Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: September 11, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

BC’s W.D. Moore Logging latest to depart industry

Tree Frog Forestry News
September 11, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

We’re sad to report that after 90 years as a logging powerhouse on the BC Coast, W.D. Moore Logging is getting out of the business due to “razor-thin profits and a playing field that is tilted against them”, according to owner Graham Lasure. Most of you will know of the company patriarch W.D. Moore, a larger than life entrepreneur and forestry statesman and his sons, Graham Lasure and Patrick Moore, the latter of Greenpeace-turned-Sensible-Environmentalist fame.

Wildfire evacuations orders were downgraded as cool, rainy conditions helped firefighters across the west, but fire troubles continue at Elephant Hill (BC), Flathead (Montana), and in the Columbia River Gorge. Meanwhile, fire suppression efforts are exhausting resources in BC and Oregon, the Northwest’s Lynx and Pygmy Rabbits are in trouble and the forestry/fire debate continues:

In business news, lumber and OSB prices are starting to see “the expected post-hurricane uptick” in the aftermath of Harvey and as Florida braces for the same with Irma. Finally, the Frogs reported out on the highly successful WoodTALKS and “largest-ever” Global Buyers Mission at Whistler, BC. 

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Special Feature

Largest-ever Global Buyers Mission attracts 380 buyers from 18 countries

By Kelly McCloskey
Wood N Frog Communications Ltd.
September 11, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tim Sheldan, Deputy Minister (Forests and Lands) opened the 14th annual Global Buyers Mission to a standing room crowd of more than 800 delegates, the largest ever. Mr. Sheldan welcomed more than 380 international buyers from 18 countries, emphasizing the importance of the event, their attendance and the business being done. The multi-day trade event also involved more than 300 wood manufacturers as well as dozens of government and industry stakeholders. On behalf of industry, Rob Mitchell, BC Wood’s Chairman, thanked Mr. Sheldan, his government and the federal government for their support for the GBM while also emphasizing the importance of the recently created Wood Secretariat. The Wood Secretariat will focus on the key factors that affect the value-added sector’s competitiveness, including market access, fiber procurement, innovation, skills training and market promotion. Each year the GBM generates about $35 million in new direct sales, but according to BC Wood CEO Brian Hawrysh, “the larger benefit lies in the number of quality leads and relationships fostered for future sales, as well as the time and money saved by smaller firms who lack the critical mass to market overseas”.

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WoodTALKS for aquatic and Passive House design

By Kelly McCloskey
Wood N Frog Communications Ltd.
September 11, 2017
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada West

“Design is the driver at Bing Thom Architects” according to BTA Principal Shinobu Homma, and given the corrosive environment of an aquatic centre, wood was the material of choice for the Guildford Recreation Centre expansion project. Wood was also the choice for Scott Kennedy of  Cornerstone Architecture for the Heights Passive House, Canada’s largest Passive House building. The Vancouver mid-rise building will use 10% of the energy of a typical building. Messrs. Homma and Kennedy were keynote speakers at WoodTALKS, BC Wood’s design and construction education event held in conjunction with the Global Buyers Mission (GBM) in Whistler.  Completed in 2015, the highly acclaimed Guildford Aquatic Centre has twenty-two, 100-foot long V-shaped trusses made from laminated strand lumber panels with pre-installed mechanical ducts, sprinklers, up-lighting, acoustic ceiling insulation with built-in catwalks that allow easy access. 

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Forestry

Port Alberni North Island College students learn wildfire suppression

By Elena Rardon
Alberni Valley News
September 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

North Island College students took part in a wildfire training course in Port Alberni on Sunday. The course, called S-100: Basic Fire Suppression Safety, is aimed at giving emergency firefighters adequate training to fight forest fires, as per WorkBC’s guidelines. Instructor Tom Hedekar is a retired forestry instructor who was contracted for NIC to run the two-day course in Port Alberni. The first day featured classroom work and an exam. The second day was all fieldwork, most of which took place near Roger Creek. …“The emphasis of the course is on survival and safety,” Hedekar said. “We’ve been fortunate in British Columbia. We have a very nice record to be proud of because we emphasize safety.”

