Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 29, 2016

Business & Politics

Opposition urges the Prime Minister to engage President Obama in the renegotiation of the Softwood Lumber Agreement

Northumberland and View
June 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

OTTAWA —Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition, the Hon. Denis Lebel, and the Official Opposition Critic for Asia-Pacific Gateway, Mr. Todd Doherty, denounce the Liberal Government’s inaction on the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement. “At the first visit in Washington, Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Obama gave themselves 100 days to find a negotiation framework. In light of the upcoming visit of President Obama to Ottawa for the North American Leaders Summit, there is nothing on softwood lumber,” said Mr. Lebel. In 2014, over 65% of our forestry exports went to the U.S., generating $20 billion for the Canadian economy and creating over 232,000 jobs in the forest industry. “A failure to re-negotiate one of the most important trade agreements between Canada and the United States is inexcusable.

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Now Available: Executive Summary of 2015 Sustainability Report Canfor

CEO Don Kayne’s Blog
June 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

To supplement our comprehensive online 2015 Sustainability Report, released earlier this year, I am pleased to share that the Executive Summary of the joint Canfor and Canfor Pulp report is now available. From the forest to our mills, Canfor and Canfor Pulp were successful in making our operations more sustainable in 2015. While the online report is necessary to see the full picture of Canfor and Canfor Pulp’s sustainability efforts in 2015, this Executive Summary provides highlights of our accomplishments in areas of importance to both companies and to our many stakeholders. Both Canfor and Canfor Pulp are world leaders in using and managing forest resources responsibly and sustainably and I continue to be proud of all of our accomplishments in this area.

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Fundraiser planned for Franklin River loggers

By Karly Blats
Alberni Valley News
June 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A fundraiser in support of the Franklin Division loggers who have been out of work since Dec. 22, 2015 is happening at the Blue Marlin Inn on Thursday, June 30. More than 100 loggers are out of work due to a rate dispute between Western Forest Products and their woodlands contractor, Island Pacific Logging. After six months of being laid off the loggers will no longer be covered with medical benefits, Norm MacLeod, United Steelworkers 1-85 president said. Thus a fundraiser was planned in conjunction with Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan and former mayor Ken McRae. “Mayor Mike Ruttan called me and Ken McRae… and said what can we do to help, so we started talking about a fundraising effort and they got the Blue Marlin involved,” MacLeod said.

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Bible Hill man dies in workplace accident at Irving sawmill

Cape Breton Post
June 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

VALLEY, NS. – A 28-year-old Bible Hill man lost his life in a workplace accident Monday at the J. D. Irving Limited sawmill in Valley on Valleydale Road. At approximately 6:05 p.m., emergency personnel responded to a call from the Colchester County sawmill. Andrew Preeper, labour department spokesperson, said officers with the Occupational Health and Safety division are on scene at the sawmill, and are investigating along with RCMP. “Last evening, an employee was struck by a front-end loader and suffered fatal injuries. He died at the scene,” he said. “Our thoughts are with this individual’s loved ones.” The name of the worker is being withheld as per the family’s wishes.

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Bible Hill man killed by front-end loader at Irving sawmill

Chronicle Herald
June 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A Bible Hill man died in an industrial site Monday night after being hit by a front-end loader. The incident happened at the JD Irving Sawmill, Sproule Lumber on Valleydale Road. “A workplace accident at the Irving sawmill at Valley, near Truro, has claimed the life of a 28-year-old man from Bible Hill, Nova Scotia. The incident occurred at approximately 6:05 p.m. on Monday, June 27, 2016. The name of the worker is being withheld out of respect for the family’s wishes,” the company said in a press statement Tuesday morning. Manager of the sawmill, Mike Garrett, expressed his condolences. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and co-worker. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said Garrett.

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Decision to Shutter Mills Prompts Finger-Pointing

Congressional delegation blames job losses on mismanagement of Forest Service land
Flathead Beacon
June 28, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Four months after absorbing Plum Creek Timber Company, mega-corporation Weyerhaeuser Company’s surprise announcement that it will permanently close its lumber mill and plywood mill in Columbia Falls prompted round upon round of finger-pointing. Corporate brass blamed a persistent log-supply shortage in the region as the chief culprit, saying its mills have been averaging a 60-70 percent operation capacity. Some politicians blamed the federal government for failing to do its job and open up federal forests for timber harvests, while still others placed the onus on environmental groups for stalling timber sales. While it’s clear that the state’s timber industry has been routed by a multitude of factors, none of the finger-pointing summed up the full scope of the problem, industry analysts and forest managers said. “It is more complex than that,” Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber said.

