Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 27, 2016

Business & Politics

Paper, Packaging & Forest Products The Continuous Digester – what we learned last week

By Paul Quinn and Wes Swanson
RBC Capital Markets
June 27, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber – Random Lengths (RL) reported that both W. SPF and SYP 2×4 prices inched 1% lower last week to $316/mfbm and $378/mfbm, respectively. According to RL, a quiet tone generated scattered weakness at W. SPF mills, while wholesalers pushed to move what they had left on their offering lists… OSB – North Central and South East OSB pricing fell 1% last week to $275/msf and $234/msf, respectively, while pricing in Western Canada held flat at $235/msf. RL commented that a strong week of sales, especially in the South, prompted producers to take a firmer approach to quotes by Friday… Pulp – After announcing last week that it would build a new US$64MM tissue converting plant on the US west coast in Scappoose, OR, Cascades announced this week it will close its de-inked pulp mill in Auburn, Maine, effective July 15th.

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US softwood lumber prices still roughly 6% higher

EUWID Wood Products
June 27, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

After the upward trend noticeable since the end of January, prices on the US softwood lumber markets have fallen again slightly in the last three weeks but the level reached by 10 June was still higher than a year earlier. The framing lumber composite price (FLCP) established by the US information service Random Lengths was last $352/1000 bdft and thus 6% higher than the corresponding figure for last year. Although the average price for the benchmark grade of SPF 2×4 #2 & Btr was also unable to maintain its May level and has fallen slightly since then by 1.5% to $320/1000 bdft, this is still almost 11% higher than last year’s figure. [END OF STORY]

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Stephen Hume: Time to focus on B.C.’s bread and butter

by Stephen Hume
Vancouver Sun
June 24, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The provincial government’s grand strategy for revitalizing the coastal forest industry, upon which many communities outside Metro Vancouver are heavily dependent, is adrift and in the doldrums. At least, that appears to be the view of mayors from 27 coastal forestry communities just surveyed by the Truck Loggers Association for its report Community Perspectives on the B.C. Coastal Forest Industry. … There are worries about a hemorrhage of local forestry jobs even as raw log exports — and the jobs they represent — accelerate. Provincial statistics show that exports of whole unprocessed logs have tripled in volume since 2009, most of them bound for Asian markets, where they are processed using cheaper labour.

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Verbal deal on sawmill, biofuel plant ‘kick in the arse’ for Botwood economy

CBC News
June 24, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A verbal agreement has been reached between the Town of Botwood and an unnamed partner, or partners, to bring major industry back to the shipping town. Botwood Mayor Scott Sceviour confirmed the agreement to CBC earlier this week, but would not say who the town was dealing with. The venture would include a sawmill and biofuel plant and utilize the town’s waterfront. While the scale of the operation and number of potential jobs is unknown, the mayor indicated it could change the scenery of a town that has been reeling since the departure of AbitibiBowater in 2009. …While a verbal agreement is in place with the town, no deal has been reached yet with the province for the 280,000 cubic metres of timber rights formerly handled by AbitibiBowater. The province acquired the rights following the departure of the pulp and paper magnate.

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Arkansas lumber mill to reopen, create 136 new jobs

Stuttgart Daily Leader
June 27, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas officials say a lumber mill that shut down six years ago is reopening, creating 136 new jobs. The state Economic Development Commission on Wednesday announced that Caddo River Forest Products is spending up to $50 million to re-open the Glenwood sawmill. Officials said they expect another 200 to 300 indirect jobs to be created through the project. The U.S. Economic Development Administration is providing an $817,726 grant to the city of Glenwood for infrastructure improvements related to the project… The mill is expected to begin supplying lumber in the spring of 2017.

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Is Victoria’s native forestry industry worth it at $5 million a job?

The Age
June 27, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The viability of Victoria’s government-owned native forestry business has been thrown into doubt by a high-level analysis concluding it takes more than $5 million of investment in roads, machinery and equipment to create a single timber job. A confidential report by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers warns VicForests is “not generating an appropriate return” to meet its stated objectives, including maximising its contribution to the economy and well-being of Victoria. The assessment, obtained by Fairfax Media, provides a sobering assessment of the long-term financial outlook for the agency, with the value of native hardwood production down 26 per cent over the past decade, the volume down 32 per cent, and VicForests’ net profits 31 per cent lower than the average for the Australian forestry sector as a whole.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Climate change forcing builders to rethink how they design structures, expert says

Canadian Press in CBC
June 26, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

…While some of the changes are reactive, others are proactive — for example, using computer models to predict how a structure would fare in the event of an earthquake and designing it accordingly. Technological advancements in recent years have made it easier for architects and engineers to use computer simulations that test how a particular building would withstand floods, fires, earthquakes and wind events, Schroeder says. …While some building codes are calling for a performance-based approach, much of the change is being driven by the design community and by property owners, who are looking for structures to be resilient, he says.