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Teegee running for regional chief

By Barbara Geernaert
The Prince George Citizen
September 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Terry Teegee

Carrier Sekani Tribal Council tribal chief Terry Teegee is running for the elected position of regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations. “This is my time now. It’s a great opportunity for me,” he said. At Carrier Sekani since 2012, Teegee remains optimistic after attending the fourth annual cabinet and chiefs meeting in Vancouver last week.  …Teegee, a registered professional forester, grew up in Fort St. James and attended Fort St. James secondary school. He graduated from UNBC with a bachelor of science degree in forestry in 2006. Teegee also completed his diploma in forestry technology from the College of New Caledonia. … Teegee has also been elected as the B.C. representative for the National Aboriginal Forestry Association and was appointed to the Fraser Basil Council Board.

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Questioning the usefulness of wildfire interface reports

By Jim Hilton, professional agrologist and forester
Williams Lake Tribune
September 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Wildfire interface reports. How useful are they? Wildfire reports are usually commissioned when the area burned is above average and there has been substantial property losses. In 1994 there were 4,000 fires but less than 50,0000 hectares lost. …The 2003 wildfire review (Fire Storm chaired by Gary Filman, Manitoba’s premier for 11 years) resulted in nine days of public meetings and many interviews held mostly in southern B.C. communities and produced a 100 page document. …While there was no clear consensus on many issues there was an agreement that aspects of planning, preparation , response and recovery could be improved. There was also a consensus that prevention of and preparation for disasters is a better investment than expenditures coping with disasters.

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Fire suppression efforts exhaust resources

By Barry Gerding
Pentiction Western News
September 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s been a long summer for the Kamloops Fire Zone staff. The B.C. Wildlife Service firefighters and support administrative staff began in June dealing with Okanagan Lake flooding, switched quickly to forest fires and now face drought concerns as the summer winds down. “It’s been a long, long season and frankly I’m exhausted,” said Rob Schweitzer, the Kamloops Fire Centre manager. “At one point we had some 44,000 people evacuated from their homes across the province. It’s hard not to meet anyone not impacted by these fires everywhere you go.” But he says the million dollar question remains unanswered—is this fire season the new normal or just a freak aberration. “I hope it’s not the new normal or I may have chosen the wrong job,” laughed Schweitzer, who has been in his current position for just over a year.

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New government will review “professional reliance”

By Briony Penn
Focus on Victoria
September 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

MLA Sonia Furstenau

…“Silent but deadly,” is how Green MLA Sonia Furstenau describes professional reliance. “Most people have no idea what it is. It’s only when you encounter it that you recognize it for what it is.” What is professional reliance for those who haven’t encountered the beast? After 17 years in the media following this slippery, seemingly innocuous monster that couldn’t make a headline if it drove itself off a cliff, I describe professional reliance, at best, as an elegant euphemism for deregulation and privatization. At its most egregious, it is this century’s master weapon for white-collar crime. Those who utilize these weapons—knowingly putting the public interest at risk—are referred to by David O. Friedrichs, a Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice, as “trusted criminals.” Wendell Berry, land reformer and activist, calls them “professional vandals.”

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Supporting Rural America in the Tax Code Means Supporting Forest Owners

By Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation
Morning Consult
September 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Tom Martin, American Forest Foundation

With Congress back in town following its summer recess, all eyes are turning to the congressional tax-writing committees as they work to pass tax reform legislation. Most rural Americans will be glad to see a simpler, more streamlined tax code. But, I hope that Congress, will consider how taxes impact a unique group of these rural Americans: family forest owners. Family forest owners are an often-overlooked group. But, taken together, they are a powerful economic driver. Collectively, these individuals own more forests in the United States than corporations or the government. In fact, according to an analysis by the American Forest Foundation, one in four rural Americans is a family forest owner.

