which has forced thousands of people to flee their homes. The fire, in the Fort McMurray area, sits at 504,443 hectares — seven times the size of Edmonton. This includes 741 hectares in Saskatchewan. Plans are underway to have some evacuees return home as early as Wednesday.

Read More

Smoke clears over Fort McMurray wildfire and it’s bigger than previously thought

Edmonton Journal
May 22, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rain and cooler temperatures have allowed firefighters to better assess the size of the Fort McMurray wildfire, and it’s bigger than previous estimates suggested. The latest estimates peg the wildfire at 522,894 hectares on the Alberta side, and 2,496 hectares across the border into Saskatchewan, Laura Stewart, an Alberta wildfire information officer, confirmed Sunday afternoon. While the fire was reported to be 504,443 hectares yesterday, Stewart said it hasn’t grown, rather the weather helped to clear smoke in the area allowing firefighters to better assess the size. “Firefighters are making really great progress, taking advantage, of course, of these cooler temperatures,” she said, noting more rain is expected in the Fort McMurray area.

Read More

Saturday forest fires keep N.L. water bombers busy

CBC News
May 22, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

A pair of forest fires in central and southeast parts of Newfoundland had water bombers scrambling on Saturday. The first fire broke out near Fairhaven on the island’s southeast coast. Members of the Norman’s Cove, Bellevue and Fairhaven fire departments were on scene for a period of time to assist in clearing traffic. According to emergency response chief Gary Rideout, the fire was caused as a result of a broken hydro line. In the central region of the island, a forest fire was spotted about six kilometres south of Grand Falls-Windsor. Fire chief Vince MacKenzie said a water bomber made several drops before sunset on Saturday and, at last word, the fire was moving away from the town.

Read More

U.S. Forest Service Plans to Let Blazes Burn Amid Predictions of Fiery Summer

May 24, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

In the 40 years since fires sparked by lightning have been allowed to burn unabated in a section of Yosemite National Park, ecologist Scott Stephens has watched extensive conifer forests grow back as a patchwork of not just trees, but also meadows with wetland plants. y. …As the U.S. Forest Service revises how it manages its 193 million acres — with three forests in California’s Sierra Nevada among the first to implement a new approach — Stephens and other fire scientists are urging it to go forward with plans to allow more fires to burn through dry vegetation. The accumulation of brush and grasses over decades makes it dangerous to try to put out every fire, he and six colleagues wrote in the journal Science last fall. Suppressing fires repeatedly simply promises more disastrous fires in the future.

Read More

Washington state officials preparing for difficult wildfire season

The Associated Press in The Oregonian
May 22, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SEATTLE — Washington’s wildfire season got off to an abrupt and early start this month when two separate blazes tore through dry, steep forest, fueling worries about what lies ahead. Fire officials say they were surprised to see wildfires burning this early west of the Cascades Mountains, particularly one that scorched nearly 300 acres about 60 miles from Seattle. While the long-range outlook indicates this year’s wildfire season won’t be as extreme as last year, state officials say they’re nevertheless training and preparing for a difficult fire season ahead. “These fires have shown us that with a warming climate, we know it’s (the season) going to be longer, and we should be prepared as best we can,” state Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark said in an interview.

Read More

Deadly wildfire near Twisp sparked by branches on a power line: report

The Associated Press in The Oregonian
May 21, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SEATTLE — An investigation by the Washington state Department of Natural Resources found that tree branches rubbing on a power line started the 2015 blaze near Twisp that killed three U.S. Forest Service firefighters. The agency’s report says ignition likely happened as a light wind moved the branches and a sagging Okanogan County Electric Cooperative distribution line on Aug. 19, 2015. The investigation says burning foliage then dropped to the ground and spread flames. The Seattle Times obtained the DNR document through a public records request. A utility official told investigators the power lines are maintained to standards, with trees removed every three years or whenever deemed necessary. In the area where the fire began, the lines were last cleared during the 2012-13 winter.

Read More

Burning benefits

Controlled fires can both help prevent combustion and reduce insect attacks
The Economist
May 21, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

THE giant wildfire that raged recently through the Canadian province of Alberta, forcing more than 80,000 people to flee their homes, was caused in part by global warming producing drier conditions. Yet conservation efforts to prevent burning have not helped either, say some experts. Forests can regenerate after being burnt, with much of the tinder-like underbrush being cleared away and dense tree canopies broken up so that young trees can get the sunlight they need to grow. Now a new study finds that fires, whether started naturally or under controlled conditions, can also thwart nasty insect infestations. Like many useful discoveries, this one came about somewhat by accident. Sharon Hood of the US Forest Service was working with the University of Montana and colleagues on the ecology of a forest in western Montana that had been managed in a number of ways to make it more resistant to fire.

Read More

Meet the Australians fighting Canada’s wildfires

ABC News, Australia
May 23, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Joel Pecotich and Leo Contziu have known each other since high school. In Sydney they’re normal twenty-somethings with average jobs, but they spend half of each year fighting wildfires out of helicopters in the remote Canadian wilderness. Alex McClintock reports. At home, Joel Pecotich is an arborist; Leo Contziu is a university student. But for five months each year, the Sydney friends work as professional firefighters in a remote region of Alberta, Canada. Working from a base six and a half hours north of the provincial capital Edmonton, the pair are part of an Alberta Department of Agriculture and Forestry 20-man response team. Their job is to travel by helicopter to new forest fires and get them under control as quickly as possible.

Read More

General

U.S. Forest Service Plans to Let Blazes Burn Amid Predictions of Fiery Summer

May 24, 2016
Category: Uncategorized

In the 40 years since fires sparked by lightning have been allowed to burn unabated in a section of Yosemite National Park, ecologist Scott Stephens has watched extensive conifer forests grow back as a patchwork of not just trees, but also meadows with wetland plants. y. …As the U.S. Forest Service revises how it manages its 193 million acres — with three forests in California’s Sierra Nevada among the first to implement a new approach — Stephens and other fire scientists are urging it to go forward with plans to allow more fires to burn through dry vegetation. The accumulation of brush and grasses over decades makes it dangerous to try to put out every fire, he and six colleagues wrote in the journal Science last fall. Suppressing fires repeatedly simply promises more disastrous fires in the future.

Read More