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Recycled Plastic Lumber Invented by Pioneering Rutgers Professor

June 27, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Imagine a material lighter than steel, longer-lasting than lumber and strong enough to support 120-ton locomotives. Now imagine that material is made from milk containers, coffee cups and other plastics that we recycle. It’s called structural plastic lumber, and the ingenious, nontoxic material was invented by Thomas Nosker, an assistant research professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and principal investigator in the Center for Advanced Materials via Immiscible Composite Materials at Rutgers University. The late Richard W. Renfree, Nosker’s graduate student who later became a Rutgers professor, helped invent the revolutionary material.

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Recycled Plastic Lumber Invented by Pioneering Rutgers Professor

June 27, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Imagine a material lighter than steel, longer-lasting than lumber and strong enough to support 120-ton locomotives. Now imagine that material is made from milk containers, coffee cups and other plastics that we recycle. It’s called structural plastic lumber, and the ingenious, nontoxic material was invented by Thomas Nosker, an assistant research professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and principal investigator in the Center for Advanced Materials via Immiscible Composite Materials at Rutgers University. The late Richard W. Renfree, Nosker’s graduate student who later became a Rutgers professor, helped invent the revolutionary material.

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Forestry

Gates block ventures in the wild: Landowners cutting off paths to public land

By Amy Smart
Victoria Times Colonist
June 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Legal scholars say the issue of public access to private land is more than an inconvenience to a handful of fishermen. It’s linked to a larger, more fundamental question about our role in the natural world. “The essential question is whether or not human beings have a right to roam in wild places,” said Calvin Sandborn, legal director for the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre. The law centre produced a white paper on the topic at the request of the Outdoor Recreational Council. But it isn’t a new question. And some governments have landed on the side of roaming. …TimberWest has encountered trespassing, vandalism, dumping, shooting, the breaking of fire bans and inappropriate use of motorized vehicles on its lands. Safety is also a concern when the public has free access to areas with active logging, TimberWest spokeswoman Monica Bailey said. 

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Learn the whole truth about Walbran logging

Letter by Paul Martin
Victoria Times Colonist
June 25, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “Government still not taking Walbran seriously,” comment, June 16. I have been a logger in the area that includes the Walbran for more than 40 years. I have worked for Teal Jones since 2005, and am currently working in the Walbran Valley. It’s misleading to say the government doesn’t take the Walbran seriously. In 1995, 7,035 hectares of harvesting rights were given up to create the Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park. This area was taken seriously and huge changes were made. This area has been resolved. Teal Jones maintained the rights to log within the Walbran “bite” of 486 hectares that is referred to. This area equals one per cent of the protected area and Block 4424 is 3.2 hectares of that. Small?

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Second-growth logging beneficial, sustainable

Letter by Bill Feyrer Vice-president, Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association
Victoria Times Colonist
June 25, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “Clearcut logging leaves shameful sight,” letter, June 16. We are promoting the Vancouver Island Spine Trail as a continuous trail from Victoria to Cape Scott, which will pass through both Crown (public) and private lands. We see this trail to be an opportunity, among other things, to educate the public that industrial logging of second-growth timber is both beneficial to our local and provincial economy and sustainable with replanting. Harvesting does look messy to urban eyes, but it is temporary, and the same techniques are used on both Crown and private lands.

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Grassy Narrows First Nation to get results of Dryden, Ont. mill site mercury tests

Pond sampling done after former mill worker says he dumped mercury in hidden pit
CBC News
June 27, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East

A northern Ontario First Nation plagued by decades of mercury poisoning from a pulp and paper mill will get the results on Monday of a recent provincial government inspection of the mill site. The testing was done on June 6 after a former worker at the mill described his work in the 1970s, dumping barrels of mercury into a plastic-lined pit. The pit did not fit the description of contaminated sites known to government. …”Three samples were taken at the Dryden wood waste site — two leachate collection pond samples and another from the cooling water channel,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change told CBC News. 

