Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 31, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

US Dept of Commerce set to make newsprint tariff ruling

The Tree Frog Forestry News
July 31, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

Divergent industries on both side of the border are hoping for tariff relief as the US Dept. of Commerce makes its final determination on newsprint. But just in case it results in more mill closures, the BC government is upping Catalyst Paper’s pension obligations. Other companies making news include recent financials for Canfor, Western Forest Products and Conifex.

In Forestry and Fire news: a U of Guelph ecologist says forest fires are becoming more destructive in Canada; a BC expert wants more prescribed burns; air quality advisories are in place across BC; the USFS Chief speaks out on how to reverse the fire problem; and Sierra Pacific is closing its forests to the public. 

Finally; SmartLAM says the US is ready for CLT, Dezeen highlights timber use in a Portugal church renovation; but the concrete industry says wood-framed construction is both unsafe and uneconomic

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Newsprint-tariffs ruling key in Canada-U.S. trade war

By David Parkinson and Brent Jang
The Globe and Mail
July 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A key decision from the U.S. government is coming this week on newsprint, one of the many fronts in the broadening Canada-U.S. trade battle, with divergent industries on both sides of the border holding out slim hope of some relief from the punishing levies imposed on Canadian supplies. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Commerce will meet to make a final determination… A public announcement of the department’s decision is set for Thursday. The tariffs have garnered more public attention in the United States, as the spike in costs triggered by the tariffs pushes beleaguered newspapers to the brink. For Canadian producers… shipments of newsprint into the United States in May fell 18 per cent compared with the same month in 2017… though many Canadian producers have started to increase shipments to East Asia and India.

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Canfor Corporation reported operating income of $282.1 million

Lesprom Network
July 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor Corporation reported operating income of $282.1 million for the 2Q 2018, up $78.3 million from reported operating income of $203.8 million for the 1Q 2018, with the increase reflecting significantly higher lumber segment operating earnings and record-high pulp and paper segment operating earnings. After adjusting for duties, operating income was $333.8 million for the 2Q 2018, up $95.1 million from similarly adjusted operating income in the 1Q 2018. …Canfor’s President and CEO, Don Kayne, said, “Our lumber and pulp businesses continued to generate strong financial results reflecting both the strength of the lumber and pulp markets and a return to more normal operating conditions in the 2Q. Our solid operational performance enabled us to capitalize on these favourable market fundamentals, and set new record-high operating earnings.”

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Should You Be Happy With Conifex Timber’s Performance Lately?

By Walter Gay
Simply Wall St
July 31, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Measuring Conifex Timber’s track record of past performance is a valuable exercise for investors. …Conifex’s trailing twelve-month earnings (from 31 March 2018) of CA$20.93m has declined by -48.12% compared to the previous year. Furthermore, this one-year growth rate has been lower than its average earnings growth rate over the past 5 years of 44.72%, indicating the rate at which Conifix is growing has slowed down. …In the last few years, revenue growth has fallen behind which implies that Conifex Timber’s bottom line has been propelled by unsustainable cost-reductions. …In terms of returns from investment, Conifex Timber has not invested its equity funds well, leading to a 9.85% return on equity, below the sensible minimum of 20%. Furthermore, its return on assets of 5.90% is below the CA Forestry industry of 9.29%.

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Is Western Forest Products Inc’s CEO Salary Justified?

By Kyle Sanford
Simply Wall St
July 31, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Don Demens is the CEO of Western Forest Products, which has recently grown to a market capitalization of CA$987.03m. Understanding how CEOs are incentivised to run and grow their company is an important aspect of investing in a stock. This is because, if incentives are aligned, more value is created for shareholders which directly impacts your returns as an investor. …While there is no cookie-cutter approach… we can gauge a high-level benchmark to see if WEF deviates substantially from its peers. …Generally, a Canadian small-cap has a value of $345M, creates earnings of $24M, and remunerates its CEO at roughly $770,000 per annum. Based on the size of WEF in terms of market cap, as well as its performance, using earnings as a proxy, it appears that Demens is paid above other Canadian CEOs of small-caps, on average.

