Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 31, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Portland Cement fear mongers to influence code vote on tall wood buildings

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

The International Code Council is set to vote this fall on whether it will back a code change to allow construction of wood buildings up to 18 stories—much to the chagrin and trepedation of the Portland Cement Association [see stoptallwood.com). Elsewhere: Brad Pitt is being sued for homes he helped build post-Hurricane Katrina, Australia celebrates the towering potential of timber; and wood toy blocks come back into vogue. 

In Business news: a NAFTA deal is expected today—at least in principle—as Canada pushes to save the Chapter 19 dispute panels; Statistics Canada reports lumber production is down in June; and UK utility The Drax Group plots its coal-free future with US wood pellets.

Finally, the worst of BC’s record wildfire season is over, and the property and timber values were less than last year; and California’s Governor Brown supports legislation allowing for more logging in the state’s fire-prone forests.

–Kelly McCloskey,Tree Frog Editor 

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Business & Politics

Canada’s lumber production down 2.9% in June

Statistics Canada
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada
STATISTIC CANADA — Canada’s lumber production fell 7.1% from May to 5 555.4 thousand cubic metres of lumber in June 2018. Production was 2.9% lower than in June 2017. Sawmills shipped 5 728.0 thousand cubic metres of lumber in June, down 8.4% from May and 0.5% lower compared with June 2017. [END]

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High-level Canada-U.S. trade deal likely to be announced Friday, with details to come later

By Tom Blackwell
The National Post
August 31, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. and Canada will likely announce a trade agreement in principle on Friday, even if the details of it will have to be hammered out later, two American sources with knowledge of the talks said Thursday. The countries only began negotiating in earnest on Wednesday after the States and Mexico forged a bilateral deal, but have been working around the clock to try to meet a Friday deadline for including Canada. …An announcement is expected “with high-level areas of agreement” that would allow U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to file notice to Congress. Then the two sides would continue to negotiate. …The Americans are pushing to get a deal by Friday to allow Mexico’s outgoing president to sign it before he leaves office Dec. 1, while providing Congress the 90-day notice required before trade deals are signed.

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Canada Pushes to Save Trade Dispute Panels Over U.S. Objection

By Josh Wingrove and Jennifer Jacobs
Bloomberg Economics
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The fate of a Nafta deal between the U.S. and Canada could hinge on the same issue that almost killed the countries’ first trade pact a generation ago– dispute panels that the Trump administration wants to eliminate. …Canada cited its ongoing disagreement with the U.S. over allegations it dumps lumber into America as a reason to keep the panels, they said. One U.S. official said it’s not certain whether America will budge on its demand to end the panels. …The U.S. says the panel overrides the American court system and its sovereignty. Ottawa sees it as a crucial independent protection from having disputes mired in U.S. courts. …Canada is not seeking to resolve the softwood dispute or U.S. tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments as part of Nafta talks this week, the Canadian officials said.

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Canadian firm purchase Exterior Wood

By Dawn Feldaus
The Camas-Washougal Post-Record
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

PORTLAND — Employees of Exterior Wood in Washougal, are expected to keep their jobs, following the company’s sale to a Canadian wholesale distributor of building materials. Taiga Building Products Ltd., of Burnaby, British Columbia, has purchased Exterior Wood for $42 million. The purchase included the parties entering into an escrow agreement to pay for “certain environmental remediation measures,” using a portion of the purchase price, up to $3.84 million. The city of Washougal expects to issue a determination of nonsignificance for a proposal that will involve the excavation of roughly 1,320 cubic yards of contaminated soils from a stormwater swale at 3000 Addy Street and an adjacent ditch along Highway 14.

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Forestry has big impact on North Louisiana

By Scott Martinez, president, North Louisiana Economic Partnership
Shreveport Times
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Scott Martinez

Shreveport plays host this week to the Louisiana Forestry Association’s (LFA) 71st Annual Meeting. The North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), an accredited economic development organization, would like to welcome the hundreds of LFA members and industry leaders to the Top of Louisiana. This important industry sector has always been a leading economic driver in our region. …According to LSU Agricultural Center’s August 2018 economic breakdown of the industry’s economic impact, the forestry sector created nearly $4.3 billion in economic impact and generated more than 9,000 jobs in northwest Louisiana. …While the forestry industry suffered some setbacks in recent years, the sector has rebounded. New orders and exports of wood and paper products were up during the first quarter of 2018, according to the Institute for Supply Management. …NLEP’s business development program has dedicated resources toward recruiting and supporting forestry companies. We as a state and a region must support this important sector