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PRT Announces Establishment of Cold Storage Distribution Center at Hayward, WI

PRT USA Inc.
June 24, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Victoria, BC – June 24, 2016 – PRT USA Inc. (PRT) is pleased to announce that PRT has signed a long term lease with the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) for the cooler/warehouse building located at the Hayward State Nursery in Hayward, WI. This cold storage facility will be called PRT Great Lakes States. The lease will commence on July 1, 2016, and PRT plans to immediately upgrade the refrigeration capabilities in order to cold store containerized forest seedlings at this facility for spring plant seedlings destined for plantations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. PRT grown forest seedlings will arrive at the facility later in 2016 and will be available for local deliveries in 2017. 

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How a barefoot sawmill owner avoided making too much money

Alaska Dispatch News
June 26, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

HOMER — As he has sawed up logs over the last 40 years, the ground has risen up under Steve Gibson’s bare feet. Sawdust and wood chips grow ever deeper on his three acres in the woods east of Homer, like the friendships and conversations that fill the day. Gibson sells lumber. He gives away philosophy, political observations, good advice and knowledge about how to work with wood. “As you kind of approach the look-back period of your life, you know the W-2s are not all in United States currency. There’s all the joy and satisfaction you got,” Gibson said. He said Small Potatoes Lumber makes hardly any money, and that’s how he likes it. “It’s one of the nicer perks of this job, to tell you the truth,” Gibson said.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Kebony Selected for Construction of The Wharf, a World-Class Waterfront Development in Washington, D.C.

Press Release Rocket
June 29, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

WASHINGTON – Kebony was recently selected for use in the construction of The Wharf, a new commercial and residential development in Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River. Opening in October 2017, Kebony will be used for more than 100,000 square feet of decking, as well as cladding on certain store fronts and rooftop decks. Construction of the $2 billion development is currently underway. The Kebony portion of construction will begin in the spring of 2017. The D.C.-based developer duo of PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette teamed up to form Hoffman-Madison Waterfront to create an eclectic mix of uses and public spaces connecting people to the waterfront. Clark Construction Group is constructing the public spaces at The Wharf.

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Strong Growth Projected for Wood-Plastic Composites Market

By Lilli Manolis Sherman
Plastics Technology
June 28, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

North America held the largest share of the multi-billion dollar market in 2015. I remember reporting on wood-plastic composites products, primarily weatherable decking, well over a decade ago when quality issues would steadily crop up. Not only has this market nicely matured with a broad spectrum of quality products, including decking, fencing, railing, trim and automotive parts, but its growth pattern is strong. …The wood-plastic composites market is projected to reach $5.84 billion, at a compound annual growth rate of 12.4% for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021.

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Portland City Council to discuss deconstruction requirements

By Talia Richman
The Oregonian
June 28, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Portland is poised to become the first city in the country to deconstruct its oldest homes rather than demolish them. The City Council on Wednesday will review a policy, effective Oct. 31, that requires homes built in 1916 or earlier be dismantled piece by piece and salvaged rather than knocked down. …But advocates argue the painstaking work will benefit the environment and create jobs while also helping public health — mostly by reducing plumes of lead-tainted dust and asbestos. …many of the homes likely to be deconstructed “are rich with quality materials,” Wood said. “And there’s demand for that material,” he said. “You can’t buy old-growth lumber.”

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Segezha Group to engage in wooden house construction and export

Construction.RU
June 28, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Segezha Group, incorporated in AFK Sistema, plans to engage in wooden house construction, Izvestia newspaper reports on Tuesday. “The company intends to develop wooden house construction, especially as the question of concessional mortgage for such buildings is essential in Russia, whereas in Europe the growth in demand for wood is expected”, – says the newspaper. By 2020, the company plans to export about 10,000 cubic meters of laminated wood structure. 