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Logging opponents to bid against timber companies for project south of Bozeman

By Michael Wright
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
September 6, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Montana officials want to cut down some trees on state land south of Bozeman, but a group of locals who oppose the project want to pay the state to leave it untouched. A group called Save Our Gallatin Front will try to outbid timber companies when the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation begins accepting bids for its Limestone West timber project sometime next year. DNRC is proposing logging on roughly 600 acres of trust lands west of Mount Ellis. Opponents of the project have applied for a “conservation license in lieu of timber sale,” a rarely used procedure that allows people to bid against timber companies for all or part of a timber sale. Jeff Yates, a member of the group, said they want to stop the project because the area is relatively undeveloped, important for wildlife and nice to look at.

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Firefighting money burns up as fast as Western forests

By Dylan Darling
The Register-Guard
September 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Public officials have thrown more than 7,000 firefighters, 400 fire engines and other pieces of ground equipment, and about 40 helicopters into the fray against the forest fires besieging Western Oregon. Federal agencies alone have spent more than $200 million thus far combating the string of blazes from the Columbia River Gorge to Brookings. Yet, many of the fires still burn strong, chewing through forests — the vast majority federally owned — and polluting the air with smoke. Total land burned so far in the calamitous 2017 fire season in Western Oregon has topped 400,000 acres. And Oregon isn’t the only place forests are ablaze. California, Idaho and other Western states are suffering big forest fires, too.

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Wildfires Are Big Trouble For The Northwest’s Lynx, Pygmy Rabbits And Other Creatures

By Courtney Flatt
Oregon Public Broadcasting
September 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As wildfires rage across the Pacific Northwest, more than just people are displaced from their homes. Animals in the wild are also feeling the effects of the flames. More and more, wildfires are changing conservation strategies for threatened and endangered animals in the region, especially as a warming climate lengthens fire season. “We essentially assume that we’re going to have earlier fire seasons. They’re going to last longer. And they will typically be more severe,” said Jeff Krupka, field office manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Central Washington. Northern spotted owl, Canada lynx, bull trout. Just a few in a long line of listed animals. Not to mention rare and endangered plants.

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Either we manage the forests or they will manage us

By Steve Daines, Montana junior US senator
Daily Inter Lake
September 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Steven Daines, US Senator, Montana

Montana’s crisis isn’t too much water or hurricanes — it’s fire. It’s smoke filling Big Sky Country and filling our lungs, communities being evacuated, structures lost and tons of fuels just lying on the forest floor waiting for a spark to ignite. In this year alone, over 1,600 fires have burned over 1 million acres in Montana — that’s nearly equivalent to the entirety of the state of Delaware being on fire. We are tired of being told that others know better than us while we watch our forests and grasslands burn every summer, our mills close, our neighbors lose jobs and our communities suffer from the lack of management of our federal public lands. Too many forest management projects have been held up in frivolous litigation from radical environmentalists at our expense. 

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Guest Opinion: Southern Oregon wildfires — the rhetoric and the reality

By Luke Ruediger – Applegate Neighborhood Network
Mail Tribune
September 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Recently, an opinion piece in the Mail Tribune by Dave Schott from the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association (SOTIA) presented numerous misrepresentations about wildfire and forest management. His rhetoric claims that unmanaged forests will succumb to wildfire if they are not logged first. Fire has been an influential natural process, shaping our forests for millennia and creating the world-renowned biodiversity of our region. Contrary to Schott’s claims, the Miller Complex Fire has not been a high-severity, stand-replacing event. The majority of the fire area has, so far, been burning at low to moderate severity in largely intact forest in the Applegate Watershed. In fact, many of the fires that burn throughout our region, in general, tend to burn at mostly low to moderate severity, especially in older forests. On the other hand, heavily logged timberlands tend to burn at high severity, threatening more homes and private property. This was the case in recent fires such as the Quartz, Oregon Gulch, Beaver, Stouts and Douglas Complex fires.

