Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: February 12, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Market forecasters see diverging paths

The Tree Frog Forestry News
February 12, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Might be time to break out the Magic 8 Ball, as market prognostications abound. MarketWatch sees a bear-market correction; Wood Business looks on the bright side; Random Lengths reports momentum but also hints of caution; CMHC says Canadian housing starts are steady; and according to one US journalist—Rolling Stone Chuck Leavell can’t get no timber satisfaction.

Companies in the news: Western Forest Products’ CEO on its commitment to BC manufacturing; Paper Excellence is closer to acquiring Catalyst Paper; Resolute opens path to Fort Frances mill demolition; and Georgia Pacific closes its Glynn Country Georgia sawmill. Elsewhere; the BC Institute of Technology graduates its first class of experts in industrial wood processing.

Finally, the Great Bear Rainforest hits the big screen and the classroom.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Canada’s housing starts remained steady in January

By Steve Randall
Which Mortgage.ca
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The trend for Canadian housing starts was steady in January with 208,131 units improving on December’s 207,171 units. CMHC’s latest 6-month moving average shows that things have snapped the recent trend towards fewer starts. “After recent declines, the national trend in housing starts held steady in January and remained above historical average,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “While single-detached starts continued to trend lower in January, this was offset by an uptick in the trend for multi-unit dwellings in urban centres. Vancouver – a tale of two cities. …Toronto – cost of borrowing to weaken demand. …Ottawa – lowest starts for 2 decades. …Quebec – should see stronger starts in 2019.

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Can’t get no US timber satisfaction

By Frank Carroll
Rapid City Journal
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Frank Carroll

Darned old Canadians; first, they flood us with softwood from their massive northern arboreal forests, and then, just when we think we have ‘em licked with President Trump’s timber tariffs, they come down here and buy out our sawmills in the Southeast. They flooded us with a wall of wood, and they bought up our sawmills, so our timber suppliers down here had to sell to Canadian-owned U.S. mills. Shoot. We’re stumped. To make matters worse, our beneficent Farm Bill provided great subsidies for American tree farmers. The resulting glut of timber going to market has us over a barrel: Too much wood, and a monopoly of Canadian sawmills in the South, one of the last U.S. outposts for viable timber operations. Especially Georgia.

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Random Lengths Lumber and Panel Market Report

Random Lengths
February 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The trading pace in framing lumber eased from the previous week’s action, but early momentum carried prices higher. …Uncertainties regarding 2019 demand, the extent of transportation issues, and limitations from winter weather also contributed to renewed hints of caution. The weight of these issues factored into the about-face in an upward futures trend. Even so, early week gains pushed the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price up $16, to $370. …Structural panel sales slowed from the previous week, but prices remained on a firm footing. Wintry weather limited OSB sales in some markets, but prices maintained a firm-to-higher track. In the South, sales lagged last week’s pace, but sparse mill offerings kept prices on a gradual climb.

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Lumber’s epic gain may soon give way to a bear-market correction

By Myra Saefong
MarketWatch
February 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber prices have made quite a comeback this year, climbing by 25% in January and nearly erasing the decline suffered in 2018, as the market gets a boost in demand ahead of the spring building season. Looking ahead, however, analysts urge caution. The lumber market looks overbought and bears some similarities with last year, when prices rose to an all-time high and then dropped. “We can see continued price appreciation, but in order to be sustainable, it must have the underlying support of real demand in the form of housing starts,” says Greg Kuta, an analyst and president of Westline Capital Strategies. Lumber futures (-3.58%) settled at $424.50 per 1,000 board feet on Thursday. They rose 25% in January and, as of Thursday, trade nearly 28% higher year to date. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders exchange-traded fund (+0.51%) has seen a more modest gain of 14% for the year so far.