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Pulp mill struggles long-term, Premier John Horgan says

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
July 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Horgan

The B.C. government’s move to restructure Catalyst Paper’s pension obligations is only the start of a long-term restructuring of the forest industry, Premier John Horgan says. The immediate threat is the imposition of anti-dumping duties totalling 22 per cent that took effect in April, which Horgan called “an assault on our industries” and unfair trade practices by the U.S. …Horgan said the regulation change made Friday to extend Catalyst’s time to pay off a pension funding shortfall is designed to prevent a scenario faced by Sears employees in B.C. “who went to the bottom of the line when it came to addressing receivership.” Keeping pulp and paper mills from meeting a similar fate, as they struggle with the latest round of anti-dumping duties that protect U.S. mills from Canadian competition, is the immediate task.

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The Governments of Quebec and Canada support the growth of Uniboard Canada in Val-d’Or Français

By Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
Cision Newswire
July 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

VAL-D’OR, Quebec — The Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada (CED) have awarded a total of $19.9 million to Uniboard Canada, a manufacturer of reconstituted wood products, to support an innovative project valued at an estimated $38.5 million. The funding will allow the company to upgrade the production chain at its Val-d’Or particle board mill in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, in order to increase productivity. …The breakdown of the government assistance is as follows: a $10 million repayable interest-free loan from the Quebec ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation; a $5 million loan from CED; and a $4.9 million non-repayable financial contribution from NRCan through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program.

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Sawmills in “High Gear” for 2018

American Journal of Transportation
July 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Log and wood chip supply has been tight for sawmills and pulpmills in Sweden in 2017 and first half of 2018 as the forest industry has been running in high gear and forest fires have restricted log flows, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. The forest industry in Sweden has been running at high operating rates for over a year, resulting in increased importation of wood raw-material and higher domestic prices for sawlogs and pulplogs, according to the WRQ. From late 2016 to early 2018, domestic prices for sawlogs and pulplogs were up 16% and 19%, respectively. Consumption of wood raw-material by the Swedish forest industry increased in 2017 and early 2018, especially in the pulp sector, which struggled to supply their mills with wood fiber during the winter months. As a result, log and wood chip importation rose and domestic prices for sawlogs and pulpwood increased, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

FPInnovations’ scientist Wadood Hamad honoured by TAPPI

FPInnovations
July 27, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Wadood Hamad

FPInnovations is very proud to share the news that Wadood Hamad, Principal Scientist and Research Leader of the Transformation and interfaces group, was recently awarded the 2018 TAPPI Nanotechnology Division Technical Award—an award conferred by The Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI). This is an award and international recognition for both Wadood and FPInnovations for the great work on cellulose nanomaterials. Wadood’s specialization lies in materials development and characterization, with particular focus on cellulose nanocrystals and filaments. Wadood and his team focus on conducting advanced research, and aim to produce sustainable and innovative solutions in flexible organic electronics, emulsions, gels, foams, and nanocomposites for a multitude of industrial, medical and consumer products.

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University of Toronto part of team designing Toronto’s first vertical forest

University of Toronto News
July 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

Plans are in place to build Toronto’s first vertical forest – a 27-storey condo enveloped by hundreds of trees that its designers say will provide much-needed green space for city residents and local wildlife. The design team, led by architect Brian Brisbin, includes Robert Wright, the University of Toronto’s dean of the Faculty of Forestry and an associate professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. The building’s design challenges include planting 400 to 500 trees on a vertical structure, which is to be located off Davenport Road, and making sure the trees receive sufficient irrigation and can withstand Toronto’s harsh winters.

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SmartLAM president says the US is ready for cross-laminated timber

By Laurie Cowin
Construction Drive
July 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Casey Malmquist

With the cross-laminated timber (CLT) market expected to reach 1.4 million cubic meters by 2022, timber-focused firms that play their cards right are primed for healthy growth. Casey Malmquist, president and general manager of Columbia Falls, Montana-based SmartLAM, founded the company in 2012. SmartLAM was the first manufacturer of CLT in the U.S. and one of just a handful in North America. Malmquist, a builder and developer, worked with offsite construction and had what he said was an “a-ha” moment when he discovered CLT due to the potential he saw in it from a business perspective and because the material’s renewability resonated with his background in environmental studies. Malmquist discussed with Construction Dive the benefits and opportunities in the mass timber market.