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Is logging the answer? Yes: Forest management will reduce fuel loads

By Dennis Linthicum
The Mail Tribune
September 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

[You may need to create a free profile with the Mail Tribune to access this story] When it comes to forest policy, the public sphere is often filled with proposals that our wilderness areas need absolute protection from human encroachment. Locally, we see these same ideas flourish with claims that expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument would preserve biodiversity and protect these forests for generations to come. The problem with this narrative is that current evidence runs contrary to this utopian hope. How can I say that? Let’s play a thought experiment with our forests… We’ll let the “protect the wilderness” experimenters loose on a million acres of Oregon forest. …Without any human intervention, thinning efforts or grazing permits allowed, the fuel loads would build until lightning storms cause a mega-fire that is typical for unmanaged wilderness.

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Walden Introduces Bill To Expedite Reforestation In The Gorge

By Ericka Cruz Guevarra
Oregon Public Broadcasting
September 9, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden introduced a bill to Congress Friday to expedite salvage and reforestation projects in the Columbia River Gorge and other National Scenic Areas after catastrophic events like the Eagle Creek Fire. That blaze, which ignited Sept. 2, is now the nation’s top priority wildfire and is burning more than 33,000 acres in the Gorge. The bill would require the Forest Service to begin developing a cleanup and reforestation plan within 30 days after containment. It would give the Forest Service fast track authority to clean up and reforest priority areas such as municipal watersheds. “What we’re trying to do here is clear the bureaucratic decks so that the professionals can do their job and do it quicker,” Walden said at a press conference Saturday.

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Sugar Pine forest rehabilitation begins at Tahoe

By Colin Lygren
KOLO
September 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Areas of the Lake Tahoe basin devastated by drought and beetles could see new life in a few years with new native trees. A slingshot and a beanbag are key tools in the replanting process. “I am going to shoot a line over the limb and attach it and just basically whip the cones off,” said Tom Burt, who was trying to collect pine cones from Sugar Pine trees Friday. Sugar Pines have been devastated by drought and the Mountain Pine Beetle in the last few years. “In Tahoe in the last year we have seen tree mortality double from 35,000 to over 72,000 trees,” said Amy Berry, CEO of Tahoe Fund. Particularly hard hit is Tahoe’s north end. Huge areas of forest have seen die-offs. “Right now you can go out in the forest and you can see three or four Sugar Pines right next to each other and three are dead and one is living and we don’t know why,” said Berry.

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Logging and mill tour always offers a fresh perspective

By Christi Baron
Forks Forum
September 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Last week, for the I-don’t-know-how-many times, I went on the Forks Chamber of Commerce Logging and Mill Tour. It doesn’t really matter how many times I go; it is always interesting and different, and it’s a chance to see the area through eyes of visitors of the place we call home. …Our tour guide for the day was Randy Mesenbrink. He described the Forks International Airport and the elk herd that resides there. Much to the disappointment of those on the bus, the elk were scarce that morning. … At a culvert pipe, Randy stopped and explained road and stream inventories, culverts and fish migration. One person on the tour asked about bug infestation, and Randy talked a bit about the Spruce Tip Weevil, a pest that infests and kills the main shoot of young trees.

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Appeals court denies petition for rehearing of Big Thorne ruling

By Leila Kheiry
KRBD.org
September 8, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In a ruling filed Friday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a petition from conservation groups, asking the court to take another look at its spring ruling in the Big Thorne Timber Sale. In May, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of the U.S. Forest Service and its plans to offer the Big Thorne Timber Sale on Prince of Wales Island. The lawsuit first was filed in 2014 by environmental groups seeking to halt timber harvest in that area. The 6,000-acre timber sale includes old growth stands. The conservationists argue that cutting old-growth trees will harm the wolf population.  Logging on the sale has been ongoing as the lawsuit made its way through the court. According to the May ruling, plaintiffs argued that the Forest Service didn’t adequately ascertain the wolf population when planning the timber sale. The ruling stated that knowing exactly how many wolves were on the island wasn’t essential. 