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Firm clears competition hurdle in Catalyst mills buy

By Andrew Duffy
Victoria Times Colonist
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richmond-based Paper Excellence is a step closer to acquiring Catalyst Paper. The company, controlled by Asian investors, has cleared the Canada’s Competition Bureau, which issued a “no-action” letter in response to the proposed acquisition.   “This acquisition demonstrates Paper Excellence’s continuing deep commitment to the province of British Columbia,” said chief executive Brian Baarda. “Once finalized, this acquisition confirms Paper Excellence’s position as a key player within Canada’s forest industry and will benefit all of the stakeholders involved.” Paper Excellence Canada has agreed to purchase all of Catalyst Paper’s operations — paper mills in Port Alberni, Crofton and Powell River, a distribution centre in Surrey and company headquarters in Richmond. A no-action letter confirms the bureau has reviewed the transaction and decided it will not challenge it before the Competition Tribunal under the merger provisions of the Competition Act.

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Fort Frances – Serious Concern over Future of Resolute Mill

Net Newsledger
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES  – On Friday, February 8, the Town of Fort Frances received correspondence from Resolute Forest Products which suggests the company’s default intention is to sell the Fort Frances mill to a “community redeveloper” — i.e., to demolish it. “The mill is a key economic asset for our community,” states Councillor Douglas Judson. “I have little confidence that the open bidding process Resolute has announced for the mill is intended to result in a sale to an operator of the facility who would want access to wood fibre in the local Crossroute Forest.” The Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry — John Yakabuski — will be in Kenora on Monday, February 11. The Minister has robust authority over the license for the Crossroute Forest that is currently held by Resolute.

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We’re looking on the bright side in 2019

By Maria Church
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Maria Church

December was a tough month for our industry. Things were looking grim on many fronts. In a matter of weeks, several large western producers announced mill curtailments in B.C., blaming high log costs and diminishing supply; lumber prices in North America were at yearly lows; and the results of CFI’s Contractor Survey were released, showing mounting concern for the sustainability of Canada’s logging contractors. Add to that concerns about the so-called “weirding” climate change trend and its negative affects on Canada’s forests (more unpredictable weather, insects, and wildfires) as pointed out by Natural Resources Canada forestry researcher Barry Cooke in a Canadian Press article published in late December, and things were looking downright bleak heading into the end-of-year holidays.

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Resolute’s ‘backstop’ agreement opens path to Fort Frances mill demolition

By Gary Rinne
TB Newswatch
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES, ON — Resolute Forest Products has signed what it calls a “backstop agreement” to sell its Fort Frances mill property. A letter from the company to the town discloses what councillor Douglas Judson describes as Resolute’s “default intention” to sell its local assets to “a community redeveloper” which would then demolish the mill. In the letter to Mayor June Caul, the company says the agreement was necessary in order to “crystallize the terms” it negotiated with the buyer and to secure its funding commitment. It states that the final transaction would close no earlier than May, and that, in the interim, Resolute is running a parallel process in which other interested parties must prepare binding offers for the mill by March 15, 2019. 

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Ministers in Kenora to talk forestry

Kenora Online
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

John Yakabuski

It’s an early start for Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski today, as he meets with forest industry representatives in Kenora this morning. They’re the guest of Greg Rickford, who is also the minister for Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs. Access to U.S. markets and American import tariffs remain key issues for the industry, which continues to show signs of a strong recovery. …In his comments to the committee last month, Energy Minister Greg Rickford noted Kenora Forest Products remained closed for a number of years, due to the hydro prices in Ontario, when compared with Manitoba.

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Western Forest Products remains focused on B.C. employment

Letter by Don Demens, President/CEO, Western Forest Products
Abbotsford News
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Don Demens

Re: Another B.C. forest company looks south for lumber mill expansion (Business, Feb. 2). Thank you for continuing to write about the forest industry, which as a key driver of the provincial economy is critically important to families and communities across the province. I would like to provide further context to Tom Fletcher’s article. On Friday, Feb. 1, we completed our acquisition of Columbia Vista sawmill located in Vancouver, Washington. This acquisition supports our overall business and employment in B.C. as it enables us to meet the needs of our customers who are demanding more Douglas fir products. …Over the last six years, Western has invested over $350 million in our B.C. business. This represents the largest investment in coastal sawmilling, of any company, in decades. 

