Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 17, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Forest fire status – City of Williams Lake ordered to evacuate

Tree Frog Forestry News
July 17, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Forest fire status – City of Williams Lake ordered to evacuate:

  • Thousands evacuate Williams Lake by school bus
  • Smoke was billowing in behind us: BC wildfire evacuees arriving in Kamloops
  • A tour of fire scene – blackened and smouldering earth (Kelowna/Vernon)
  • Whittier fire in Los Padres National Forest consumes more than 18,000 acres 

Fire and forest management news:

  • Forget Smokey the Bear: How First Nation fire wisdom is key to megafire prevention (Okanagan)
  • Local author advocates for proper forest management (Thunder Bay)
  • Panel criticizes rules that prevent using helicopters to fight fires on federal land (Montana)
  • Fighting forest fires with technology: How drones and infrared cameras could be game-changers (California)

Fire and business news:

  • Forest fires force up timber prices 
  • Canfor closes Vavenby, BC sawmill
  • BC log home business featured on HGTV show devastated by wildfire (Williams Lake)
  • Firefighters battle MDF Fire until early morning hours (Columbia Falls)

And finally, one fire story with a positive twist:

  • Cross-laminated timber fire testing sees promising results
— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Canfor Corporation’s Stock Price Is Soaring Despite Softwood Lumber Issues

By David Jagielski
The Motley Fool Canada
July 17, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Canfor Corporation has operations in Canada and the U.S. and is a leading producer of integrated forest products. The company also owns the majority stake (53.6%) of Canfor Pulp Products Inc, which is in the pulp and paper industry and operates in B.C. …But you wouldn’t know there is a problem by looking at Canfor’s stock price, as, year to date, the price has increased over 31%. Part of this is likely that a lot of the risk was already priced into the stock as many people saw these issues coming and some would argue the duties were actually lower than expected. That could, of course, all change once the final duties are known, since investors may be expecting the final duties to come in lower (which has happened in the past).

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B.C. log home business featured on HGTV show devastated by wildfire

CTV News
July 13, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The owners of a well-known business are among those dealing with loss amid several devastating wildfires in B.C.’s Interior. Four one-of-a-kind log cabin homes being built near Williams Lake were destroyed when flames swept through the area on a property owned by Pioneer Log Homes of B.C. The company’s multi-million-dollar mansions have been featured on “Timber Kings,” a show that airs on HGTV and is watched by audiences around the world. A wildfire swept through one of the three yards featured on the show, located at 150 Mile House.

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Forest fires force up timber prices

By Su-San Sit
Supply Management – Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply
July 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfires in Canada have forced the shutdown of several sawmills, resulting in a hike in timber prices and further pressure on an industry already hit by US duties. Speaking exclusively to SM, Hakan Ekstrom, president of analysts Wood Resources International, said shutdowns due to forest fires were expected by the industry, but the closures had come at an inopportune time for the North American market. He said buyers within the system had already been wary about building up inventories after the US annouced plans to introduce duties of up to 24% on lumber exports from Canada in May. On top of the uncertainty created by the new duties, British Colombia’s wildfire crisis took hold just as Quebec’s forest sector began its annual two-week summer shutdown.

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Wood chip pile fire doused

By Kate Bouey
Castanet
July 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lumby firefighters, with help from Lavington crews, doused a wood chip pile fire Saturday night in the middle of the village. “It spontaneously combusted,” said Lumby Fire Chief Tony Clayton. The fire department was called out around 7 p.m. “It was right in town, almost behind the fire department,” Clayton said, describing the location of the fire. The wood chips are a reserve pile for Tolko Industries, he said. Two Lumby fire trucks with ten firefighters plus a tender and crew from Lavington fought the fire for about three hours.

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Canfor closes Vavenby sawmill

BC Local News
July 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor announced Sunday morning that it is closing its Vavenby sawmill operation due to the forest fire situation. In a letter sent to employees and contractors, the forest company noted that an evacuation alert has been issued for the District of Clearwater, with some properties now under an evacuation order. Information on the evacuation alert and order areas is available on the District of Clearwater website – www.districtofclearwater.com. “While our Vavenby division is not directly impacted by the order and is not in immediate danger from the fire, the vast majority of our Vavenby employees and contractors are impacted by the evacuation alert and need to focus now on their families and their safety by preparing to evacuate the region,” the letter read. 