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Trade Commission reversal on paper tariffs cheered

By William Thornton
Alabama Business
August 30, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

The United States International Trade Commission struck down a tariff on Canadian paper imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration that many argued was hitting small town and big city newspapers alike hard. …The decision was music to the ears of Tommy McGraw, who has been publisher of the Sumter County Record Journal in Livingston since 1990. “First of all, I’ll say thank Jesus,” McGraw said, before going on to recognize the contribution of Alabama’s delegation in Washington. McGraw earlier this month had used the front page to brace readers of the Record Journal for “possible dramatic increases.” … Also cheering the decision was U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who said in a statement that the reversal is “a huge win for our local newspapers, which are truly the lifeblood of their communities.”

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Canfor Contributes Lumber to New Community Hall in Radium Hot Springs

By Michelle Ward
Canfor Blog
August 28, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the Radium Hot Springs Centre along with Mel Jones, Plant Manager (Radium), and Conrad Robson, Product Supply Coordinator Shipping (Radium), on August 25th. What made the grand opening so special was that we donated lumber produced at the Radium mill to the project. …It was used for the building’s exterior siding, as well as structurally in the ceiling panels and accent pieces. It’s another project that demonstrates the beauty and benefits wood brings to buildings.

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Norbord’s “Thank A Framer” Campaign is Giving America More Framers to Thank

By Norbord Inc.
Cision Newswire
August 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. is launching its second video to kick off “Thank a Framer” month this September. This video follows the process of manufacturing oriented strand board (OSB) from the forest to the construction site, paying homage to workers in the supply chain along the way. It aims to highlight the vital role framers play and supports Norbord’s efforts to ease the construction labor shortage. With over 200,000 construction jobs vacant, the home building industry needs to train more Americans to fill these positions. Last year, Norbord launched the #ThankAFramer Campaign to raise awareness and donated US$1.1 million to the Home Builders Institute (HBI) to train framers to alleviate the labor shortage. “Last year’s Thank A Framer video has been an enormous success with over 4 million views,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and CEO.

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Under Fire: How We Rebuild After Wildfires

By Emily Pollock
Engineering.com
August 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

In 2017, wildfires swept across Europe and North America, causing record land loss and property destruction. The 2018 wildfire season is shaping up to be just as bad. …For people building or rebuilding in fire-prone areas, it could be a difficult normal to adjust to. In the wake of these fires, the question is: How do we rebuild stronger after wildfires? Even more importantly, should we? …To build fire-resistant buildings, the builder first needs to understand how wildfires behave. …The first line of defence is keeping the fire from spreading to the house in the first place. Any house in fire country needs a defensible space—an area around a building that has been cleared of vegetation and other debris that could catch fire.

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Wood high-rises still contentious ahead of ICC vote

Construction Dive
August 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The International Code Council is set to vote this fall on whether it will back a code change to allow construction of wood buildings up to 18 stories. A public comment hearing after the organization’s annual conference in October will be followed by an online voting period of two weeks. The ICC’s Ad Hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings approved several wood-related code proposals in April. However, the group has been met with opposition from some industry groups like the Portland Cement Association (PCA). In order to help address concerns, the committee set out to dispel common myths about the proposed code changes and clarify the codes themselves in a response document. …The PCA sponsored an 800-participant online survey in which 75% of respondents said they did not believe raising the allowable height of wood buildings was a good idea.  

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The Orders Stacked Up After Unit Blocks Came Back Into Vogue

By Paul Howey
Asheville Made
August 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Pepi Acebo …ran across a website that showed how to make toy building blocks, and he decided to give it a try.  He was good at it. “I found I could make unit blocks” — wooden toy blocks cut to standardized measurements — “that were better than the ones I could buy,” says Acebo.  From the outset, he chose to make blocks more precisely sized (designed to a tolerance of +/- 5/1000 of an inch) than anyone else was doing. …What’s more, his blocks were safer. …even companies highly regarded for interactive educational toys, manufacture blocks with that and other tropical and subtropical hardwoods that are treated with insecticides. Acebo makes his blocks from Forest Stewardship Council-certified hard rock maple, “wood that is as close to hypoallergenic as you can get,” he claims. …Using a band saw and a sander in his work, he now hires assistants as needed in his 500-square-foot workshop off Patton Avenue.