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Georgia-Pacific closes Glynn County lumber plant, affecting 120 workers

By Jessica Saunders
Atlanta Business Chronicle.
February 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

About 120 workers were affected when Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific LLC closed its Sterling lumber sawmill in Glynn County, Ga. The closure was effective Feb. 1. “Although lumber production at our Sterling Lumber mill was adequate — we continued to have challenges with log procurement and do not foresee improvements in the market to allow for profitable operations,” Georgia-Pacific spokesman Rick Kimble said in an email. Georgia-Pacific will ensure all employees will be paid all earned wages and provided all agreed upon benefits at the time of their discharge, Kimble wrote. “In addition we will be working with local resources and holding job fairs to assist the employees.” The plant had been in operation since 1982, The Brunswick News reported. Employees were told Jan. 31 that the plant would cease operations immediately, and that they would be paid and receive all benefits through April 2, it said.

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Four reasons manufacturers are turning to the cloud

Scot Wlodarczak, Amazon Web Services
The Industrial Ethernet Book
February 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The manufacturing industry is going through a transformation, commonly referred to as Industry 4.0, which is changing the way products are made. Manufacturers are connecting data from across their plant operations, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to discover new insights and make predictions with incredible accuracy, connecting to physical devices to capture information that would otherwise be impossible to collect, and using these tools to improve business operations and drive innovation. At the heart of this transformation is the cloud. …Georgia Pacific, a leading manufacturer of paper and wood products, leverages the cloud to build their data lake and ML to improve asset utilization and optimize production processes across multiple plants. This change has resulted in millions of dollars of annual savings related to unplanned downtime, and tens of millions of dollars in savings around process optimization.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

British Columbia Institute of Technology welcomes New Associate Certificate in Industrial Wood Processing

By the School of Construction and the Environment
British Columbia Institute of Technology
February 12, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

BCIT welcomed the first graduating cohort from the pilot program of Associate Certificate in Industrial Wood Processing (IWP), School of Construction and the Environment (SoCE). The first cohort graduated from the pilot program in December 2018. The success of the pilot program has created another cohort of students who started in January 2019 and an additional to start in June 2019. This program begins with a 2.5 days in-person orientation, followed by five online 3.0 credit courses. All of the students are sponsored by North American lumber companies including Canfor, lnterfor, Tolko and West Fraser. In the subsequent launches, Conifex, Delta Cedar, Gorman Brothers, Millar Western, Western Forest Products andWeyerhaeuser will be joining those companies. Due to the educational relevance of program materials for the North American workforce, more companies are expected to join. 

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Salon Industriel du Bois Ouvre (SIBO) Industrial Woodworking Expo Returns to Quebec

By Woodworking Network
Cision Newswire
February 12, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRUMMONDVILLE — CCI Canada, Inc., the owner of the Toronto Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference and Expo (WMS), has announced that it will relaunch Salon Industriel du Bois Ouvre’ (SIBO) at the Centrexpo Cogeco in Drummondville. The planned expo dates are April 23-25, 2020.  CCI Canada acquired the WMS and the SIBO brand in December of 2015 and has been planning the relaunch of SIBO since that date.  SIBO was last held in 2008 in Laval.  “Quebec has a vibrant, innovative and unique industry comprising furniture, cabinet and wood products manufacturing,” said Harry Urban, SIBO/WMS show manager. “Our decision to reestablish SIBO was an easy one. SIBO will recognize the major contribution Quebec woodworkers make to the provincial and national economies. The woodworking sector in Quebec is flourishing and our research has told us that the timing is excellent for this superb industrial woodworking show to return to Quebec. 

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Mississippi State develops smartphone app to test lumber

By Alaina Dismukes
Mississippi State University Newsroom
February 12, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Determining the stiffest piece of lumber is now easier with a new smartphone app created by scientists in Mississippi State University’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center.  Called “Smart Thumper,” the app uses soundwaves or vibrations to determine stiffness, a quality that relates to strength, for individual pieces of lumber.  Developer Dan Seale, professor in MSU’s Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, said it will help carpenters, contractors, architects, engineers, lumber mill personnel and consumers. He pointed out that it can be particularly beneficial for the do-it-yourself market. …“With this app, I can show you which lumber pieces are stiffer and therefore stronger,” Franca explained. “This can’t always be done through visual inspection. You need vibration or you need sound.” The app is available for download in the Apple Store.