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Nova Scotia’s softwood lumber deal eyed with envy

July 17, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Woodlot owners across the country are looking at Nova Scotia and hoping they can get the same deal under the ongoing U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute. “We’ve been working with the federal government since the dispute began to seek an exemption for wood from private lands,” Peter deMarsh, president of the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners, said in an interview. …In June, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross excluded three Atlantic Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, from those duties. …“Those provinces have received the exemption we are looking for because they are receiving their wood from private lands,” said Rick Doucett, president of the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Producers, in an interview.

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Tembec’s largest shareholder opposes takeover by Rayonier Advanced Materials

Canadian Press in the Chronicle Journal
July 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

MONTREAL – Tembec’s largest shareholder says it will vote against the sale of the forestry company to Rayonier Advanced Materials unless the offer price is raised. In an open letter to shareholders sent Friday, Oaktree Capital Management says Tembec’s shareholders are not receiving a fair value. …Patrick McCaney, Oaktree’s managing director and portfolio manager, says if the offer is not raised, Tembec shareholders would be better off to remain independent. He adds that Florida-based Rayonier is the big winner because it faces a challenging future unless it is able to add Tembec to reposition its business away from the declining acetate market. Tembec declined to comment while Rayonier couldn’t be reached for comment.

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New owner working to ‘get it right’ in reopening former Nippon site

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
July 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West


PORT ANGELES — McKinley Paper Co. vice president of operations said his company is taking a measured approach to transforming the former Nippon Paper Industries USA paper mill at Ediz Hook, purchased March 31 by the Mexican-owned cardboard linerboard manufacturer. “The industry has gotten so competitive and gotten so integrated that it truly has become a product of globalization, so we have to make sure to take our time and get it right,” Herb Baez said Friday during a 10-minute presentation to a gathering of three dozen regional and North Olympic Peninsula community and business leaders brought together by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. The luncheon meeting at Peninsula College, facilitated by Clallam County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Bob Schroeter, was a stop on the Seattle chamber’s two-day, In-State Study Mission to the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, which included stops in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

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Firefighters battle MDF Fire until early morning hours

By Chris Peterson
Daily Inter Lake
July 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Columbia Falls and a host of other fire departments worked until 1 a.m. Friday morning to put out a sawdust fire at the Weyerhaeuser Medium Density Fiberboard plant. …There were no injuries, though one firefighter was treated for dehydration. Whitefish, Evergreen and Three Rivers Ambulance all responded to the blaze, which included flames, smoke and smoldering sawdust, Best said. Weyerhaeuser spokesman Tom Ray said nothing major was damaged in the fire and the plant was operating.

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Value of logs exported three times exported lumber

By Wood Resources International LLC
Scoop Independent News
July 15, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The total value of logs exported from New Zealand in the 1Q/17 was almost three times as high as the value of exported lumber, reports the Wood Resource QuarterlyGlobal Timber and Wood Products Market Update. Over 50% of the timber harvest in New Zealand is being exported in log form. However, some sawmills in the country have taken advantage of the growing demand for softwood lumber in the US the past few years, with the total export value having gone 37% from 2012 to 2016, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. …No country in the world exports a higher percentage of its harvested conifer timber in unprocessed form than New Zealand.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Cross-laminated timber fire testing sees promising results

By Angel Kipfer
Woodworking Network
July 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

LEESBURG, Va. – The International Code Council Ad-hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings provided five fire scenarios that were tested in each of the two one-bedroom apartments constructed using mass timber in a multi-story apartment building. The test scenarios included various arrangements of exposed and unexposed cross-laminated timber (CLT) with open doors between living and sleeping areas while the effectiveness of automatic sprinkler systems was simultaneously evaluated. …“The results of these fire tests will continue to be studied and will help inform code change recommendations from the Ad-hoc Committee later this year,” said Stephen J. DiGiovanni, P.E., Ad-hoc Committee Chair and Fire Protection Engineer for the Clark County (NV) Department of Building and Fire Protection. 