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Shakespearean-style wooden theatre by Studio Andrew Todd opens in France

Dezeen
June 28, 2016
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Towering bamboo poles encase this cylindrical wooden theatre in France, which opened in a fanfare last week, despite suffering vandalism just a few days before. Designed Paris-based British office Studio Andrew Todd, the Elizabethan theatre is located in the grounds of the historical castle Chateau d’Hardelot near Calais, northern France. Described by the architects as an “incarnation of Franco-British understanding”, the building mimics the design of the Globe Theatre – a round playhouse associated with William Shakespeare that features tiered seating and a standing pit.

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Forestry

SFI progress report shows 500 partner organizations coming together for future forests

Treehugger
June 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, United States

WASHINGTON, DC and OTTAWA, ON — Released today, the 2016 SFI Progress Report – Linking Future Forests to Communities – tells the story of how responsible forestry is helping improve our shared quality of life. The 400 different conservation and research projects reported by SFI Program Participants in 2015, up from 291 projects in 2014, is just one of the powerful stories outlined in this year’s report. These projects, involving more than 500 partner organizations, benefit communities, habitats and multiple species, ranging from woodpeckers and salmon to bears and caribou. These projects are also part of a much bigger story. SFI is working toward a future where the global forest community has addressed deforestation and illegal logging and given people a sense of pride in purchasing forest products derived from a responsibly managed renewable resource.

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Altas documents industrialization of Northern B.C. First Nations’ territory

Blueberry River First Nations say logging, oil and gas and pollution destroying traditional territory
CBC News
June 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new report from the Blueberry River First Nations in northeastern B.C. says industrial activity is destroying their traditional territory. The report, entitled Atlas of cumulative landscape disturbance in the traditional territory of Blueberry River First Nations, found 84 percent of the First Nations’ traditional territory is within 500 metres of an “industrial disturbance” such as an oil or gas well, roadways, forestry cut blocks, agriculture or seismic lines. “That confirms what our people have always known, have always spoke of: our way of life, our very existence, is being wiped out,” Blueberry River Chief Marvin Yahey said on Tuesday.

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Province-wide slash burning sparks controversy

Last year B.C. burnt an estimated 5 million tons of forest fibre critics say could have been put to good use
CBC News
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…It’s is a common forestry practice. Just last year, an estimated five million tons of it went up in flames across the province. The fires are a major contributor to B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2012, slash burning accounted for 13 per cent of the province’s total greenhouse gas emissions, or eight megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to B.C.’s latest greenhouse gas inventory. …And now, one man is calling for a ban on the practice, highlighting the waste’s potential to be converted into bioenergy. “We just think that burning should be restricted altogether,” said Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada. “It’s a valuable resource that is just being wasted.” Murray says slash fibres can be used to create wood pellets, a fuel source that works as a more eco-friendly alternative to coal.

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Geography prof uses drones to hunt mountain pine beetles in Alberta forests

By Sean Myers
The Drone News
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tracking the spread of the mountain pine beetle has been one of the great challenges facing the forestry industry. Currently, the task requires sending teams of forestry officers into the last known areas where trees were attacked, and then spreading out in concentric circles to find where the beetles went next. This must be done once the beetles are dormant in winter. Geography professor Greg McDermid in the Faculty of Arts believes this task can be achieved through remote sensing using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more popularly known as drones.

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Local MLAs weigh in on Englishman River logging

The Parksville Qualicum Beach News
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

“It has to be illegal. I don’t see how they can claim 15-40 metres from the top of the bank,” pleads resident Kurtis Kril in the latest complaint to The NEWS about logging along the Englishman River in Errington. …”There are natural gaps in forest cover,” said Domenico Iannidinardo, TimberWest’s VP Sustainability and Chief Forester. “It might appear from the other side of the river that we harvested to make that hole, but it’s actually just a natural gap in the canopy.” …The company harvested approximately 70 hectares (173 acres) of second generation forest in the area and said it will re-plant in 2017. …MLA Michelle Stilwell said she was familiar with the logging and that the area has been harvested before and will be replanted. 