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Brad Pitt foundation faces lawsuit over New Orleans homes

Associated Press in NWI Times
August 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

NEW ORLEANS — An attorney plans to sue actor Brad Pitt’s foundation over the degradation of homes built in an area of New Orleans that was among the hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. The forthcoming lawsuit against Pitt’s Make It Right foundation will be filed on behalf of some Lower Ninth Ward residents, who attorney Ron Austin told WWL-TV have reported sicknesses, headaches, and infrastructural issues. …But 10 years and more than $26 million later, construction has halted at around 40 houses short of Pitt’s goal, and some homes are falling apart. Residents have reported sagging porches, mildewing wood and leaky roofs. …The foundation in 2014 did spend an average of $12,000 each on 39 homes to replace the deteriorating TimberSIL lumber, which was billed as environmentally friendly, weatherproof and durable, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reported . Make It Right then sued TimberSIL for $500,000, but it’s unclear whether that dispute was settled.

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From skyscraper to ‘plyscraper’: The towering potential of timber

By Antony Funnell, Future Tense
ABC News Australia
August 30, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In the inner Brisbane suburb of Bowen Hills, the finishing touches are being put on a giant jigsaw puzzle — a nine-storey office block built almost entirely of wood. Tens of thousands of prefabricated panels and beams have been bolted and screwed into place. At first glance the building looks indistinguishable from its steel and concrete contemporaries. …This new approach to construction involves what’s called “mass engineered timber”: wooden beams and sheeting designed and manufactured for maximum strength by using a process of lamination or layering. As a result, only the first two stories of the King Street building need to be constructed with concrete. …How high timber-framed buildings can go is an open question. …”As you go higher the wind loading on a building becomes a much more dominant force,” Mr McGuire says. “So, as you get higher you might look at hybrid designs using some reinforced concrete… to take the lateral stability.

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Forestry

Questions arise about why local firm overlooked in forest fire fighting

By James Wood
My Campbell River Now
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VICTORIA, B.C- The BC Wildfire Service has been a lightning rod for criticism this fire season. Many people around the province have been upset by the fact that the provincial firefighting service will not deploy resources to remote communities… Coulson Aviation, based in Port Alberni, has contracted out three planes to the California government to fight wildfire and questions have been raised as to why the province of BC hasn’t gone this route. Provincial Fire Information Officer Kyla Fraser says the wildfire service doesn’t have the option to contract out and use these C-130’s. “Coulson C-130 aircraft isn’t registered for use in Canada, only in the United States,” says Fraser. “The BC Wildfire Service would only be able to use this aircraft if it was registered in Canada, or if it was under contract with the U.S. Forest Service, so we could access it through our mutual aid resource-sharing agreement.”

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Time for a Trucking Advisory Group?

Bridge River Lillooet News
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

It’s been a bad month for logging truck spills and rollovers in the Lillooet area. They’ve occurred on the Bridge Main, Highway 12 and most noticeably on Road 40 last week near its intersection with T&T Road. When we arrived at last week’s accident scene, our first question was “Was anyone hurt?” …We don’t know the cause of last Wednesday’s accident …We don’t want to bash the forest industry or the fellows who drive the logging trucks. The industry has bounced back to again become an important contributor to our local economy and the drivers have tough jobs …If last week’s rollover is another example of someone driving a loaded logging truck at excessive speed, we believe it’s time to sit down and talk about logging truck safety in the Lillooet area. Perhaps we need something along the lines of a local version of the provincial Trucking Advisory Group.

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City, conservation authority team up to replace damaged trees

CBC News
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

The City of Ottawa is teaming up with a local conservation authority to help residents bear the cost of replacing trees consumed by the emerald ash borer. The city is working with South Nation Conservation (SNC) to offer homeowners half the cost of removing and replacing damaged ash trees. Ottawa homeowners will be eligible for up to $500 per tree to a maximum of 10 trees. SNC’s Ronda Boutz said it might be too late to stop the insect invasion, but the pilot project could help ease the impact. “We may not be able to stop, but what we will be able to do is replace the tree canopy we have lost from the ash borer,” Boutz said.  

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Newfoundland’s Commercial Cutting Permit Allocation policy to begin January 2019

The Telegram
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Gerry Byrne

The provincial government’s Commercial Cutting Permit Allocation policy will come into effect January 1, 2019. In a news release issued Thursday afternoon by Fisheries and Land Resources, it said the measures are aimed at increasing timber allocations and harvest levels by 20 per cent by 2020, as outlined in The Way Forward. It’s designed to increase the amount of commercial volume harvested and to provide more opportunities to promote forest industry growth, the release states. “These upcoming changes…will ensure better use of our valuable timber resource when the policy comes into effect in the new year,” minister Gerry Byrne was quoted saying in the news release.