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Forestry

Burning questions

By Anne DeGrace
Nelson Star
July 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…The running updates on the CBC news, the recollection that, yes, we had planned to clear that dry underbrush around our rural homes, and the knowledge that legions of firefighters are out there right now in a hell of heat and sweat and smoke is ever-present. …Forest fire is nothing new. In 1825 more than a million hectares of forest became cinder in New Brunswick’s famous Miramichi fire. The largest recorded fire in North American history took place in northern B.C. and Alberta in 1950, encompassing 1,700,000 hectares of land. …We can speculate on the effects of climate change, mountain pine beetle, and the reduction of prescribed burns on the prevalence of wildfire—and we do. Although it doesn’t change the situation at hand, it’s good to understand the burning question of how we got here, so that when we are asked to clear brush, conserve water, and put up with a little smoke during a prescribed burn, we’re individually compliant in the interests of safety for all.

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Firefighters in dry Williams Lake say it ‘was just a matter of time’

By Gordon Hoekstra
The Vancouver Sun
July 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

WILLIAMS LAKE — Dustin Duncan was sitting in his backyard Friday afternoon last week watching his four-year-old daughter play in a kiddie pool, when lightning struck the hillside above his community. Duncan, 29, a member of the Williams Lake Indian Band, was hoping to take a break this summer from fighting wildfires with the province. Often, it would take him away for months at a time from his daughter Samantha. When he saw within minutes the black smoke billowing from the lightning strike area, he knew there would be no break. On Friday afternoon, Duncan and community firefighters Dave Cady and Scott Williams were searching out hot spots in the blackened and fire-scarred hillside, above the Coyote Rock Golf Course, part of their First Nation’s territory. It’s dirty work for the crew, who would normally be working for the community-owned Borland Creek Logging.

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Pine-beetle disaster could have been avoided

By Wayne Martineau
Victoria Times Colonist
July 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Urban and rural residents in B.C. have never been further apart. The rural-urban divide in the current government shows deep divisions. The pine-beetle epidemic highlights some of these divisive issues. An environmental haven for pine beetles in Tweedsmuir Park is a telling example of the huge differences in urban and rural views of the world. Two pine beetles had access to a mature pine forest that was due to die from old age, because pine trees 80 to 100 years old are at the end of their lifespan. The urban environmental zealots had the political will and power to enforce their view that all parks and protected areas in B.C. would not be managed to protect neighbouring resource-based land. These two beetles began breeding at a ferocious rate. Hundreds or even thousands of beetles are required to kill one tree, and the 989,616-hectare park contained hundreds of millions of mature pine trees. An epidemic of dead pine trees rapidly spread through the park.

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Forest-fire budget is set too low

Letter by Cam Bailey
Victoria Times Colonist
July 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Between the 2003-04 and 2014-15 forest fire seasons, B.C. had only two years where the spending for forest firefighting has been less than forecast (three times if you count the expanded budget in 2009-10). The average annual expenditure has been $177 million over those 12 seasons, yet for the past five years, including this one, the fire service has been allocated only $63 million to fight fires, necessitating emergency funding by the province. Perhaps it’s time to budget a more realistic amount instead of this annual scramble when things don’t go as the bean-counters planned. [END OF LETTER]

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Forget Smokey the Bear: How First Nation fire wisdom is key to megafire prevention

By Yvette Brend
CBC News
July 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The grandchildren of Annie Kruger remember her lighting an Export A Green cigarette, throwing on her logger’s jacket and heading out to set fires near Penticton, B.C. Before she died she was a firekeeper — as were generations before her in the Okanagan region of the province — and it was her job to use flames to purify the land by setting fire to berry bushes, hillsides and even mountains to renew growth and clear brush and create natural fireguards. “Our family have been firekeepers for thousands of years,” said Pierre Kruger, Annie’s son. Kruger cited several big fires he said his family started hundreds of years ago when lines of Kou-Skelowh people walked beating drums to warn wildlife before setting fire to what’s now called Sylix territory. “We warned the birds and four-leggeds,” he said. “My mother taught us every fire is like a snowflake — no two are alike.”