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Third epidemic in a decade as fir engravers killing white fir

By Jeff Mitton
The Dailly Camera
September 7, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…In Colorado, white fir’s natural range is in southern Colorado; it includes the San Juan Range, the Sangre de Cristo Range, the very southern end of the Sawatch Range and the southern portion of Pikes Peak Massif.  …The fir engraver, Scolytus ventralis, is related to the mountain pine beetle and the spruce beetle, and all three of them cause epidemics by using the phloem — the inner bark layer of tissue that transports sugars — as a nursery for their young.  …Fir engravers were noted several years ago in the San Juan Mountains and their epidemic is still growing. This flurry of epidemics is no coincidence. Each of the bark beetle species is known to attack compromised trees, and one of the most common triggers of epidemics is prolonged drought.

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2017’s Top NZ Forester Announced

By the New Zealand Institute of Forestry
Scoop Independent News
September 11, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Passionate forestry industry champion Garth Cumberland has been presented with the coveted NZIF Forester of the Year award for 2017. The prestigious title is the highest accolade attainable by a New Zealand forestry professional. It is awarded to Cumberland this year, in recognition for his outstanding contribution to the industry, through his efforts to establish a cohesive national Forest Policy for New Zealand. Cumberland is an Agri-Forestry specialist with a solid background in farm-forestry and over three decades of experience. He’s a committed industry professional with a big picture vision to protect the future sustainability of forestry.

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Time to change forestry’s business model

By Henry Koia
The Gisborne Herald
September 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Sustainable plantation forestry can deliver enormous social impact for regions like the East Coast. Key word — “sustainable”. A business model where death, serious injury, whanau heartbreak and community agitation, even outrage, are ongoing factors of production, is unsustainable. From a strategist’s perspective, the pathway forward is to inspire a shared vision between Government, industry and communities. My vision for New Zealand’s forestry sector is a world where competent and productive workers are doing safe and sustainable work for profitable companies. In that world, deaths and serious injuries are a thing of the past. Am I dreaming? Yes. Can that dream become a reality? Yes! The key is stakeholders putting their trust in my thinking, because let’s face the facts, other ways of thinking that have been given a chance are not working.

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Logging halt in central highlands’ native forests would boost Vic economy, report finds

By Richard Willingham
ABC News, Australia
September 10, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Victoria’s central highlands are essential to protecting Melbourne’s water supply and also contributing $260 million a year to the tourism economy, a new study has found. The report from the Australian National University (ANU) used an international method recognised by the United Nations to value the ecosystem in the central highlands — an area that spreads north and east of Healesville. The study estimates the central highlands add $310 million of economic value to the state’s water supply and $260 million to tourism, while the controversial native logging industry is worth just $12 million. A study by Deloitte for the state-owned VicForests last year found native logging and processing helped generate more than $500 million for the state’s economy supporting more than 2,000 jobs.

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Forest Fires

Wildfire evacuation orders downgraded, alerts lifted as cool, rainy conditions help firefighters

CBC News
September 10, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Rainy conditions on B.C.’s South Coast and other parts of the province have helped firefighters gain ground on wildfires, but many continue to burn. “With the weather patterns we’ve been seeing recently, there has been some good news especially in the Cariboo and Okanagan regions,” said Ryan Turcot, a fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service. “We have started to see some precipitation and some cooler conditions that has led to some decreased fire behaviour.” He says more than 3,000 firefighters and staff are working this weekend to control 166 fires that continue to burn. …B.C.’s forests ministry says it will take at least five years for the province’s forestry industry to recover from this year’s devastating fire season.

