Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 30, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Forest fires turn deadly for home owners and firefighters

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 30, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Forest fires turn deadly for home owners and firefighters. The death toll in Greece’s coastal fire rose to 91 with 25 still missing; Northern California’s wildfires claimed six residents and two firefighters; and an Alberta firefighter died while battling wildfires in Ontario.

On the fire-opinion front: a California fire experts says urban sprawl increases the human risk; a Stanford scientist blames global warming for the worsening fires; three eco-scientists point to irresponsible logging in the US West; and firefighters in Germany face a new challenge—WWII-era ammunition being set off by the flames. Meanwhile, a BC professor says although wildfires cause havoc for people, mule deer adapt easily.

Finally, Unifor ratified a new contract with Canadian Kraft in Manitoba; the BC government is forcing Catalyst Paper to protect their pensioners; and Weyerhaeuser reports record-breaking wood product sales.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Unifor members ratify new contract with Canadian Kraft

By Unifor
Cision Newswire
July 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Pas, Manitoba – Members of Unifor Local 1403 have voted to ratify a new three-year collective agreement with the employer, Canadian Kraft Paper (CKP). “Thanks to the hard work of Unifor members, the CKP mill is successful and critical to the economy of this region,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “CKP is a great example of how unions, employers, and government can work together to help rural economies thrive.” Local 1403 represents 200 workers at the mill. After three months of talks, the bargaining committee secured a contract that improves wages and working conditions as well as providing stability to the mill and town. In the fall of 2016 Tolko announced it was closing the mill in December when it could not find a buyer. A U.S.-based company approached the former owners and the union and bought the mill on condition workers take a 10% wage rollback. 

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Province moves to protect pension money at Catalyst Paper

By Lindsay Kines
Victoria Times Colonist
July 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

The B.C. government moved Friday to protect pension benefits of salaried retirees and workers at Catalyst Paper in case the company is forced to take drastic action in the face of steep U.S. tariffs. The government has changed pension-relief regulations so that Catalyst would be required to immediately cover any pension shortfall if the company closes or sells mills at Port Alberni, Crofton and Powell River. Premier John Horgan said in an interview that the province began looking for ways to safeguard about 1,500 workers and nearly 1,000 pensioners after Catalyst sold off its U.S. assets in June. “We passed an order in council [Friday] morning that would ensure that pensioners — current and future — were not put at the bottom of the list … but were in fact a high priority in any sale or restructuring,” he said.

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Trump’s tariffs stifling Montana metal manufacturers, farmers; boosting lumber mills

By David Erickson
The Helene Independent Record
July 29, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

From soda cans to spring wheat to solar panels, all sectors of the U.S. economy have been affected by President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported materials and the resulting retaliations by foreign markets. In Montana, the tariffs have caused headaches for grain growers and metal products manufacturers, while the wood products industry has seen a resurgence. …One industry in Montana is thriving in part due to a 20 percent tariff on imported Canadian softwood lumber imposed by the Trump administration last November. The Montana wood products industry is doing better than it was in the last few years, according to Chuck Roady, the vice president of F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber in Columbia Falls and a board member of the Montana Wood Products Association.

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Weyerhaeuser continues to benefit from high OSB prices

EUWID Wood Products and Panels
July 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

US-American Weyerhaeuser Group increased its OSB sales in the second quarter by 19% year-on-year to US$509m. Average sales prices increased by 24%, exceeding the level achieved in the first quarter by 17%. According to Weyerhaeuser, prices have thus risen continuously by a total of 92% since the second quarter of 2015. Sales volumes declined by 2% in the same period, with deliveries of 754m sqft (3/8” basis) in the second quarter down 1% year-on-year. The sales volume of the MDF/HDF plant at Columbia Falls/Montana fell short of the previous year’s level by 8 %. ….Both prices (+23%) and sales volumes (+4%) for sawnwood increased, resulting in a 27% increase in sales to US$681 (538)m. …Total consolidated sales of the Wood Products Business Group rose 18% to US$1.525bn in the second quarter. 