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Los Angeles County Study Exposes Dangers of Wood-Framed Construction

By Build with Strength
Cision Newswire
July 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES — A study released by Urvashi Kaul, Consultant and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University, seeks to address the issue of wood-framed residential fires, particularly multi-family wood-framed structures. By examining two California fires, Kaul utilized a cost-benefit analysis of the economic impact incurred by citizens and local governments to determine the potential repercussions of similar fires over the next fifteen years. …the study suggests that under current building codes, the County of Los Angeles could be facing billions of dollars in losses …due to wood-framed construction fires. “I lost most of my belongings, the family dog, nearly everything due to an electrical fire that burned my wood-framed childhood home,” says Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. …National and local building codes have been relaxed considerably over recent years, which has led to an increase in wood-framed residential construction.

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Wooden “forest” forms an inner sanctuary inside Imaculada Chapel in Braga

By Katie de Klee
Dezeen
July 31, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

This raised wooden structure, designed by Cerejeira Fontes Architects, creates a secluded inner chapel inside an old church in Braga, Portugal. Braga-based Cerejeira Fontes was tasked with renovating the Imaculada Chapel, a decaying church building built during the second world war.  Rather than focusing on the existing building, the architects decided to instead insert a new tree-inspired structure, the Cheia de Graça Chapel, within its walls. Designed to make use of the chapel’s height, this wooden building on stilts creates a sanctuary in the heart of the space. “The chapel erected in wood creates a balanced structure that manifests as a forest at the entrance of the sacred space,” said the design team. …This isn’t the team’s first revamp of a religious building – they previously inserted a slatted timber chapel inside a school for friarselsewhere in Braga.

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Forestry

Forest fires will become more widespread and destructive, expert warns

By Ryan Flanagan
CTV News
July 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Merritt Turetsky

As hundreds of wildfires rage in Ontario and B.C., one expert is warning that the increased forest fire activity being experienced this year is about to become a regular feature of Canadian summers. “The science is very clear,” Merritt Turetsky, an ecologist at the University of Guelph, told CTV’s Your Morning. “Fires are now burning larger than they ever have before. They’re getting more intense than they have been in the past. This is only projected to get worse.” …Forest fires are typically considered a normal part of a strong ecosystem. …However, Turetsky said, the increase in forest fire activity and severity could lead to significant consequences for affected ecosystems. She has studied boreal forests in Alaska and the Northwest Territories which burned in major wildfires. In both cases, the forest didn’t bounce back in the way researchers expected. “Large areas there are simply not regrowing vegetation,” she said. 

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Fire ecologist advocates prescribed burns

By John Arendt
Nelson Star
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Robert Gray

Massive wildfires, evacuation orders and smoky skies are becoming regular facets of summer in the B.C. Interior and will continue to become more severe, a B.C. fire ecologist predicts. Robert Gray, a Chilliwack-based fire ecologist with more than 30 years experience in fire science, believes conditions such as those seen in 2017 will become increasingly common — unless new forest management practices are adopted. “We’re likely to see more of what we’ve seen in the last couple of years,” he said. Gray is the president of R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd. and works with forest management in the United States and Canada. In 2017, the province experienced one of the worst fire seasons in its history. That year, more than 1.2 million hectares of land was burned and roughly 65,000 people were evacuated. …Gray suggests conducting prescribed burns in spring and fall to reduce the amount of fuel available for wildfires in the summer.

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California battling 17 large wildfires, spends one-fourth of annual fire budget in July

By Jeff Daniels
CNBC News
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

One month into California’s fiscal year, the state has already spent about one-fourth of its emergency fund fighting fires across the state. Now with more than a dozen large wildfires raging and firefighting resources stretched thin, crews are on the way from as far as the East Coast. There are now 12,000 firefighters on the lines battling 17 large wildfires, which have destroyed more than 1,000 structures and continue to threaten an additional 25,000 homes, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. At least eight deaths have been attributed to the fires, which have burned about almost 240,000 acres, or about 375 square miles up and down the state. “We’re very active right now across the state with fires,” said Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean. “Vegetation is so dry, especially with the winds that are coming and have been coming.”