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B.C. researchers acquire historical collection of dispossessed Japanese Canadian lumber baron

Metro News Vancouver
June 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Eikichi Kagetsu dined with royalty, built up a logging empire in British Columbia, employed hundreds of people and established himself as a leader in the Japanese Canadian community. All that was taken away during the Second World War, when the federal government’s racist wartime policies against those of Japanese heritage saw Kagetsu dispossessed of his properties (to be sold off at a fraction of their worth) and sent to an internment camp. …Kagetsu’s Vancouver Island lumber and oyster businesses, along with his rail line, downtown Vancouver office, and homes in Kerrisdale and West Vancouver, valued at millions in today’s dollars, according to UVic.

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Strathlorne Nursery to seek new business and clients

‘We feel a broader outlook is necessary,’ says Jonathan Kierstead with the Department of Natural Resources
CBC News
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The publicly owned Strathlorne Forest Nursery near Inverness grows more than three million tree seedlings a year, but officials are now looking to grow the site in other ways to maximize economic development opportunities. A recent community meeting, organized by the provincial Department of Natural Resources, invited people to bring ideas about how to gain new clients and customers. “We want to unlock the value of our assets at DNR,” said the department’s director of forestry, Jonathan Kierstead. Two ideas that came out of that gathering were the possibility of growing sod for the two nearby golf courses, Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs, and a suggestion that medical marijuana could be cultivated at Strathlorne, he said.

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Bogs drained due to human intervention contribute to wildfires: Ontario researcher

The Canadian Press in The Chronicle Herald
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

New research from an Ontario professor indicates that bogs dried for logging or other purposes can experience catastrophic deep burns that can last for months and contribute to the spread of wildfires in both Canada and northern Europe. But Mike Waddington of McMaster University says his research, published Monday in Nature Scientific Reports, also shows peat bogs — wetlands with dead plant material and mosses — can be restored through “re-wetting,” which can help mitigate the spread of fires because they act as natural barriers. Waddington has studied the severity and recovery of wildfires in the Slave Lake, Alta., area in 2011, and one in southern Ontario that showed dried bogs were permanently damaged and fundamentally altered.

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Government Leaders Recognize the Value of SFI Program for Sustainable Forest Management and Responsible Procurement

By The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.
PR Newswire
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

WASHINGTON — Elected leaders and federal administrators issued statements Monday – in one case a decision by a federal agency, in another a letter from a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators to a federal agency – that both point to the important role of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program in advancing sustainable forestry and providing pathways for responsible procurement. …”The SFI community is a leader in protecting and enhancing water quality through its standard requirements and training harvesting professionals. We are pleased that the EPA has recognized it can rely on this robust framework to achieve water quality goals,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

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New community forest established in Raymond

Lewiston Sun Journal
June 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

RAYMOND — The Loon Echo Land Trust completed its purchase of the Raymond Community Forest from Hancock Land Co. for the town on June 21. The forest encompasses a 356-acre parcel of land to the east of Crescent Lake bisected by Conesca Road. This new community forest offers long-term benefits for the town, including protection of the quality of Raymond’s waterways and wildlife, as well as exceptional views to and from Pismire Mountain. The Raymond Conservation Commission had its eyes on the property since developing its Open Space Plan in 2009. The land conservation project was first proposed by the Raymond Conservation Commission and Loon Echo Land Trust in 2012.

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Millions of caterpillars are decimating the trees in New England

The Washington Post
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

When the European gypsy moth hatches, it is born as a furry little caterpillar. They emerge from their eggs in the spring and proceed to feed mercilessly on the surrounding foliage. Tree leaves and coniferous needles are the primary target of this tiny scourge, and if you happen to live in the middle of an infestation, you may feel as if the plague has descended on your own home. This is what’s happening in New England. Caterpillars are everywhere, trees are decimated, and the skyline looks like the middle of winter. “The tree damage is found in pockets that consist of just a few trees in a yard here and there to several acres completely defoliated,” Phil Burt, a meteorologist in Massachusetts, told The Washington Post. Burt said that, at least in Brewster, Mass., the caterpillars are “probably at their worst since the early to mid-1980s.”

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Forestry department hires longleaf pine, pine beetle program coordinator

Tidewater News
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

James “Jim” Schroering is the Virginia Department of Forestry’s new Longleaf Pine and Southern Pine Beetle Prevention coordinator. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in forestry from Purdue University, and has extensive experience with pine management and public outreach through his work with forest products companies, Virginia Cooperative Extension and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Schroering will work closely with VDOF foresters, Virginia’s forest landowners and a number of cooperators (The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage program, Meadowview Biological Research Station and the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries) to promote longleaf planting, prescribed burning and good pine management practices.