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Weyco reports 57% increase in profits, record-breaking wood sales figures

By Zack Hale
Longview Daily News
July 28, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Weyerhaeuser Co. reported a second-straight spike in quarterly earnings growth Friday along with record-breaking wood product sales as the U.S. housing sector remained hot.The report coincides with a stalemate in contract talks between the company and its western woodworkers, including about 400 employees based in Longview.The company posted $332 million in second-quarter profits — a 57 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Net earnings were also up 20 percent from $275 million in the first quarter of this year. Net sales in the second quarter were $2.1 billion, up $300 million from a year earlier.And year-to-date monthly housing starts through June averaged approximately 1.3 million, up 8 percent from a year earlier, the company reported.Wood products contributed $349 million to second-quarter sales, a record for Weyerhaeuser and a 40 percent increase compared to a year ago.

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Boise Cascade fire posed challenges to firefighters

By Cherise Kaechele
The La Grande Observer
July 27, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

ISLAND CITY —A fire that caused damage to the Boise Cascade particleboard plant in Island City on Wednesday could have been much worse. La Grande Fire Department Chief Les Thomas said a report came in early Wednesday morning of a fire in a Boise Cascade storage facility. The La Grande Rural Fire Department had originally been the only department called to the scene. Thomas said the LGFD had been out on a medical call when it was requested for assistance. According to scanner traffic, there was not a rush to get to the scene. Conditions with the fire escalated, though. The storage facility is about three to four stories tall, Thomas said. The fire was located within the wall at one end of the warehouse behind a large sawdust pile. 

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Are we ready for the ‘Walls of Wood’?

By Gavin Evans
Newsroom.pro
July 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Special correspondent Gavin Evans finds log exports have tripled in the last decade and could at least double again over the next decade. He takes a detailed look at the wave of port, rail and road investment needed to cope with this ‘wall of wood’, let alone an even bigger one planned under the Government’s ‘Billion Trees’ programme. — All over the North Island, ports and KiwiRail are scrambling to deal with a ‘wall of wood’ that has tripled since 2008. They say they will need to invest heavily again if they are to cope with another potential doubling of the harvest in the coming years. High log prices because of Chinese demand could easily trigger another surge in the ‘wall’. The ports of New Plymouth, Gisborne, Napier and Wellington are straining to keep up with the demand to move logs from forests to ports…

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Bottleneck in site safety approvals

By Corin Williams
Materials Recycling World
July 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

The UK is heading for something of a boom time for domestic consumption. But wood recyclers are again facing difficulties in getting their stacking arrangements approved by the Environ­ment Agency (EA) as they look to store larger amounts of material during the summer months. Although the Wood Recyclers Asso­ciation (WRA) said the EA has made progress in approving bespoke storage plans at individual sites, more needed to be done. …WRA executive director Julia Turner told MRW that “major growth” was expected in the sector, meaning it would soon require more waste wood than can be found in the UK. …A survey of WRA members found that, in 2017, around five million tonnes of waste wood was generated in the UK. Of this, around 3.7 million tonnes was recycled or reprocessed: 1.7 million tonnes to domestic biomass plants and the rest used for animal bedding, panel­board feedstock, landscaping and equestrian surfaces, among other things.

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Forestry

And then there were 3: Filmmaker documents caribou herd on the brink of extinction

By Briar Stewart
CBC News
July 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Bryce Comer

Bryce Comer thought the South Selkirk caribou herd would be the perfect subject matter for a nature film contest: After years of being in decline, the 47-animal group that wanders the mountain range in southeastern B.C. was finally growing. But the conservation success story he hoped to tell went off the rails. Instead of documenting a rebounding herd, his footage captured the last of a dying population. …Today, only three animals of the South Selkirk herd remain — all female, and none of them pregnant. The herd is one of 10 groups that the federal government has declared as being under “imminent threat” of disappearing. …The designation means that if provincial governments in those two provinces don’t act, Ottawa can intervene to help protect the herds. …After spending nearly a decade documenting his one herd, Comer produced a film called The Last Mountain Caribou —and he calls the current situation downright depressing.