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Fire risk prompts forestland owner to shut down property in Cowlitz, Lewis counties

The Longview Daily News
July 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Hot, dry weather and extreme fire danger have prompted Sierra Pacific Industries to close its forestlands in Southwest Washington, including those in Cowlitz, Lewis and Clark counties. The company owns about 150,000 acres in the region, most of it in the Mineral/Morton area of Lewis County and in Cowlitz County south of Ryderwood west of Interstate 5, said spokeswoman Lisa Perry. Sierra Pacific usually allows non-motorized public access to its lands for hunting and other recreation, but all access now is barred until substantial rains douse the fire risk. Closure signs are posted on gates, Perry said. Sierra Pacific is a third-generation, family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, California. The firm owns and manages nearly 2 million acres of timberland in California and Washington and is one of the largest lumber producers in the United States.

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Forest Service Chief Talks Need For New Fire Management, Fuel Treatments

By Tony Schick
Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Vicki Christiansen

The West is in the midst of another intense fire season. Fires in California and Oregon have claimed lives and homes and burned up farmland. As part of EarthFix’s ongoing series on wildfire, reporter Tony Schick spoke with interim Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen about what her agency is doing to reform fire management and reverse the fire problem. Christiansen discussed her agency’s approach to wildfire management and what she’s doing to reduce the damage from wildfire in the future. Below are some of her responses on these issues, edited for length and clarity. As EarthFix reported, the Forest Service still suppresses nearly all fires, decades after recognizing the danger in that practice.

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‘Woodlands partnership’ wins passage in Legislature

By Larry Parnass
The Berkshire Eagle
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Charlie Baker

Part of a bill now on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk could unlock the economic potential of Massachusetts forests in ways not seen for a century. Or, its opponents fear, the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership could compromise thousands of acres of forests and exacerbate climate change in a misguided search for short-term gains. Five years after it was proposed, the 21-town partnership project made it into the environmental bond bill the Legislature enacted Monday. Proponents, including top environmental groups, insist the partnership will help secure the future of public and private forest land in northwest Massachusetts. …Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, and Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, both say the measure was adjusted to respond to concerns by some that it was an effort to accelerate use of biomass as a fuel source.

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New York gives up the fight, lifts ash quarantine

By Robert Dalhelm
Woodworking Network
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States
NEW YORK – It seems that New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has given up in fighting the Emerald Ash Borer, as it has lifted quarantines. …the DEC repealed logging restrictions that had failed to contain the spread of the insect by limiting shipments of ash. “Regulations are no longer serving the purpose of slowing the spread of Emerald Ash Borer or allowing time for municipal governments to plan for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer,” said the notice. “The financial cost of the regulations to state government and the forest products industry now outweigh the limited economic benefit of protecting a dwindling ash resource from infestation”. “Immediate repeal of these regulations will allow the forest products industry and forest landowners to harvest and process ash that is still of high quality.”

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Spectacular frog identified as new species

The University of Manchester
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Sylvia’s Tree Frog

One of the world’s most spectacular frogs has been identified as a new species after 20 years of painstaking research at The University of Manchester. Amphibian conservationist Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology at Manchester Museum, has named the creature Sylvia’s Tree Frog, Cruziohyla sylviae, after his 3-year-old granddaughter. The large colourful tree frog has remained under the radar of zoologists for almost 100 years. Sylvia’s Tree Frog, Cruziohyla sylviae, was originally collected in Panama in 1925 but has remained confused with the Splendid Tree Frog, Cruziohyla calcarifer, ever since. …Less than 50 specimens are known of that species and less than 150 specimens of Sylvia’s Tree Frog are recorded.

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President-elect looks to tree planting to create Mexico jobs

The Associated Press
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he wants to create 400,000 jobs by planting 1 million hectares with timber and fruit trees. Lopez Obrador said in a video posted Sunday that he wants to plant half the total amount in 2019, focusing on timber species like cedar and mahogany. The other half would be planted in 2020. Referring to the Usumacinta river basin near the border with Guatemala, Lopez Obrador said 50,000 to 100,000 hectares could be planted there. He said the upper canopy of timber species could provide cover for cacao plantings beneath. Cacao is the source of chocolate.