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Forests are the Answer – Early Bird Discount Expires August 31

Sustainable Forestry Initiative
August 31, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

When it comes to providing supply chain assurances, producing conservation outcomes, and supporting education and community engagement – Forests are the Answer. The 2018 SFI Annual Conference will engage you in a discussion focused on why Forests are the Answer to so many of our conservation, community, and supply chain challenges and opportunities. Register today to receive our early bird registration rates.  Starting September 1st, registration rates increase by $100.  And don’t forget to check out our registration rates and discounts to learn how you can save 10, 15, or even 25%.  Whether you’re bringing a colleague to the conference for the first time, multiple employees from your organization, or work for a non-profit organization, we have a discount for you.  Or if you have any questions, please contact Amy Doty at amy.doty@sfiprogram.org or (202) 596-3458.

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Brown echoes Zinke in push to fight wildfires with more logging, thinning

By Valerie Richardson
The Washington Times
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

California Gov. Jerry Brown is taking a page from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s playbook by pushing legislation to clear the way for more logging in the state’s fire-prone forests. Mr. Brown has backed an 11th-hour push to create exemptions in California’s notoriously tough environmental regulations, allowing small landowners to cut down larger-diameter trees, build temporary access roads in the woods, and bypass red tape in securing state approval of thinning projects. The move… comes as part of Senate Bill 901, an expansive wildfire-prevention proposal slated for Assembly and Senate votes Friday evening. Rich Gordon, president of the California Forestry Association, said the bill would be “really beneficial to forest health in California.” …environmentalists are split. Some green groups dropped their opposition after the bill was amended… but not the Sierra Club, which argued that the measure is still too aggressive.

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Utah official criticizes ‘stupid’ wildfire management decisions

By Amy Joi O’Donoghue
KSL.com
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SALT LAKE CITY — …”It has been a horrible fire season in the state of Utah…” state forester Brian Cottam said. …Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox pointed to a 2012 plume of smoke that he said a Forest Service official decided to let burn. It erupted into the Seeley Fire, which cost $9 million to quell and continues to cause immense problems with the watershed in Emery County. “It was a stupid decision,” he said. “And we paid for that years and years after that.” …This year locals spotted another plume of smoke in the Manti-La Sal Forest and learned it was a Forest Service-prescribed burn in late May or early June — at a time the state is suffering from one of the worst droughts in generations, Cox said. …They were completely shocked when three days later it jumped the fire lines,” Cox said. “…someone behind a desk is making really terrible decisions.”

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Department of Natural Resources announces first Good Neighbor Timber sale

By Brian Neale
KXLY Spokane
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has awarded its first Good Neighbor Authority restoration timber harvest sale. Colville-based Vaagen Brothers Timber Company was the successful bidder Tuesday for a project that will reduce hazardous timber overgrowth on 604 acres of forest in the Colville National Forest.  “This project is a great example of the partnerships we will need to address the forest health crisis that has filled Washington’s skies with wildfire smoke the past couple of summers. Wildfire doesn’t care about who owns the forestland; neither can our restoration efforts,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “With this sale, we are taking a big step towards the goals laid out in our 20-year Forest Health Strategic Plan that will make our communities safer from wildfire and forests more productive.”

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Locals unload over smoke as officials weigh controlled burn changes

By Nick Morgan
Mail Tribune
August 30, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A meeting intended to discuss proposed looser limits to controlled burns during the off-season became a lightning rod of catharsis for Southern Oregonians who’d far exceeded their smoke limit for the summer. A crowd of upwards of 70 locals turned out to the Smullin Health Education Center Wednesday evening to voice frustration on a variety of forest management policies that have led to two months of choking wildfire smoke in Southern Oregon, surprising officials with the Oregon departments of Forestry and Environmental Quality advocating for proposed changes to proscribed burn regulations in the off-season. …Questions and comments during the hearing largely touched on locals’ exasperation with the growing frequency and intensity of wildfires and the smoke they bring that have hit across the west and made for two months of smoke Southern Oregon.