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Sustainability is the key to environment

Letter by Kevin Farmer
Toronto Star
June 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Re: Canada a model for sustainable forestry, Letter June 19. Reading the response to Thomas Walkom’s editorial from Forest Products Association of Canada and Ontario Forest Industries Association, I was once again encouraged by how much progress has been made reducing, reusing and recycling the language of environmental activism for corporate messaging. What apologists such as letter writers Derek Nighbor and Jamie Lim are peddling should properly be referred to as Sustainability(TM) as this term is also becoming nothing more than happy-sounding marketing for demonstrably unsustainable activities. By the end of today, there will be fewer trees and less forest wilderness in Canada and on Earth. What remains of these complex ecosystems will be more fractured, less diverse, less resilient, less healthy.

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Greenpeace under fire

Nations around the world reject its eco-terrorism tactics
The Washington Times
June 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Governments and courts around the world are finally cracking down on the eco-terrorist organization Greenpeace. The crackdown, which is long overdue, couldn’t happen to a more misguided bunch of people. In early December 2014, more than 20 Greenpeace activists damaged a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of a publicity stunt meant to motivate greater government support for renewable-energy sources they think are necessary to battle supposed human-caused climate change. …Shortly after that, India’s intelligence bureau declared Greenpeace “a potential threat to national economic security,” calculating the cost of the organization’s activities in India between 2 percent and 3 percent of its gross domestic product each year. Indian officials claim the group has damaged property, engaged in financial fraud, and has falsified data.

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What’s happening to our forests is an emergency, President Obama

The House has acted to provide more funding, but the law is languishing in the Senate
The Modesto Bee
June 24, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

It was a remarkable moment last Saturday from the floor of Yosemite Valley. President Barack Obama stopped momentarily during his speech to turn and acknowledge the awesome beauty of Yosemite Falls which towered majestically behind him. During the 13-minute speech, the president mentioned one of the great achievements of his administration, “protecting over 265 million acres, more than any administration in history.”. …The president should inform Congress that if they are unable to pass legislation that addresses California’s tree mortality crisis, he will issue an executive order on the escalating emergency. Last year, the Valley Fire in Lake County and the Butte Fire in Calaveras County destroyed over 2,800 structures, burned over 146,000 acres and claimed six lives.

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Bark beetles killing drought-starved trees

Appeal Democrat
June 27, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Despite having a good winter for precipitation, the state drought is still going. And now California faces a new threat to its trees: More destructive bark beetles. Because the drought left trees without much water, forests have been in bad shape, which is making it easier for bark beetles to begin attacking. The adult insects get under the outer protective bark, feed on the soft inner bark and lay eggs for the next generation. With the trees already in bad shape because of lack of water, they can die if the beetles attack them. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service does up to 150 aerial surveys of trees every year to gauge tree mortality. 

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Op-Ed Dead trees aren’t a wildfire threat, but overlogging them will ruin our forest ecosystems

by Chad Hanson, research ecologist with the John Muir Project
Los Angeles Times
June 27, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

There are now 66 million dead trees in California’s forests due to several years of drought and native bark beetles, creating a “catastrophic” wildfire threat—or so claims Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. While Vilsack’s assertion may resonate with many in the general public because it makes intuitive sense, it simply isn’t true. …Secretary Vilsack is well aware of this research, but it does not fit with his political and economic objectives. Specifically, he recommended passage of a bill backed by the timber industry that would fund a large expansion of the federal wildland fire suppression program, and increase commercial logging on federal public lands—all in the name of removing supposedly dangerous dead trees.

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Finding sustainable solutions for NZ forestry at UC

from University of Canterbury
Scoop Independent News
June 27, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

An innovative team at the University of Canterbury’s (UC) School of Forestry is working to find a solution to a key challenge facing New Zealand’s forestry industry. A new breeding programme could determine which durable sustainable eucalyptus varieties are best for producing high quality wood, according to Dr Clemens Altaner. “Wood is a biodegradable material and therefore central to a sustainable and environmentally friendly economy,” Dr Altaner says. “However, it can decay, or rot, prematurely. To make it longer lasting, wood can be impregnated with chemicals, but these are toxic and some still used in New Zealand are restricted in other countries.”