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Firefighters make progress battling fast-growing wildfire threatening Waterton

By Bryan Passifiume
Calgary Herald
September 10, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

While crews have made progress, Waterton isn’t out of the woods yet.  Parks Canada and Alberta Wildfire have joined forces in keeping at bay a fast-growing wildfire that, since Thursday, has threatened to burst over the continental divide and into Waterton Lakes National Park. Sparked by lightning on Aug. 30 in the Flathead basin near Kenow Mountain in southeast B.C., the now 8,500-plus-hectare fire has been largely kept out of Alberta by crews in helicopters dropping buckets of water — about all that can be done at this point owing to the remote terrain and deteriorating weather conditions, area commander Rick Kubian said Saturday. “The forecast is for substantial winds into Sunday, and into next week,” he said.

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Some fire behaviour and hand ignitions on Elephant Hill fire despite rain

By Tara Sprickerhoff & Max Winkelman
100 Mile House Free Press
September 9, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

…“We didn’t receive as much rain as we thought the fire would have but nevertheless, we still are receiving precipitation which is great. Crews were able to really take advantage of that and, as crazy as this sounds… they were still able to do a bit of hand ignitions,” says Fire Information Officer for the Elephant Hill fire, Noelle Kekula. That really helped increase the blackline around the fire despite the fire still being active today in some spots, she says. “Where we don’t have any blackline, they were able to either direct attack it and extinguish all the hot spots in and around the areas or do some hand ignitions, so a really successful day.” While it was windy at points today, crews were able to get out of the way of falling trees and went back to work, she says.

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Team assigned to three fires burning on Front, Flathead

By Karl Puckett
Great Falls Tribune
September 8, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A fire management team arrived Friday to manage three wildfires burning along the Continental Divide in the Flathead and Helena-Lewis and Clark National forests. The largest is the Crucifixion Creek fire in the Badger-Two Medicine area burning 10 miles southwest of Heart Butte in Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. It grew by 700 acres to 8,191 acres Thursday evening, when it passed by the Badger Cabin, said Duane Buchi, a public information officer assigned to the three fires. The cabin, which is used by the Forest Service, was wrapped in fire-protection material. “The fire did burn through that site last night but their structure protection efforts, they worked,” Buchi said. Mop-up work is now occurring at the Badger Cabin.

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The US West had a snowy winter, so why the fiery summer?

By Dan Elliott
Associated Press in The Chicago Tribune
September 9, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Acrid yellow smoke clogs the skies of major Western U.S. cities, a human-caused fire in the Columbia River Gorge rains ash on Portland, Oregon, and a century-old backcountry chalet burns to the ground in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Wildfires are chewing across dried-out Western forests and grassland, putting 2017 on track to be among the worst fire seasons in a decade. A snowy winter across much of the West raised hopes that 2017 wouldn’t be a dried-out, fire-prone year, but a hot, dry summer spoiled that. Here’s what happened, and how bad things are:

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Forest agencies need to explain more about letting small fires burn

By Pat Bushey
Herald and News
September 9, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

…Fire-fighting agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service are the most heavily criticized for a “let it burn” policy, which allow slow-moving fires to burn as long as they aren’t a threat to people or structures. The problem, however, comes when the slow-moving fire suddenly becomes a raging monster, usually because of a weather change that wasn’t foreseen or prepared for.  The Forest Service and sister agencies take a lot of criticism over the death and destruction that results and, from our viewpoint, don’t do enough to defend themselves. We believe they do a good job getting information to people during a fire by holding meetings, personal contact and using social media. But the public needs more basic information explaining forest management involving fire so they understand better what they dealing with when a fire breaks out.

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This is why Oregon hasn’t deployed the SuperTanker to fight Eagle Creek, Chetco fires

By Eder Campuzano
The Oregonian
September 9, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A Boeing 747 specially outfitted to drop up to 20,000 gallons of water or retardant on Oregon’s wildfires is standing by, ready to travel over two of the nation’s most urgent firefighting priorities. But Gov. Kate Brown and the U.S. Forest Service aren’t calling on the SuperTanker to aid in battling the Eagle Creek or Chetco Bar fires. And all of it has to do with the aircraft’s limited effectiveness in both the Columbia River Gorge and the mountainous reaches of southern Oregon, officials say. “If we need to use it, we’ll just order it up,” Doug Grafe, fire protection chief for the Oregon Department of Forestry. “But the broken terrain won’t allow it.” Strong and unpredictable winds, abetted by the heat of the fires burning in both ends of the state, also make maneuvering the 747 through the mountainous regions difficult enough.