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Forestry summer camp prepares students to become master foresters

Clemson University
June 28, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA — Deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Clemson University forestry students are hard at work. As they trek up Whiteside Mountain, they collect an array of plant and tree species while identifying topographical traits of the area. The students were participating in one of the many aspects of the Clemson Forestry Summer Camp, a seven-week program designed to give students hands-on experience in the field of forestry. A curriculum unique to the Clemson forestry and environmental conservation department, the camp enables professors to provide experiential learning in varied environments.

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One of New York City’s Biggest Trees Gets a Second Life as Furniture

From RE-CO BKLYN
Press Release Rocket
June 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

When a massive European Elm tree in Prospect Park died in in late 2015, the NYC Parks Department asked RE-CO BKLYN to mill it into lumber and make furniture from it. Most of NYC’s felled trees get chipped and sent to a landfill that is often hundreds of miles away. Turning this material into lumber and furniture cuts down on the environmental burden of disposal and stimulates the local economy. The century and a half old tree was located near a footpath at the intersection of Coney Island and Caton Ave. It was planted circa 1870, shortly after construction on the park began. Over the course of the tree’s life it grew beyond 7 feet in diameter and more than 75 feet in height.

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Forest owners prepared to play their part for the enviroment

from NZ Forest Owners Association
Scoop Independent News
June 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Forest Owners Association says there are forest based solutions to some of the issues raised in the report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright. The Chair of the joint Forest Owners and New Zealand Farm Foresters Associations’ Environment Committee, Peter Weir, says New Zealand’s plantation forests lock up millions of tonnes of carbon. “Once we get a real carbon price going under the Emissions Trading Scheme then the area and the carbon our forests lock up will increase again. That helps address what Dr Wright calls, ”climate change … by far the serious environmental issue we face”. But Peter Weir says blanket planting on highly erodible land of short rotation pinus radiata for clear-fell is not an optimum solution.

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Forestry sale planned

New Zealand Herald
June 29, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The value of the Whanganui District Council forestry portfolio, coupled with its carbon credits, could reap a harvest of more than $10 million. The council’s joint forestry committee meets today and both the sale of about 1000ha of its plantations and the potential to sell of its 61,000 carbon credits are on the agenda. Councillor Ray Stevens, who chairs the committee, said he was “definitely” expecting the committee to make some progress with the planned sale of the forestry lots. Mr Stevens said the committee had been negotiating with agents and “all going well we should have a sale path in place to see the sale concluded in the first quarter of next year”. “I’d be expecting the sale to at least reach valuation or exceed it.”

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Forest Fires

Fort Mac fire chief wants building code changes

Radio Canada International
June 28, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The man in charge of the battle against the massive wildfire in Fort McMurray wants changes to the way houses are built to avoid future devastation, reports Canadian Press. The fire that engulfed this western Canadian city gutted thousands of homes and forced people to evacuate the area for a month. Fort McMurray is surrounded by dense boreal forest which naturally, periodically catches fire and then regenerates. Fire Chief Darby Allen says houses should be built further away from the forest and must be made out of materials less likely to catch fire. Mayor to change cedar roofing – It can be difficult to change municipal building codes in Canada, says Allen, but after the fire residents may support such changes.

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Lightning starts 7 new fires in N.W.T. over the weekend

Crews fighting 2 hectare blaze 5 km east of Fort Liard
CBC News
June 28, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lightning ignited seven new forest fires in the Northwest Territories since Friday, bringing the total number of fires this season to 24. Amber Simpson, a wildfire information officer, said so far 12 fires have been put out, 10 fires are being monitored, and two fires are being acted upon. “[Fire] FS-010 is about five kilometres east of Fort Liard in the Dehcho region. It is about two hectares in size and is being initial attacked by crews and air support,” Simpson said. Fire crews are also providing support to protect assets near a fire 200 hectares in size in the South Slave region. Simpson said record high temperatures are in the forecast this week for many parts of the territory. “For weather, fire danger is high to extreme in most areas of the southwest N.W.T. and high to medium in the Inuvik and Sahtu regions,” Simpson said.