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KiwiRail questioned over forestry slash inaction

Forestry industry needs to ‘own’ issue: HBRC
Gisborne Herald
June 27, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

SOME forest managers are doing a good job of clearing slash that, if left, can cause major damage but some are not, says Wairoa District Council’s Maori Standing Committee. Committee member for Mahia Mai Tawhiti, Peter Whaanga, presented a report after he and Juken NZ senior supervisor Mark Brown visited Juken New Zealand forests in the Wharerata area. Mr Whaanga wanted to see first-hand what had been done to address the forestry slash halfway down the Kopuawhara River and in the Gisborne District Council area of responsibility. …“If there is slash the forestry harvester should be asked to remove such material belonging to them and likely to cause harm.” Mr Whaanga said it was clear there had been no monitoring or clearing before last year’s storm event.

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Hardwood from illegal logging makes its way into UK stores

The Guardian
June 26, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

British shoppers could be unknowingly buying wooden furniture, flooring and even food items that are byproducts of destructive illegal logging in the Amazon, environmental campaigners are warning. Friends of the Earth is calling on ministers to make companies reveal the source of their products in order to stop the black market trade. Last week human rights watchdog Global Witness revealed that 185 environmental activists were killed in 2015, many of whom had been trying to stop illegal logging in the Amazon. An estimated 80% of Brazilian hardwood is illegally logged. Vast areas of forest in Brazil, the Philippines and Colombia are cut down by criminal gangs. Multinational companies then use the land for palm-oil production, mining or cattle-grazing, while the wood is sold off, according to Patrick Alley, co-founder of Global Witness.

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Forest Fires

Five fires remain in forest area

100.5 Cruz FM
June 26, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Firefighters are getting a bit of a break today. According to Alberta Wildfire, crews extinguished eight wildfires since yesterday, leaving only five in the Fort McMurray Forest Area. One of those fires is being held while the other four are under control. Wildfire Information Officer Lynn Daina says the Fort McMurray wildfire remains estimated at 589,617 hectares in size including the portion within Saskatchewan. Although the current fire hazard index level is moderate for the area, you still require a fire permit for all burning except campfires within the Forest Protection area.

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Forest fires move ‘within yards’ of Chemawawin Cree Nation, Easterville

Some 2,000 people from Chemawawin have been forced out, along with 70 from Easterville
CBC News
June 24, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forest fires threatening Chemawawin Cree Nation in central Manitoba are crawling closer to homes and putting the “whole community” at risk. “It came so fast. My place is still safe — no homes damaged yet — but the fire has come close, within or less than 100 yards,” said Chief Clarence Easter. “It is pretty scary. We’re in crisis mode.” Chemawawin fire Chief Fred Ledoux said the smoke was so thick Friday morning that the sun was barely visible. “It’s a bunch of little fires here and there, and it’s still going — no big major flames but a lot of little fires here and there in the forest,” Ledoux said. Some of the fires are “within yards of the community,” making for a stressful situation, he said.

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Firefighters advance on deadly central California wildfire

By SCOTT SMITH and CHRISTINE ARMARIO
Associated Press in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
June 26, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif.  — Firefighters advanced Sunday on a wildfire in central California that has claimed two lives and burned 200 homes. Federal fire officials said containment on the 68-square-mile blaze increased from 10 percent to 40 percent. Some 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze, which destroyed many homes belonging to retirees on fixed incomes with few other possessions. “Most people here, this is all they had,” said Daniel O’Brien, 53, who lost two rental mobile homes. “You have these moments where you just want to breakdown crying and fall apart.”

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Tetlin River Fire now 50 percent contained, forestry officials say

KTUU
June 26, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

TOK, Alaska – The Alaska Division of Forestry says that the Tetlin River Fire, which grew as large as 1,000 acres, is now 50 percent contained. Rain in the area aided firefighting efforts on Sunday. “The fire received significant precipitation on Sunday, the first wetting rain that has fallen on the fire since it started more than a week ago,” forestry officials wrote in a press release. Officials have begun moving some crews and resources away from the fire as mop-up operations continue. Two crews were reassigned on Saturday to fight new fires caused by lightning strikes. Still, there are more than 300 personnel assigned to the fire, DOF said. Fire crews are searching for hotspots within 300 feet of the fire perimeter as well as cutting down hazard trees along nearby trails and the Tetlin River.

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New fire boss moves into Forest Service regional office

by Roby Chaney
The Missoulian
June 26, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The new fire and aviation manager for U.S. Forest Service Region 1 hasn’t even been in office a week and he already has a tactical challenge scheduled on his calendar this summer. Ralph Rau will have to move his command post from the old regional headquarters in downtown Missoula to the new base at Fort Missoula on Aug. 1, the customary start of Montana’s active fire season. “I haven’t even unpacked all the boxes,” Rau said Wednesday in his sparsely furnished space on Pine Street. “But things are already picking up in the eastern part of our zone. We already have all of our Hotshot crews committed.” Nevertheless, Rau’s expecting a slightly better start to the new job than last summer at his post as deputy forest supervisor for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest across the border in Idaho. That forest logged more than 250 forest fires, including 25 large incidents.