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Consultants facing shorter leashes

By Les Leyne
The Prince George Citizen
July 26, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Anyone hoping that the “professional reliance” model in the resource-development sphere would be junked will probably be disappointed with the direction the NDP government is taking.  The practice of letting companies hire their own consultants to oversee compliance with regulations will likely carry on. Oversight is going to be beefed up. Standards will be more stringent. But there’s no expressed thought at this point of government taking back that big, costly responsibility. If you were comforted by the thought the woods would soon be crawling with new government inspectors, you’ll be disappointed with the recommendations from a recent review of the issue. On the other hand, some in the business and resource sectors are unhappy even with a review, and insist there is no problem.

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Wildfires cause havoc for humans, but not mule deer

By Cali Berry
The Northern View
July 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

While fires cause havoc for humans, our wild neighbours adapt easily. Karen Hodge, professor of conservation ecology at UBC Okanagan, said wildfires are a part of any wild, Okanagan animal’s genetic history. “Wildfires are a normal part of forest ecology. They’ve been burning since glaciation. They’re scary for people because we don’t like breathing the smoke and we like to protect our resources and our houses and our roads, but it’s utterly normal that there are fires every year, some are worse than others, and animals will just redistribute to habitats they like best,” she said. It’s normal for animals to migrate away from a wildfire, if possible, and others may die, but overall, she said, they’re “incredibly flexible in their behaviours.”

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The inconvenient truth about forest fires

By Dominick A. DellaSala, Geos Institute, Timothy Ingalsbee, Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics and Ecology and Luke Ruediger, Klamath Forest Alliance
Mail Tribune
July 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

It seems like every time there is a forest fire, the timber industry blames environmentalists for a lack of “active forest management” and presumes that contemporary fires have catastrophic ecological consequences. …Forests today have been degraded by widespread clearcutting and “salvage” logging, but instead of calling it what it is — irresponsible logging — industry uses Orwellian doublespeak, claiming “active management” will save the day by reducing fire severity. In fact, scientists examined the severity of 1,500 forest fires across the West over a four-decade period to determine if wilderness, roadless areas and national monuments burned more severely than logged areas. They found the opposite — forests with the most logging burned in the highest severities. …So, what pragmatic, science-based solutions are available?

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Wolverines need the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act

By Mike Garrity, Alliance for the Wild Rockies
Idaho State Journal
July 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Wolverines are very reclusive animals, so when a wolverine family was caught on video cajoling in Montana’s Sapphire Mountains this summer it was an opportunity to reflect on what it will take to keep this imperiled native species from going extinct. Like Montana, Idaho is lucky to still have wolverines, as well as most of the species that were here when Lewis and Clark traveled through the area over two hundred years ago. It’s worth noting that the Sapphire Mountains are currently protected as a Wilderness Study Area, which calls into question the recent efforts by the Trump administration and Congress to remove Wilderness Study Areas and open millions of acres of federal lands to industrial development and resource extraction.

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Timber titan John Richards dies at 81

By Maureen Dolan
Coeur d’Alene Press
July 28, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

John Richards

COEUR d’ALENE — John Richards influenced many lives in a profound, positive way. Not because he was a CEO.  Not because he earned his bachelor’s degree at Stanford. Not because he held an MBA from Harvard. “He treated everyone like they were equal or better. I think that’s why he was so loved,” said Joy Richards, John’s wife of 34 years. John, a former chairman of the Potlatch Corp., died Wednesday at Hospice of North Idaho. He was 81. He grew up in Hayden Lake, attended Hayden Lake Elementary and graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School. John came from a family of pioneers in the lumber industry, a family with deep roots in Kootenai County. For decades, Idaho Forest Industries was the Richards family business, until 2000 when IFI’s three North Idaho sawmills and 89,000 acres of timberland were sold to Stimson Lumber Co.