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Environment Protection Authority fines Forestry Corporation of NSW $30,000

Bellingen Courier Sun
July 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Forestry Corporation of NSW has been fined $30,000 for allegedly breaching their environment protection licence and causing water pollution during harvesting operations at Gladstone State Forest during March 2018. Following reports from the North East Forest Alliance and the Bellingen Environment Centre about water pollution in the forest, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) inspected the area on  March 9. The corporation was fined $15,000 for failing to carry out a licence condition which required certain road and drainage structures to be constructed and maintained to control erosion and sediment. …“The EPA have also advised today that they are continuing to investigate the range of other matters raised by community members over logging in Gladstone State Forest,” Ashley Love from the Bellingen Environment Centre said. “Some of the reports were submitted over 12 months ago.”

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VicForests’ logging that kills gliders done so intensively ‘it may have breached law’

By Michael Slezak
ABC News Australia
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A logging company owned by the Victorian Government may have broken the law during the controversial clearing of forest that’s home to a threatened species, according to a formal complaint. On Sunday, the ABC revealed VicForests was conducting an experiment in which it logs the habitat of the threatened greater glider using different techniques, and then measures how many gliders survive. The logging company, which is fully owned by the State Government, has dubbed the experiment the “Greater Glider Project”. Greater gliders are listed as a threatened species under federal and state law. At least a third of their population has been lost in the past two decades, with habitat loss listed as a threat with “catastrophic” consequences. Conservationists have now alleged that logging in one of the experimental areas was done so intensively, it may have breached the law.

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Luke and FAO sign MoU to forge closer links in sustainable forestry

Scitech Europa
July 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A partnership between FAO and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) promises to forge closer links in the key areas of sustainable forestry, the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change and food security. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed today sets out a plan of work that builds on an existing collaboration, significantly expanding its scope in terms of geography and vision to forge closer links in sustainable forestry. Luke, a multi-disciplinary research institution with expertise in renewable natural resources, works to provide innovative solutions for food production and development based on a bio-economy and sustainable use of natural resources. Forestry is a special focus of its research portfolio, which also addresses the areas of water and fisheries, innovative food systems and improved information on how to balance sound environmental values with human requirements.

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Forest Fires

Yukon fire danger remains high as Alberta crews called in to help territory’s firefighters

CBC News
July 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Firefighters from Alberta have been called in to help Yukon firefighters while the fire danger rating remains high or extreme in much of the central and southern regions of the territory. There are around 17 active fires in Yukon, said Mike Etches, Yukon’s director of wildland fire management. He said 15 firefighters from Alberta have joined roughly 70 Yukoners in fighting fires around the territory. He said the Albertans are backfilling for local firefighters who need a break. An air tanker from Alberta is also helping with fires in the Watson Lake area. …An evacuation alert remains in place for an area north of Watson Lake, but Etches said the fire is moving north and away from the community. He said a forestry operation in the Haines Junction area was asked to cease operations in the bush because of the fire risk.

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Smoke-filled air and smog prompt air quality advisories across British Columbia

Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
July 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER — A blood orange sun rose over much of British Columbia on Monday, a warning of high levels of smoky particulate and elevated ground-level ozone in the air. Environment Canada has issued air quality advisories for every region of B.C., except Haida Gwaii on the northern edge of Vancouver Island and a small corner of the province bordering Yukon and Alaska. Meteorologist Matt MacDonald of Environment Canada said 20 straight days without rain combined with the past nine days of stagnant heat and sunlight have reacted with vehicle emissions and chemical solvents, which have produced elevated levels of ground-level ozone in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. “It’s not good for humans,” said MacDonald. He said tests show ozone levels were at moderate risk, adding that Monday and Tuesday would likely be the sunniest days of the week and see higher levels.

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Ontario Forest Fires Threaten Trans Canada Highway

By Nicole Thompson
Canadian Press in Huffington Post
July 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

PARRY SOUND, Ont. — Crews battling massive fires in northwestern Ontario have been diverted to the heart of the province’s cottage country, where a smaller blaze that started more than a week ago is inching closer to a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway, provincial officials said Monday. The fire, known as Parry Sound 33, was just six kilometres away from a portion of Highway 69 on Monday — a kilometre closer than it was a day before, a spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Resources said. Officials have said it was started on July 18 and the cause is under investigation. The 89-square-kilometre wildfire in northeastern Ontario has drawn crews away from a blaze three times its size along the province’s northwest border, more than a thousand kilometres away, said spokesman Chris Marchand.