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State forestry division releases latest fire numbers

KOAT
June 25, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —The New Mexico State Forestry Division released updated numbers Saturday for several fires burning in the state. The 104 Fire has burned about 900 acres of private land near Highway 104. It is 90 percent contained. The Blue Hill Fire has burned about 1,000 acres near Mosquero in Harding County. It is 15 percent contained. No structures are threatened at this time. Officials said the Curtis Valley Fire has burned 3 acres in the Lincoln National Forest. They did not provide containment numbers. The McClure Fire is 70 percent contained. Officials did not say how many acres have been burned. The Thompson Fire burned 10-15 acres of private land along State Road 219 in Guadalupe County. It is 100 percent contained.

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Wildfires across California consume nearly 60,000 acres

Los Angeles Times
June 25, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Six wildfires were burning across California on Saturday, consuming nearly 60,000 acres. More than 4,500 firefighters were battling the fires, which stretched from the Klammath National Forest in Northern California to the Mexican border in San Diego County, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The largest and most destructive of the blazes is the Erskine fire in Kern County, which had burned 35,711 acres as of Saturday afternoon, destroying more than 150 homes and killing at least two people. Authorities have found what they believe are the remains of a third victim. The Kern County fire is about 5% contained.

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Lake Isabella fire underscores Forest Service plea for wildfire disaster fund

Christian Science Monitor
June 24, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

…The fires again highlighted an ongoing plea from the United States Forest Service to have wildfires classified as “natural disasters” so it can fund its firefighting efforts from federal emergency money instead of its own programs, which are mainly meant for preventing fires. That call took on renewed urgency this week with the news that the drought and a beetle infestation have left millions of dead trees as perfect fuel for wildfire. “Unless Congress acts now to address how we pay for firefighting, the Forest Service will not have the resources necessary to address the forest die-off and restore our forests,” said Tom Vilsack, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, the parent agency of the Forest Service, in a statement Wednesday.The rapid expansion of the Lake Isabella fire underscores how quickly wildfire can become a threat to people and property.

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Fierce Struggle

45,176-acre Cedar Fire impacts Gila County
Payson Roundup
June 24, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The impact of the 45,176-acre Cedar Fire is being felt in Gila County, so the board of supervisors on Thursday declared an emergency —mostly to qualify for federal help if the fire causes problems — including mudslides when the monsoon arrives. Nearly 1,000 firefighters re­main on the line, working to steer the fire away from Show Low, Pinetop and other communities and toward a large, previously burned area to the south. The threat of evacuations has receded, but sweltering temperatures and fierce winds continue to pose a threat. Gila County has emergency management and sheriff’s office personnel assisting and several local fire districts have also dispatched crews and engines to help, including both Hellsgate and Payson.

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The Latest: Central California wildfire claims 150 homes

Associated Press in The Missoulian
June 25, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. — The Latest on wildfires burning in the West (all times local): 11:55 a.m. Firefighters now say a California wildfire has burned 150 homes and the toll may rise. Crews are busy Saturday counting the houses and mobile homes incinerated by a fire raging through rural communities around Lake Isabella in the southern Sierra Nevada. Whole blocks have burned to the ground as winds drive the flames through small foothill communities. The fire, which began Thursday, has burned some 56 square miles of tinder-dry brush and trees. More than 1,100 firefighters are on the line. Evacuees who have spent days at a shelter were warned Saturday that it’s unclear when they can return. Some say they’ve learned from friends that their homes are gone.

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Possible human remains found in deadly California wildfire

Associated Press in The Missoulian
June 26, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. — Authorities may have found human remains Saturday within a voracious wildfire in central California that has claimed two lives and burned 150 homes. The tally rose from 80 homes as firefighters began going through neighborhoods to count houses and mobile homes incinerated by the blaze. In one mobile home, they found what appears to be a set of human remains, but because they were so badly burned forensic investigators will have to determine whether they belonged to a person or animal, Kern County Sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said. Entire blocks were reduced to rubble, and at least 2,500 homes remained threatened. The winds that drove the drove the fire through small southern Sierra Nevada communities calmed by late afternoon, helping firefighters gain access to the fire line. However, hot weather and low humidity remained a worry.