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Nation’s Largest Wildfire Burning More Than 180,000 Acres In Southwest Oregon

By Kristian Foden-Vencil
Oregon Public Broadcasting
September 8, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Before the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge became the nation’s top priority wildfire, it was the Chetco Bar Fire near Brookings.  Lightning sparked the fire more than two months ago, but it’s only five percent contained despite the work of 1,500 firefighters. State Republican Representative David Brock Smith represents District 1, which includes the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area, where the fire is burning. He says the fire has consumed nearly 180,000 acres and continues to grow. Some families have been under evacuation orders for three weeks. Brock Smith is worried the Eagle Creek Fire might draw attention away from the Chetco Bar Fire. For example, at a recent briefing he heard 2,000 trees will have to be removed along Interstate 84 and the Gorge.

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Huge strategic burnout operation planned for Rice Ridge fire near Ovando

By David Erickson
The Missoulian
September 8, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A huge strategic planned burnout of between 4,500 and 6,000 acres is planned for a swath of forest just north of Ovando sometime next week as firefighters try to contain the 123,000-acre Rice Ridge fire, which is burning in the mountains north and east of Seeley Lake. Most of the burnout will take place north of Forest Service Road 477, which runs between the Monture Guard Station and Seeley Lake in the Lolo National Forest. Right now, firefighters are busy using heavy equipment to create a 100-foot wide shaded fuel break along about 19 miles of the dirt road to prevent the wildfire from encroaching into the tall, dry grasses that cover much of the area around Ovando in the Blackfoot Valley. A shaded fuel break is a forest management strategy to create a defensible location by thinning smaller trees and brush.

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Company & Business News

Varcoe: Viking Air building case for water-bomber manufacturing in Calgary

By Chris Varcoe
Calgary Herald
September 8, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

David Curtis, CEO, Viking Air Ltd.

David Curtis just wrapped up another swing through Calgary this week as the aerospace executive puts together an ambitious plan that could help reshape the city’s economy. On Aug. 18, the CEO of Viking Air Ltd. received the go-ahead from his board of directors to begin talking to customers about potentially restarting manufacturing of the venerable CL-415 water bomber aircraft — in Calgary. If the program gets the green light — and there is still a lot of water to cross yet — it would mean an estimated $400-million investment. It would also mean up to 900 new jobs for a city grappling with low energy prices, vacant downtown office towers and high unemployment.

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Vancouver Island logger latest to depart an industry feeling squeeze from trying conditions

Derrick Penner
Vancouver Sun
September 11, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

W.D. Moore Logging has been a mainstay of the tiny hamlet of Winter Harbour at the northern tip of Vancouver Island for 90 years, but is getting out of the business this year citing razor-thin profits in a business where they feel the playing field is tilted against them. “We can make a go of it,” said W.D. Moore owner Graham Lasure, “it’s more that for the capital required, the profit margins aren’t there.”… Concentration in the forest industry, which has left too few companies holding the tenures for too much of B.C.’s coastal forests, has left big companies with the upper hand in establishing contract rates for logging, Lasure said, which is one of the key problems contractors face. Contractors are also being squeezed out of bidding for public timber auctions by big licensees, Lasure argues, and trapped by contracting rules that allow companies to undercut logging rates and become industry standards. 