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Local author advocates for proper forest management

By Michael Charlebois
TB Newswatch
July 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY – One local author believes Northwestern Ontario has the potential to set up itself for wildfire disaster, similar to the current spree in British Columbia. Malcolm Squires, and his new book “Dynamic Forest” advocates for clear-cutting and even-aged management in order to protect the boreal forest from disastrous wildfires and the threat of invasive species. Squires has worked as a professional forester for over 50 years, and has been in the Northwestern Ontario region since 1980. A vocal advocate for his cause, Squires started writing articles in 2012 for the Chronicle Journal. His pieces explained to the local community how the forest behaves relative to natural and human disturbance.

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No mating for tree killers: New Brunswick researchers test new ways of controlling spruce budworm populations

By Viola Pruss
CBC News
July 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Researchers are testing new ways of keeping another spruce budworm outbreak from happening – by stopping the worm’s moth from reproducing. The worms, which can defoliate and kill entire trees, are already wreaking havoc in the Matapedia region of Quebec and scientists are warning it may not be long before they reach New Brunswick. To stop them, Rosanne Lamb and Glen Forbes with the Canadian Forest Service have set up a ‘mating disruption’ project in the Acadia Research Forest east of Fredericton. They’ve build a cage made from fine mesh that insects can neither enter nor exit, in which they keep a seedling fir tree and a couple of budworm moths. “In the cage we have strings hanging from the top that at different levels throughout that have a pheromone lure on it,” said Forbes. “The idea is that the pheromone we put in here will confuse the males from finding the females.”

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Healthy forests make a healthy economy and life

By economist Steve Ruddell, professional forester and president of CarbonVerde, LLC
The Durango Herald
July 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

If managed to be healthy, forests are the best example of a naturally sustainable resource. …Because of these threats [fire, drought, insects, disease], it is estimated that up to 80 million acres of national forest system lands are in need of restoration. Wildfires predominately threaten western states like Colorado and now consume about 50 percent of the US Forest Service budget. …An important forest health bill has been making its way through Congressional hearings for the past couple of years and on June 20, H.R. 2936, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017, was re-introduced. This bill provides protection to the national forest system by implementing proactive management standards intended to lessen the threat of wildfires and other risks. Rep. Scott Tipton is a co-sponsor of this bill.

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Fighting forest fires with technology: How drones and infrared cameras could be game-changers

By Marcia Young
CBC News
July 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Along with a team of fellow researchers at the University of California Berkeley, astrophysicist Carlton Pennypacker is determined to help address the growing wildfire threat. Since 2013, his team has been been working away in the lab to develop a system they call the Fire Urgency Estimator in Geosynchronous Orbit (FUEGO). It harnesses innovative drone and satellite technology to help monitor wildfires in their early stages — long before they begin to burn out of control. FUEGO can locate and track fires using drones, planes and satellites mounted with special infared cameras. The software is able to pinpoint potentially threatening fires and immediately dispatch air tankers and ground firefighters to the area before they start to spread. …”It’s probably five years before we’ll have a huge effectiveness,” Pennypacker says. “I think we can have some modest effectiveness almost immediately. We’re not going stop all fires. [But] I think a lot of the pieces of the system are ready to go. “The future is quite optimistic on this, and I think we have a lot of hope for doing this.”

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The Government Is Now the Yellowstone Grizzly’s Biggest Threat

By Thomas McNamee
New York Times
July 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In March 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the Yellowstone grizzly bear population from the list of threatened species. The uproar was ferocious. …Now the government has gone and done it anyway. Why? Because, foremost, the service’s biologists and administrators believe that the population has recovered to self-sustainability. …The Yellowstone grizzly’s food system is collapsing. One of the bears’ most important sources of nutrition has been the seeds of the whitebark pine, but the tree is under a double attack. The native mountain pine beetle has historically been kept in check by periodic deep freezes, but there haven’t been any of those for years now, and this beetle has been killing pine species throughout the Rocky Mountains. The other attacker is the nonnative white pine blister rust, a deadly fungus that attacks the stems of the trees.