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Bulk of timber exports from Papua New Guinea won’t pass legal test

By Ben Doherty
The Guardian
July 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Millions of tonnes of illegally logged timber, felled from forests across Papua New Guinea, are being exported to China and from there to the world as finished wood products, a new report from Global Witness has revealed. Global Witness’s investigation has found that the majority of logging operations in PNG are underpinned by government-issued permits, which are often illegally “extended” and which fail to enforce laws surrounding logging in prohibited and ecologically sensitive areas. “An assessment of legality risks in most of the world’s timber-producing countries found PNG’s timber to be among the riskiest, with potential illegalities including corruption and bribery in the issuance of permits, failure to follow the logging code of practice, and logging without the consent of indigenous landowners,” the report says. The issue of illegal logging has been consistently exposed in PNG over decades…

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VicForests says experiment ‘very likely’ to kill threatened glider, continues research

By Michael Slezak
ABC News, Australia
July 29, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A government-owned logging company is conducting a controversial experiment expected to kill native animals that are already heading toward extinction, the ABC can reveal. VicForests is owned by the Victorian Government and logs native forests for profit under exemptions to federal environment law. It is now logging parts of East Gippsland forest at different intensities to measure survival rates of the threatened greater gliders that call it home. VicForests argued the research would assist the conservation of the species, but acknowledged it was likely to kill some of them. In an email seen by the ABC that addressed similar logging nearby, VicForests’ staff acknowledged deaths were likely. “It is unfortunate that some individuals have to die in the process, but we really need to look at the big picture here,” a VicForests ecologist wrote.

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Sweden wildfires spark criticism of forest industry

By Gael Branchereau
The Local
July 27, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International
Critics are accusing Sweden’s forest industry of having rolled out a “red carpet” for blazes, sacrificing biodiversity for profit. Forests, sacred in ancient Norse mythology, still cover 70 percent of Sweden’s territory. They play an important part in its modern economy by supplying the raw material to make Sweden the world’s third largest exporter of paper, cellulose and wood products while employing 100,000 people. …The possessors of the “green gold” are of high status and powerful: Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf himself is a prosperous forest owner.Controversy spread as fast as the wildfires when industry operators were criticized for their role in the crisis.”Flat landscapes stretching long distances with closely situated pine forests are a red carpet for blazing storms and massive fires,” writer Sven Olov Karlsson noted in a column for the tabloid Expressen.

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Forest Fires

Evacuation Alert issued due to Shovel Lake Wildfire

By Colin MacGillivray
Prince Rupert Northern View
July 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

An Evacuation Alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako on July 29, 2018, due to the Shovel Lake Wildfire. The Evacuation Alert is in effect for the area East of the Augier Main Forest Service Road (FSR) to the Trout and Sutherland Forest Service Roads, South of Sutherland River Park to Highway 16. This includes parts of Electoral Area B, C and D. This alert does not include the town site of Endako. … The BC Wildfire service is currently responding to a new fire approximately 25 kilometres northwest of Fraser Lake. The wildfire is reportedly around 291 hectares in size and is burning close to Shovel Lake. Smoke coming from the fire is said to be highly visible throughout the Fraser Lake area, along the Highway 16 corridor.

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B.C. wildfires map 2018: Current location of wildfires around the province

By Amy Judd
Global News
July 28, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The wildfire season has kicked off in B.C. and we are tracking the location of the wildfires around the province. As of Saturday, there are five “wildfires of note”, all in the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the Okanagan. Smoke is visible in many communities and an air quality advisory has been issued due to the smoke for more than a dozen regions in B.C. The biggest concern right now is the rising heat in the interior. Temperatures are expected to climb way past 30 degrees this weekend. About 300 firefighters are currently working to fight the wildfires of note. The BC Wildfire Service has provided a map of where the fires are located (it may not load in high traffic times so you might need to be patient). The larger icons are the wildfires of note.