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Kruger Announces a $377.6-M Transaction to Diversify Two of its Québec Paper Mills into Specialty Niches

Kruger Inc.
Canada Newswire
September 8, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

SHERBROOKE and TROIS-RIVIÈRES, QC – Kruger Inc. is announcing today a $377.6-M transaction to diversify operations at its Brompton and Wayagamack Mills into specialty niches, such as flexible food packaging, labelling and digital printing. This major project, undertaken in partnership with the Government of Québec, will help to maintain more than 500 jobs in the Mauricie and Estrie regions. …Kruger and the Government of Québec have formed a partnership by which Investissement Québec, acting as the government’s agent, will grant loans and a loan guarantee totalling $59.8 million and acquire an equity participation of 37.5%, or $44.6 million, in the new entity Kruger Specialty Papers Holding L.P. The new entity comprises the assets of the Brompton and Wayagamack Mills, as well as the Biomass Cogeneration Plant adjacent to the Brompton Mill.

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Maine’s pulp and paper industry by the numbers

WGME.com
September 8, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

AUGUSTA – In the days when paper was king, the industry employed thousands of workers in Maine. According to the Department of Labor, pulp and paper mills employed 18,000 workers through the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. When demand was high, 11 pulp and paper mills were operational. Things started to change in the late 80s, and in less than three years, five mills closed their doors. In 2016 the industry accounted for approximately 4,000 jobs statewide. Now only six pulp and paper mills are still operating. Despite the downturn the executive director of the Maine Forest Products Council says the industry is still “a big economic machine.” Patrick Strauch said those in northern Maine often argue the forest industry is just as important as tourism in the south.

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Lumber and OSB prices starting to see expected post-hurricane uptick

By Paul Quinn and Charan Sanghera
RBC Capital Markets
September 11, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: US East, United States

As Houston deals with the aftermath of Harvey and Florida braces for Hurricane Irma, Random Lengths notes that many traders expect a mixed reaction in wood products prices in the weeks ahead. As has been the case with prior major hurricanes, insurance coverage and other factors will govern the pace of rebuilding. While prices are likely to see an uptick, near-term consumption may be limited, particularly as debris removal and planning will be first priority. …While IP’s Orange, TX kraftliner mill and WRK’s Everdale, TX SBS paperboard mill remain idled, the attention now turns to Irma’s potential impact. According to RISI, there are at least thirteen pulp and paper mills along the potential path on the Atlantic Coast and nearby inland areas from Florida to South Carolina, and fifteen along the Gulf Coast and inland areas from Florida to Georgia and Alabama. 

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

‘Big chop’ on forestry sends greenhouse emissions skyrocketing

By Ged Cann
Stuff.co.nz
September 11, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Large swaths of New Zealand’s forestry stock are reaching harvesting age, and the big chop has already sent greenhouse emissions climbing. Compounding the issue, many forestry owners are not intending to replant, meaning New Zealand is about to lose one of its largest absorbers of greenhouse gas. In the Wellington region alone, increased felling pushed the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere up 39 per cent in the 2014-15 financial year, compared with 2000-01. The Greater Wellington Regional Council attributed the increase to greater forest harvesting, and said it was part of a national trend that was forecast to continue for years “as vast amounts of plantation forests mature and reach harvesting age”.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Strongbuild’s New Panelisation Facility Shows the Strength of Prefabrication

The Urban Developer
September 10, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Since launching its automated prefabrication facility 12 months ago, building contractor Strongbuild has grown from strength to strength. The first of its kind in Australia, the panelisation facility in Bella Vista, north-west Sydney, manufactures extremely precise prefab components that are highly cost-effective, allowing for rapid and safe assembly on site. Prefabrication now plays a part in roughly 80 per cent of Strongbuild’s projects and, more and more, the company is choosing only to work on projects where they can add value through offsite manufacturing. Strongbuild’s managing director, Adam Strong, will discuss the business model as part of prefabAUS 2017, the annual conference for the prefabricated construction industry. “…we’re not really a modular builder – we produce prefinished panels, whether it is a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structural element, or a standard lightweight timber framing.” Strongbuild’s managing director, Adam Strong said.

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