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Panel criticizes rules that prevent using helicopters to fight fires on federal land in Montana

By Brett French
The Billings Gazette
July 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Despite an agreement worked out last year, a group of Montana legislators is reigniting a debate over why state helicopters can’t be used to fight federal fires except when lives are threatened. On Wednesday the Environmental Quality Council — composed of 12 legislators and four members of the public who met by conference call — unanimously approved sending a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke stating their displeasure with the federal standards. “Regarding the issue relative to the Department of Agriculture, there appears to be an ongoing refusal on the part of the federal government and the Forest Service to allow our Montana (MT-205) helicopters to be classified as approved aircraft for initial attack on federal lands,” the letter stated.

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MeadWestvaco marks end of an era

Letter by John Martin & Rose Lane
The Post and Courier
July 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The dismantling in a decade of MeadWestvaco’s timberlands in South Carolina, as reported in “Mission Complete,” July 3 Business section, while making financial sense to WestRock, is disheartening to those who knew those lands and worked in the forest industry. The approximately 500,000 acres assembled and managed in South Carolina over 75-plus years represented some of the most productive forests in the country. Science-based management practices raised productivity levels three- to fourfold, while providing multiple use opportunities and working to continually improve environmental performance and accountability. The Westvaco way was renowned and foresters came to learn from around the world. Company foresters were prominent leaders in the profession at the local, state and national levels, addressing the full range of forest issues and education on industrial, private and public lands.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Firm uses wood for clean energy

By Wichit Chaitrong
The Nation Thailand Portal
July 17, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Solar farms, wind farms and biomass farms have been scaling up around the world as governments and the private sector join forces, adopting renewable energy strategies to combat climate change caused by fossil-fuel emissions. Wattanapong Thongsoi, managing director of the Tipawat Corporation Ltd, has run his biomass fuel business since 2011. The son of a rubber farmer wants to explore the potential for renewable energy, hoping to find a higher and stable income from it. Wattanapong set up factory in Lop Buri province to produce wood logs, chips, pellets and other fibre products to feed biomassenergy generators. He also exports wood pellets to South Korea and Japan. Annual sales are about Bt10 million.

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Forest Fires

‘Smoke was billowing in behind us’: B.C. wildfire evacuees arriving in Kamloops

By Lian Britten
CBC News
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Exhausted Williams Lake, B.C., residents are arriving in Kamloops after wildfires caused an evacuation order forcing them to navigate traffic-choked highways for hours. About 24,000 people were affected by Saturday evening’s evacuation order. Officials have said they believe about 60 per cent of residents have left so far. Before the Williams Lake evacuation, the province estimated more than 17,400 evacuees had registered with the Canadian Red Cross, many making their way to evacuation centres set up in Prince George and Kamloops.

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Mitigating disaster: teens spend summer in forest preventing wildfires

By Tanya Fletcher
CBC News
July 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As hundreds of firefighters battle B.C. wildfires, a handful of teens are spending their summer in the forest, working to prevent those fires from starting in the first place. It’s part of a wildfire mitigation program in Logan Lake, a small town in the B.C. Interior, about 50 kilometres southeast of the Ashcroft fire. The student-based fire prevention program began in 2013 and is jointly run through the local district and the YMCA. …This year’s team is made up of seven local students aged between 14 and 18. …But the students also take the job seriously. Holmstrup sees it as a privilege — and duty — to protect his community. “It feels good. It feels like I’m doing some good work for the town. It feels like I’m making a difference.”

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Wildfires displace more than 37,000 evacuees

By Katya Slepian
Nanaimo News Bulletin
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

There are more than 37,000 wildfire evacuees in B.C. as of late Sunday morning, according to transportation minister Todd Stone. “Today we have just about 2,900 people on the fires,” said forestry minister John Rustad. The province has 24 helicopters up in the air but strong winds are affecting air operations. “Unfortunately yesterday we did lose a helicopter in a crash.” The accident, which occurred in the Chilcotin area, has left the pilot in stable condition, said chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.

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Officials ‘scrambling’ to meet needs of B.C. wildfire evacuees: minister

Canadian Press in News 1130
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Fast-moving wildfires in British Columbia are posing serious challenges for crews fighting to keep the flames from more than a dozen communities, officials said Sunday. As many as 37,000 residents have been forced to leave their homes and are flooding into crowded evacuation centres amid a provincial state of emergency that Transportation Minister Todd Stone said could last “many weeks.” More evacuation orders were issued Saturday night as winds picked up in the Interior, jumping highways and threatening to cut off escape routes. Thousands of residents who were told to leave the central Interior city of Williams Lake headed south to Kamloops, which has already become a temporary home for thousands displaced by wildfires this year.