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Forestry

‘They do not act:’ Another lawsuit seeks to force federal species protection

By Bob Weber
Canadian Press in the Western Star
February 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

The federal government is facing more legal problems over an alleged and ongoing failure to enforce its own environmental laws. “This is a chronic problem with both Environment Canada and (Fisheries and Oceans),” said David Mayhood of the Timberwolf Wilderness Society. “They simply do not act until somebody takes them to court.” On Monday, the society filed an application in Federal Court to try to force Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to step in to protect the habitat of native cutthroat trout along the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. …It’s the latest in several similar attempts to get the federal government to follow its own legislation.  In late January, a lawsuit was filed to try to force Environment Canada to follow terms of the Species At Risk Act that require Ottawa to protect Alberta caribou herds after a study concluded the province has failed to do so. 

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Get outside, again: How the ‘re-wilding’ movement urges children to connect with nature

By Dave McGinn
The Globe and Mail
February 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Erin Edwards has seen too many classes meant to teach children the importance of nature turn into scary sessions about environmental destruction. Edwards, who is a teacher, wants her two-year-old daughter and six-month-old son to care about nature because they love it, not out of fear, she says. …More parents like Edwards are seeking out ways to counterbalance concerns over too much screen time and structured activities, whether by enrolling their children in outdoor kindergarten or forest schools, where much of what they would be taught in a classroom is done outdoors. Many of these programs are so popular they have long wait lists. …Several studies have found that children who spend more time outside also tend to be more physically active. Other benefits include reduced blood pressure and heart rate, as well as increased creativity, says Mark Tremblay…  [Full access only available to Globe and Mail subscribers]

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BC’s Great Bear Rainforest film headed for the biggest screens

By Tom Fletcher
Victoria News
February 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C.’s coastal rainforest and its unique creatures are featured in an IMAX documentary film opening this week in Victoria and around North America. Great Bear Rainforest, Land of the Spirit Bear is narrated by Vancouver actor Ryan Reynolds, and features the camera work of Ian McAllister, co-founder of environmental society Pacific Wild. It has its red carpet premiere at the Royal B.C. Museum IMAX theatre in Victoria on Wednesday, opening to the public on Friday, Feb. 15. It also begins its international theatre tour Feb. 15 in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and other giant-screen venues around the continent. The IMAX project is an ambitious entertainment and educational project, produced with the support of Kyle Washington, a Vancouver resident and executive chairman of Seaspan Corp.

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Bringing the Great Bear Rainforest to the classroom

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
February 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A new educational resource will help B.C. students discover the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the most unique and treasured areas in British Columbia. A website sponsored by the Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust will help students in grades 7 to 9 explore the rich biodiversity of the area. “This new resource will help B.C. students learn about a global treasure right in their own backyard,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We are all stewards with a responsibility to protect our forests and learning about that responsibility in the classroom is key.” Through teacher-guided activity plans with clear objectives, students can learn through inquiry and research about everything from the white spirit bears in the 64,000 square-kilometre area, to the 26 First Nations communities who live in the region, to whales, birds, salmon and the importance of environmental stewardship.

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North Cowichan forestry debate goes off the rails

Letter by Rob Fullerton
Cowichan Valley Citizen
February 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Up till now the municipality [of North Cowichan] was doing a really good job at managing the PAUSE forestry debate. Both sides of the debate were being treated fairly and it looked like there was going to be orderly democratic process. For some reason, this week everything went off the rails. After the last council meeting we were told that the mayor and councilors needed time to review the forestry operations before making any decisions. …Suddenly, we learn that council is going to vote on the forestry budget this week (before tours, report and consultation). …2019 offers a unique opportunity to PAUSE, develop a community forest plan and still generate logging revenue.

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Current conventional forest practice can’t continue in forest reserve

Letter by Chris Crowther
Cowichan Valley Citizen
February 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

On Feb 15, I believe council can solve both issues of long term forest reserve strategy and short term budget considerations, in the following manner. First, it must be accepted that the current practice of conventionally tree farming the forest reserve with short rotation patch cuts is not ecologically sustainable, and that practice will not be tolerated by the community at large much longer, especially in places such as Stoney Hill. To balance this fact with the desire to limit tax increases to the rate of inflation, council should approve Councillor Justice’s original motion to halt all logging on Stoney Hill. For 2019, council should prioritize salvage logging, and any new logging shall be done only to the extent required to cover forestry department operating costs.