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Alabama Forestry Commission talks wildfires

By Rosanna Smith
WSFA 12 News
July 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

MONTGOMERY, AL — The Alabama Forestry Commission is evaluating what they can do to help in the midst of more than a dozen wildfires that have spread across California with minimal containment. …”Right now they are scrambling for resources. They are using a lot of aerial resources water drops and retardant drops,” said Balsie Butler, fire operations chief with the Alabama Forestry Commission. Butler says what they are dealing with out west is extremely dangerous. …Butler says the biggest difference between Alabama and California currently is we are getting rain on a consistent basis. In addition to that, Alabama has a robust Prescribed Fire Council that encourages landowners to do prescribed burning to reduce wooded debris. Prescribed burning is also an effective tool to reduce the risk of wildfire.

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Get the Latest Update on the California Fires From These Google Maps

By Brittany Shoot
Fortune Magazine
July 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

California fires are ablaze again this summer, destroying homes and businesses, causing the deaths of at least at least six people, and displacing thousands. With the worst blazes raging across Northern California near Redding with more smaller fires burning across Southern California, the 2018 California wildfires are difficult to keep track of. Thankfully, Google Maps has released its 2018 California fire map that lists updates on the various blazes, as well as a Google Crisis Map with information about air quality, evacuation orders, shelters, fire containment statistics, road closures, and more. Google’s 2018 Statewide Fire Map for California lists all the active fires in the state for which California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is responding. The continuously updated map is a good way for people not in the midst of the smoke to get a better understanding of the challenges currently facing the Golden State.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

University of British Columbia’s Citizen’s Coolkit provides tips to cool your home and neighbourhood

By Cory Correia
CBC News
July 31, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

As temperatures heat up around the globe and close to home, UBC’s Citizen’s Coolkit on Climate Change and Urban Forestry provides a do-it-yourself guide to help keep your neighbourhood cool.  The coolkit provides advice on planting low maintenance native species of shrubs and trees, retrofitting your home with energy saving features, and reducing your risk to the effects of climate change. “[The coolkit is a] package of sort of fun exercises that pretty much anyone can do where they live to sort of learn or teach themselves really about climate change, and what it means for them in their home, and on the block,” said Stephen Sheppard, principal investigator for the coolkit. Sheppard says homeowners can do a lot to increase the cooling potential of their home during the hot summer months, without resorting to energy intensive appliances like air conditioners. 

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When The Weather Is Extreme, Is Climate Change To Blame?

By Laurel Wamsley
Oregon Public Broadcasting
July 30, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Dramatic weather events happened this past week in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. There were wildfires in Greece, Scandinavia, and the Western U.S. Flooding followed record rainfalls in the Northeast. And dangerous heat waves settled over the Southwest, Japan, and the U.K. If it continues like this, 2018 could end up being one of the hottest years on record. When the news is full of stories on extreme weather, it’s hard not to wonder: Is this what climate change looks like Climate scientists say yes — though it’s complicated. Take wildfires, for example. …Wildfires are part of the ecosystem of the American West, and scientists expect a certain number of them under normal average conditions. But what global warming does, says Jennifer Balch [professor in geography and director of Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder], is change the backdrop against which they happen.

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Drax signs major £40m deal with Siemens

Hull Daily Mail
July 31, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Drax Power has signed a £40m contract with Siemens for the upgrade of turbines on three of its biomass units. The three-year deal aims to cut the cost of biomass electricity production at the power station, and comes as part of Drax’s switch to run on wood pellets instead of coal. One biomass unit will be upgraded for each year of the contract and it is hoped the upgrades will also improve efficiency of renewable energy production. The work will start in 2019. …Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO, said: “We firmly believe that biomass has a long-term role to play in the UK’s energy infrastructure. …“Reducing the costs of our biomass operations will help to preserve the life of the plant and protect jobs, whilst we continue to produce the flexible, renewable power millions of homes and businesses rely on.”

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