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Alberta firefighter dies while battling Ontario wildfires

Canadian Press in CTV News
July 27, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Jerry Gadwa

RED LAKE, Ont. — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says an Alberta firefighter has died unexpectedly while he was helping fight wildfires in Ontario. In a statement Friday, Notley said that Jerry Gadwa, a resident of Kehewin Cree First Nation in Alberta, was helping with firefighting efforts near the town of Red Lake, Ont., about 100 km east of the Manitoba boundary, when he died Thursday. “On behalf of the Government of Alberta, I want to offer our deepest condolences and support to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Gadwa,” Notley said. “As Albertans, we know all too well the sacrifices of our firefighters and first responders…. Mr. Gadwa’s brave and selfless actions will be remembered.” Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry confirmed an Alberta wildland firefighter died in northwestern Ontario.

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A dozen fires in northeastern Ont. still out of control

Canadian Press in CTV News
July 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources says dozens of forest fires remain out of control, with the largest in the province’s northeast now measuring more than 82 square kilometres. According to the ministry’s website, there were 39 active fires in the northeastern part of the province as of Saturday evening, and 14 of them were out of control. The largest in northeastern Ontario, known as Parry Sound 33 blaze, has been raging for more than a week, and continues to threaten a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway and a Canadian National Railway line.  Ministry spokesman Shayne McCool says ground crews, aided by water bombers and helicopters, attacked the fire’s perimeter on Saturday “with generally good results.” But McCool says if the smoke is heavy enough, police may close a portion of the Trans-Canada, designated Highway 69 in the region.

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Forest fire update: Crews look to gain edge on Parry Sound 33 today

CBC News
July 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

There were no new fires reported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on Sunday, but crews continue to battle 39 active forest fires across northeastern Ontario. Twelve of those fires are not yet under control, including Parry Sound 33, which has caused the evacuation of Key Harbour and Henvey Inlet First Nation. Ontario’s forest fire information map showed Sunday morning the fire had grown to about 8,224 hectares in size. In a release, the ministry stated that winds blowing from the southwest will keep crews busy along the portion closest to Highway 69. The ministry said the fire was about seven kilometres from the highway overnight into Sunday. “Priority remains along the northeast side of the fire with fingers extending towards the CN rail line, as minimal movement occurred across the tracks. Minimal growth along the southwest portion of the fire occurred,” the MNRF said.

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Arrowhead hotshot killed in Ferguson fire, raising death toll in wildfires across the state to 8

By Alene Tchekmedyian
Los Angeles Times
July 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Capt. Brian Hughes

A firefighter was killed Sunday morning battling the massive Ferguson fire near Yosemite National Park, marking the second firefighting death in Mariposa County and the eighth fire-related death as more than a dozen wildfires rage across the state. Brian Hughes, captain of the Arrowhead Interagency Hotshots, was killed when he was struck by a tree while working with his crew to set a back fire …according to the National Park Service. He was treated at the scene but died before he could be taken to a hospital. He was 33. …Hughes… had worked with the Arrowhead hotshots for four years. …Hillsides in the area are filled with trees that have been killed by five years of drought and a bark beetle infestation [and] carpeted with bone-dry pine needles … combined with dry, hot weather, pose a huge risk to firefighters.

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Death toll rises to 5 in northern California wildfire

Associated Press in CBC News
July 28, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The death count from a rapidly growing Northern California wildfire rose to five Saturday after two young children and their great-grandmother who had been unaccounted for were confirmed dead. “My babies are dead,” Sherry Bledsoe said through tears after she and family members met with Shasta County sheriff’s deputies. Bledsoe’s two children, James Roberts, 5, and Emily Roberts, 4, were stranded with her grandmother Melody Bledsoe, 70, when fire swept through the rural area where they were staying Thursday. The three were among more than a dozen people reported missing after the furious wind-driven blaze took residents by surprise and levelled several neighbourhoods. Don Smith, an 81-year-old bulldozer operator from Pollock Pines, was killed when he was overtaken by the blaze while helping to clear vegetation in the wildfire’s path.