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Forest Fires

More land burned, but human impacts have been lower: BC Wildfire Service

By Amy Smart
Canadian Press in the Globe and Mail
August 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government says although wildfires have broken last year’s record for the area of land burned, the human impacts have been much lower. Fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek of the BC Wildfire Service said fires have scorched about 12,520 square kilometres this season, compared with 12,160 square kilometres last year. …The 2017 and 2003 fire seasons had higher impacts in terms of property, environmental and timber values, he said, although he did not have all of those figures readily available. Emergency Management B.C. said it has received 155 reports of structures lost, compared with the 310 reported by the same date last year. However, it noted that figure could change as people return home and report what they find. In terms of fire suppression costs, Skrepnek said the service has spent $316-million to date this season, compared with $442-million for the same date last year.

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Worst of B.C. wildfire season likely over — for a few months

By Glenda Luymes
Vancouver Sun
August 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kevin Skrepnek

The worst of this year’s wildfire season is likely over, but some experts say burning forests and smoky skies could be the new reality in B.C. for summers to come. In his daily media briefing Thursday afternoon, B.C. Wildfire Service chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said it was “probably safe to say the worst is over,” although several large fires were still burning across the province and more than 1,000 properties remained under evacuation orders. Cooler weather was expected to help with fire suppression and prevention moving into the fall and winter months, which meant the number of active fires was expected to gradually decrease through September. But University of Alberta wildfire expert Mike Flannigan said the reprieve may be temporary. “The climate is changing and this is the new reality,” he told Postmedia News. “We’ve been predicting more fire in B.C., but we weren’t expecting this much, this soon.”

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‘Be responsible this weekend’: B.C. Wildfire Service asks for caution ahead of Labour Day weekend

By Patrick Johnston
Vancouver Sun
August 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

With the wildfire risk in the province still high, the B.C. Wildfire Service is reminding the public to be careful this coming long weekend. “The 2018 fire season is far from over. While temperatures have dropped, various levels of rainfall are occurring, and the smoke has cleared throughout most of the province, the risk of wildfires remains high,” the service said in a Thursday news release. Campfire bans remain in effect for most of the province and the public should exercise caution to prevent human-caused wildfires, they add. “Whatever your activities this Labour Day long weekend, remember there are wildfire crews working hard in the bush.” …Anyone found in violation of an open-burning prohibition may be issued a violation ticket for $1,150, may be required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 or, if convicted in court, may be fined up to $100,000 and faces a one-year jail sentence.

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Quebec reinforces contingent battling forest fires in B.C.

By Presse Canadienne in the Montreal Gazette
August 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Quebec’s forest fire protection agency (SOPFEU) announced Thursday it had deployed two more teams of firefighters to help colleagues in British Columbia who have spent the past few weeks battling forest fires in their province. A new contingent composed of 20 forest firefighters with an initial deployment of four firefighters and a SOPFEU representative were scheduled to leave late Thursday for Prince George, about 800 kilometres north of Vancouver. The reinforcement brings the number of SOPFEU personnel assigned to British Columbia to 69. A total of four water bombers have also been on-site since the start of August. At the moment, no forest fire alerts are in effect in Quebec. [END]

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Forest Near Khashuri Catches Fire

Georgia Today
August 30, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

Around 220 fire-fighters and 12 brigades have been working in a forest near Georgia’s town of Khashuri to put out a fire which started on August 29. The Emergency Management Service of Georgia reports that the fire broke out in the village of Tsedani, Khashuri municipality, and noted that 10 ha of forest has been burnt so far. “All services have been mobilized to timely put out the fire,” the agency stated. As reported, the fire destroyed deciduous trees. The locals are also helping the firefighters to extinguish the blaze. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Utility Of Agility: Drax Group Boss Plots Coal-Free Future

By Gaurav Sharma
Forbes Magazine
August 30, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Will Gardiner

Dwindling UK interest in coal-fired power generation, once the country’s mainstay, has long been known. Reflective of that profound change in thinking is London-listed midcap utility outfit Drax Group, led by its Chief Executive Officer Will Gardiner. …For some that might seem strange. The company’s key asset – Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, England – was premised on coal-fired power when it was opened in 1975. But for Gardiner that’ s history, as his outfit played a substantial part in enabling those 3 days of coal-free power in the UK. …”In 2017, we generated 65% of power from biomass, with the rest coming from coal. Our ultimate ambition is to get rid of all coal generating units by 2025, if not before.” …A key strategic plank has been Drax’s policy of incremental “insourcing” of wood pellets required for biomass generation via its operations in the United States.

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