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Crews battle Verdant Creek forest fire in Kootenay National Park as smoke drifts over Alberta

By Dave Dormer
CBC News
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Crews continue to battle a wildfire in the Verdant Creek area west of Calgary, which has forced the closure of parts of Banff and Kootenay National Parks and prompted air quality alerts for much of southern Alberta. First spotted on Saturday morning, the fire was estimated to be between 150 and 200 hectares. Officials said it grew in size overnight but conditions were too smoky on Sunday to estimate its size. “It’s a very narrow valley with very steep terrain so it’s not safe at this time to put crews on the ground,” said Jane Park, incident commander for the fire. “We’ve primarily been actioning the fire through bucketing with helicopter resources. We’ve managed to work on some of the flanks we’re trying to keep from spreading … but it’s fairly difficult with these conditions and the wind we’re experiencing right now.”

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Area L and H on evacuation alert: Green Lake, Horse Lake, Highway 24 corridor, Mahood Lake

By Max Winkelman
Quesnel Observer
July 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

An evacuation alert has been issued for the whole of Electoral areas L and H within the Cariboo Regional District. The alert extends the existing alert in the area from Forest Grove to the east boundary of area H, north to the south side of Canim Lake and includes the south side of Mahood Lake. It includes all of Electoral Area L, which includes Horse Lake, Lone Butte, the north part of Green Lake, the Interlakes and the Highway 24 corridor to Lac des Roches. It also extends the alert in Area G east of Highway 97 to the west boundary of Area L, north to the District of 100 Mile House and south to the south boundary of the Cariboo Regional District.

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Narrative: B.C.’s wildfires began with a lightning strike on July 6, sparking fear and uncertainty for thousands

By Denise Ryan, Rob Shaw, Gordon Hoekstra and Jennifer Saltman
Vancouver Sun
July 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

It was 1:14 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, when the B.C. Wildfire Service warned on Twitter about a two-hectare fire, about the size of two playing fields, that was burning just west of 100 Mile House. The blaze along the Gustafsen North Forest Service Road, thought to be caused by lightning, was driven by high temperatures and strong winds, with no rain in the forecast for more than a week. Mitch Campsall, the part-time mayor of 100 Mile House, was working at his bottled water company when his fire chief phoned that afternoon. It was his first briefing on the fire, but there would be many, many more to come. “Firefighters, forestry workers, team leaders were letting us know what we had, what was going on, and how serious it was getting,” Campsall recalled. “It was expanding pretty fast. … By Friday, we realized this was going to be a monster.”

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B.C. wildfire status: List of latest evacuation orders

By Jon Azpiri
Global News
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A number of B.C. wildfires were fueled by heavy winds Saturday, leading to a number of new evacuation orders. Here is a look at some of the latest evacuation orders that have come in since Saturday. The City of Williams Lake and several surrounding areas have been ordered to evacuate. The following areas are being evacuated: [story carries long list of regions evacuated due to fire]
a

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Extent of damage remains unclear as winds fan B.C. wildfires

Canadian Press in CTV News
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Wildfires across British Columbia have torn through several communities, but officials say the number of homes, businesses and other structures lost remains unclear. Hot, windy weather has fanned flames across the province, including near Ashcroft, where a fire has now burned through 423 square kilometres. Fire information officer Ellie Dupont said the blaze has gone through a few towns, but she could not say how many buildings were destroyed. She said the fire is burning very aggressively because of the weather, the dry fuel and the region’s topography. Every specialist who has come in to work on the fire over the past week has made a comment about how “nasty” the fire is, she said. …Cariboo Regional District Chairman Al Richmond said that the flames had not reached Williams Lake on Sunday, but he and the mayor decided to issue the evacuation order because the fire threatened to cut exit routes.