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Death toll from Greek wildfire reaches 91 as village grieves

By Costas Kantouris and Demetris Nellas
Associated Press in the St. Louis Dispatch
July 29, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MATI, Greece — Fire officials in Greece raised the death toll from a wildfire that raged through a coastal area east of Athens to 91 and reported that 25 people were missing Sunday, six days after Europe’s deadliest forest fire in more than a century. …The fire sped flames through the village of Mati, a popular resort spot, without warning on July 23. A database maintained by the Centre for the Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters in Brussels shows it as the deadliest wildfire in Europe since 1900. …Hellenic Fire Service spokeswoman Stavroula Malliri provided a breakdown that illustrated why the death toll continued to expand and the list of people thought to be missing was difficult to draw up with precision.

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Firefighters in Europe face another obstacle as forest fires rage: unexploded WWII ammunition

by Rick Noack
The Washington Post
July 27, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

Record heat waves and widespread droughts have left their scars this summer — from massive wildfires across Siberia to devastating blazes in Greece that left more than 85 people dead. In Germany, firefighters are now encountering a new challenge: WWII-era ammunition being set off by the flames.Firefighters used a tank to tackle a blaze near Berlin, as fears over WWII  ammunition explosions mounted. Tens of thousands of unexploded bombs and other types of ammunition are still hidden beneath cities and in forests across the country, which regularly results in evacuations as specialists work to defuse the still-lethal war remnants. Defusing WWII ammunition is not an option when a blaze is raging right around them, however.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Experts Say Urban Sprawl, Climate Change Hike Wildfire Risk

Associated Press in the New York Times
July 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

REDDING, Calif. — A fire that started in a rural community in Northern California underscored a new reality in the state when days later it suddenly roared through neighborhoods on the edge of the city of Redding: Urban areas are increasingly vulnerable to wildfires. In the last year, neighborhoods in the Northern California wine country city of Santa Rosa and the Southern California beach city of Ventura have been devastated. Hotter weather attributed to climate change is drying out vegetation, creating more intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, climate and fire experts say. But they also blame municipalities that are expanding housing into previously undeveloped areas. …”There are just places were there should not be subdivisions,” said Kurt Henke, a former fire chief in Sacramento …”More people living in high fire risk areas than usual.”

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Warmth brings more pests and pathogens to Finland’s forests

YLE News
July 29, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

European spruce bark beetles (Ips typographus) have become so prevalent in the southern forests of Finland that most of the spruce trees there have been destroyed. Antti Pouttu, a researcher with the National Resources Institute of Finland, says that climate change has been a real boon for the pests, who reproduce in the inner bark of the trees when conditions are right. … “They usually don’t make their homes in the best trees, but this year has given them plenty of dried out ones to choose from. This of course contributes to their numbers rising,” Pouttu says. He says there will likely be two or more generations of the insects born this summer because the weather has stayed so warm. …He says that between the nun moth and the bark beetle, things aren’t looking good for the future of coniferous trees in Finland.

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Science Says: Record heat, fires worsened by climate change

Associated Press in Vancouver Sun
July 28, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Heat waves are setting all-time temperature records across the globe, again. Europe suffered its deadliest wildfire in more than a century, and one of nearly 90 large fires in the U.S. West burned dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of at least 37,000 people near Redding, California. Flood-inducing downpours have pounded the U.S. East this week. It’s all part of summer — but it’s all being made worse by human-caused climate change, scientists say. “Weirdness abounds,” said Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis. …“We now have very strong evidence that global warming has already put a thumb on the scales, upping the odds of extremes like severe heat and heavy rainfall,” Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said. …Climate change is making the world warmer because of the build-up of heat-trapping gases from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil and other human activities. 

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