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Crews back in woods to fight fire in Cumberland County

Cape Breton Post
June 28, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

FENWICK – Fire crews are back in the woods near Fenwick fighting a forest fire that began mid-afternoon Monday. “They were back out there at about 6 this morning,” Cumberland County’s EMO co-ordinator Mike Johnson said. “It’s still a pretty big fire, but they’ve built a firebreak around the fire and are now working at it from the outside in.” Several fire departments joined with Natural Resources on Monday in fighting the fire between the Mines Road in Chignecto and the P Noiles Road in Fenwick. The fire is approximately five to seven kilometres from Amherst, but just a couple of kilometres from the popular maple camps.

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Forest fire burning outside community of Pollard’s Point

CBC News
June 28, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Water bombers have been dispatched to a forest fire outside the community of Pollard’s Point in White Bay. The province’s fire duty officer, Basil English, said the blaze was reported around 3:30 p.m. and is burning about 15 kilometres outside of the community. Wind is blowing the fire away from the town. Two water bombers and a ground crew have been sent to the area, and a helicopter was on the way around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. English said it’s too early to say how big the fire is.<END>

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Ravalli County begins preparing for possible evacuation; Observation fire growing worse

The Missoulian
June 28, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

HAMILTON – Strong winds and unexpected fire behavior late Tuesday afternoon prompted the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office to begin notifying some residents near Lost Horse Road to prepare for possible evacuation because of the Observation fire. The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office announced a Stage 1 alert, meaning a high probability of needing to evacuate for Gold Creek, including Whispering Pines and Highland Drive south to U.S. Highway 93 to Lost Horse Road and including both sides of Lost Horse Road. Law enforcement will attempt to make personal visits to each resident and business living in the affected area. The fire grew much worse at about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon when it jumped the eastern ridge and ran laterally down the east slope. At that point, all fire crews, more than 110, were pulled off the line because of “extreme fire behavior,” the forest service reported.

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The Latest: Wildfire spreads near Northern California river

Associated Press in the Washington Post
June 28, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Officials say evacuations are underway at a rural subdivision 50 miles northeast of Sacramento, California, as a wildfire climbs out of a steep canyon along the Middle Fork of the American River. Placer County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin says homes near Todd Valley between the cities of Foresthill and Auburn are being evacuated as a 250-acre fire grows. She did not know how many homes are affected, but says the fire is approaching a subdivision with large lots and a scattered population. The fire began Tuesday afternoon in El Dorado County before jumping the river and climbing out of the canyon into neighboring Placer County. California Department of Forestry and Fire protection spokeswoman Lynnette Round says firefighters in the air and on the ground are working in 101-degree heat.

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5 palm oil firms face lawsuit over forest fires

Jakarta Post
June 29, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

The government is gearing up to take some of the alleged perpetrators of last year’s massive forest fires to court for the first time. However, an environmental organization has lamented the limited scope of the action in comparison to the profound damage caused by the fires. The Environment and Forestry Ministry is in the final stage of filing civil lawsuits against five palm oil companies allegedly responsible for some of the 2015 forest fires, a tragedy that has been called a crime against humanity as it killed 19 people, mostly children, and caused more than US$16 billion in economic losses. Amid public pressure, the government decided to hand down administrative sanctions to 23 companies suspected of being behind the land and forest fires last year. These companies had their land-clearing licenses either revoked or frozen for their failure to act to prevent the fires, which led to the worst pollution in the region for almost two decades.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Study shows trees with altered lignin are better for biofuels

Biomass Magazine
June 28, 2016
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

Lignin is a natural component of plant cell walls, the scaffolding that surrounds each cell and plays a pivotal role in plants’ ability to grow against gravity and reach heights ranging from stubbly grasses to the sky-scraping splendor of redwoods. But lignin is a problem for scientists interested in converting plant biomass to biofuels and other sustainable biobased products. Lignin makes it hard to break down the plant matter so its carbon-rich building blocks can be converted into forms suitable for generating energy or running automobiles. A simple solution might be to engineer plants with less lignin. But
previous attempts to do this have often resulted in weaker plants and
stunted growth—essentially putting the brakes on biomass production.

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