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Bitterroot National Forest fire near Hamilton grows to 150 acres

The Missoulian
June 26, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

HAMILTON – Updated mapping data show the Observation Point fire southwest of Hamilton grew to about 150 acres as of Sunday morning. Suppression efforts are ongoing on the fire, located 10 miles from Hamilton in the Bitterroot National Forest. It’s believed that the fire, first reported on Friday, was caused by lightning. Sunday morning, fire managers reported that “due to more accurate mapping data, fire personnel now estimate the fire is approximately 150 acres in size,” up from the 25 acres reported Saturday. Crews are making progress constructing fire line along the ridge at Observation Point and are focusing their efforts on the fire’s east flank. About 70 firefighters are working the fire. Engine crews from the Darby and Stevensville ranger districts as well as Trapper Creek Job Corps remain on scene.

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Weekend wildfires keep forest rangers, firefighters busy

Bangor Daily News
June 26, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

BANGOR, Maine — Nearly a dozen wildfires around the state kept forest rangers and firefighters busy over the weekend, a Maine Forest Service official said Sunday. The two largest and most stubborn were in Cathance Township in Washington County and atop Abraham Mountain in Mount Abram Township near Kingfield, Regional Forest Ranger Jeff Currier said Sunday. Both wildfires are expected to take days to extinguish, he said. Roughly 25 firefighters and three forest rangers are battling the fire at Cathance, where 18 to 20 acres were burning Sunday, Currier said. While crews saved a house that was at risk of burning, a garage and outbuilding nearby were lost, he said. No one was home when that fire broke out. The cause remains under investigation, he said.

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Russian volunteers seek a foothold as wildfires rage in Siberia

The Washington Post
June 25, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

ULAN-UDE, RUSSIA – Half a world away from the wildfires that have devastated the southwestern United States this summer, Andrey Borodin was waging his own battle against the elements, directing a team of a dozen volunteers blasting water into the smoldering Siberian soil. The cloying stench of burning peat filled the air. His team, ankle-deep in the muck, methodically flipped mounds of soggy earth with shovels, occasionally batting out open flames. Nearby stood a forest of burnt birch. It was a taste of what will be another Herculean effort to contain Siberia’s vast wildfires this year. A loose partnership of hundreds of emergency workers, smokejumpers, and villagers are defending a vast territory of largely impenetrable evergreen forest, the legendary Siberian taiga, along Lake Baikal.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

B.C. biomass producers brace for post-Brexit uncertainty

by Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
June 24, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

The United Kingdom power is British Columbia’s biggest buyer of wood-pellet biofuels and Thursday’s Brexit vote to leave the European Union just made the province a more expensive place for them to do business. The value of the pound plummeted by seven per cent against the Canadian dollar in currency trading Friday on international markets, which makes it tougher to negotiate new sales into the U.K., said Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada. “In theory, there shouldn’t be any impact on existing business,” Murray said, “except the fact is when they’re buying with a devalued currency, it makes it more expensive for them.”

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Tug Hill loggers have fingers crossed for biomass

North Country Public Radio
June 27, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

When the biomass power plant in Lewis County went offline two months ago, it sent a shudder through the North Country woods. ReEnergy Holdings’ biomass plant in Lyonsdale burns forest scraps, which creates steam, which in turn creates up to 22MW of electricity. Dozens of loggers from St. Lawrence County to the Tug Hill rely on it in a timber industry that’s been struggling for decades. But now the biomass industry itself is struggling, hammered by low energy prices… “Right now, there’s just around 11,000 tons [of wood chips] in the yard,” said Bruce Proven, ReEnergy’s plant manager, a gruff guy in a flannel shirt and a bushy, gray moustache. He’s a biomass industry veteran, having worked previously in Maine.

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Is biomass energy still renewable? Some scientists say no.

North Country Public Radio
June 27, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Once a booming industry, biomass, producing electricity by burning trees or other organic matter, is getting hammered by low electricity prices and growing questions over whether it is renewable after all. According to U.S. energy data, biomass produces more renewable energy in the United States than solar panels, comprising 1.6 percent of nationwide electricity production compared to 0.6 percent for solar. But the biomass industry is shrinking these days, not growing. A couple months ago, ReEnergy Holdings’ biomass plant in Lyonsdale, NY, went offline, in large part due to low electricity prices.

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