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Thousands evacuate Williams Lake by school bus

BC Local News
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thousands of evacuees from Williams Lake and the surrounding areas spilled out onto Hwy. 97 south Saturday evening following an evacuation order due to the wildfires. Gusting winds in the region are causing fires to grow and spread. BC Wildfire Service ground crews have been pulled out of the area. Several large fires are burning out of control around the city; the Spokin Lake fire, the Fox Mountain fire and the Wildwood fire, all just east of Williams Lake, irrupted with the strong winds. …When the fire jumped the bridge, it went up the highway, forcing officials to change their evacuation plans. Currently, Hwy. 97 north of Williams Lake is again open for evacuees. Hundreds of RCMP officers are on scene to help with the evacuation.

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Jumbo jet to fight fires still grounded

By Keith Ridler
Associated Press in Santa Fe New Mexican
July 15, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho — A giant aircraft that can fly high above oceans on intercontinental flights instead jets in low and slow over a flaming forest, trailing a long plume that settles on the ground and creates a wildfire-stopping barrier. The operators of the Boeing 747 converted from a passenger jet into a firefighting air tanker say it has proven itself battling forest fires in countries outside the U.S. The modifications allow it to drop more than 19,000 gallons (72,000 litres) of a flame-squelching combination of ammonium phosphate and sulfate mixed with water that comes billowing out in a red-colored line. “We just happen to be the biggest, fastest firetruck in the air,” said Jim Wheeler, CEO of Global SuperTanker Services. But the company says the U.S. Forest Service is seeking to keep the plane grounded by offering a contract limiting firefighting aircraft to 5,000 gallons (18,900 litres) of fire suppressant and won’t say why. 

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Want To Fly A Drone Over A Wildfire? Don’t, Forest Service Says. Here’s Why

By Ann Marie Awad
Colorado Public Radio
July 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Colorado has seen more than 10 wildfires so far this summer, and as if the flames were not formidable enough, fire management crews have a new and different problem on their hands when they go to work: drones. The National Interagency Fire Center says unauthorized drones have been detected over or near wildfires 17 times this year in nine western states. Of those incidents, 14 caused aerial firefighting operations to be grounded entirely. Last year, unauthorized drones cropped up near wildfires more than 40 times, grounding air operations more than half the time. In one instance, the remote-controlled aircraft with cameras disrupted efforts to contain the Lightner fire in Southeast Colorado about four times in four days.

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Crews battling wildfire near Rock Creek

By David Erickson
The Missoulian
July 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Firefighters are taking on a wildfire about 27 miles southeast of Missoula near Rock Creek Road. The 30-40 acre Slide Rock fire was located from the air on Thursday afternoon and is burning in remote terrain about nine miles south of Beavertail Pond on the Missoula Ranger District. About 15 firefighters, four helicopters, two single-engine air tankers and two heavy air tankers are assigned to the blaze. Lolo National Forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig said strong winds have caused spotting behavior on the fire and that’s preventing active engagement on the ground. It likely was caused by lightning, but no official determinations have been made. There are no closures in place right now, and no structures currently are threatened.

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Whittier fire in Los Padres National Forest consumes more than 18,000 acres

By Emily Alpert Reyes
Los Angeles Times
July 16, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Whittier fire in Santa Barbara County, which has burned 17 homes and forced the evacuation of 2,600 people, has grown to more than 18,000 acres, authorities said Sunday. The fire in Los Padres National Forest remains 36% contained as it continues to creep downhill along its eastern, western and southern edges, according to fire officials. The fire grew by nearly 700 acres overnight. Despite scorching temperatures that could reach triple digits Sunday, “the conditions are looking pretty favorable,” said Beth Hudick, a public information officer for the Whittier fire. “The winds have kicked back a little bit.” Hudick added that fire crews were not expecting intense “sundowner” winds in the near future.

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General

Nova Scotia’s softwood lumber deal eyed with envy

July 17, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

Woodlot owners across the country are looking at Nova Scotia and hoping they can get the same deal under the ongoing U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute. “We’ve been working with the federal government since the dispute began to seek an exemption for wood from private lands,” Peter deMarsh, president of the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners, said in an interview. …In June, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross excluded three Atlantic Canadian provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, from those duties. …“Those provinces have received the exemption we are looking for because they are receiving their wood from private lands,” said Rick Doucett, president of the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Producers, in an interview.

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