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Of 140,000 comments, most favor keeping the Tongass Forest Roadless Rule

By Elizabeth Jenkins
Alaska Public Media
February 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service released a summary of public comments on changes to the Roadless Rule in the Tongass National Forest. The takeaway is that the majority of the comments are in favor of leaving the rule in place in Alaska, which limits most road building in wilder parts of the forest. Over 140,000 people submitted an opinion on the controversial topic. Back in August, the Forest Service said it would consider the state’s ask for an exemption that would make it easier to build new roads through the federal land. It was prompted by a decades-long battle over access to timber and mining. But the themes expressed in most of the comments suggest the Tongass is more valuable without the addition of new roads. People mentioned the tourism and fishing industries as examples of business that could be negatively impacted.

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Will forest fires become more likely in a warmer world? Yes – but it’s complicated

By Charlie Mitchell
Stuff.co.nz
February 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

ANALYSIS:When the all-consuming fire south of Nelson first flickered to life, and before it had become the largest forest fire in New Zealand for six decades, some were already reflecting on a similar blaze two years earlier. The 2017 Port Hills fire in Christchurch and the Nelson fire occurred at the same time of the year, during each area’s respective fire danger season, when the fire risk was considered “extreme” under multiple measures.  Aside from those clear similarities, several differences can give us a glimpse of what forest fires are expected to look like in a warmer climate. Two differences in particular stand out. Christchurch has the longest fire danger season in the country, spending about 40 days each year under a “very high” or “extreme” fire risk; The Nelson area’s fire danger season is just nine days, similar to not particularly fire-prone cities such as Auckland or Tauranga.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada’s forests actually emit more carbon than they absorb — despite what you’ve heard on Facebook

By Robson Fletcher
CBC News
February 10, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

You might have heard that Canada’s forests are an immense carbon sink, sucking up all sorts of CO2 — more than we produce — so we don’t have to worry about our greenhouse gas emissions. This claim has been circulated on social media and repeated by pundits and politicians.  This would be convenient for our country, if it were real. Hitting our emissions-reduction targets would be a breeze. But, like most things that sound too good to be true, this one is false. That’s because trees don’t just absorb carbon when they grow, they emit it when they die and decompose, or burn. When you add up both the absorption and emission, Canada’s forests haven’t been a net carbon sink since 2001. Due largely to forest fires and insect infestations, the trees have actually added to our country’s greenhouse gas emissions for each of the past 15 years on record.

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Govt can’t see our wood for the trees

February 12, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

As Government and their advisers work on our climate change legislation and make plans for transformation to a net zero economy by 2050, their focus is on proving that a 100% renewable electricity system can actually work. …Maybe we are not yet seeing the wood for the trees? We have in New Zealand a wonderful and sustainable renewable resource called wood. It’s so good as a resource that we have made many things from wood – pulp, paper, plywood, lumber, laminated beams, fence posts, garden mulch, biogas and liquid transport fuels – it’s a wonderful material to work with and has served our economy well for decades with jobs, incomes and even small towns built around these global products. …So why do we send most of this good wood off the wharves as logs?

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Health & Safety

3 injured in industrial explosion at energy plant west of Edmonton

By Emily Mertz
Global News
February 12, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Three people were hurt — one critically — in an explosion and fire at a renewable energy plant near Entwistle, Alta., on Monday. “I felt the explosion,” said Kyle Wickstrom, who was one kilometre away. “It was nuts.” It happened at Pinnacle Renewable Energy, which is about 100 kilometres west of Edmonton. “There was an industrial explosion and a fire,” Parkland County Fire Chief Brian Cornforth said. “We responded with 40 crew, both from Yellowhead County and Parkland County — there was also a private fire contractor. …The CFO for Pinnacle told Global News she couldn’t say how many people were hurt but said nobody’s injuries were life-threatening. She said the company is working with Occupational Health and Safety to determine what caused the incident. Alberta Labour confirmed OHS had been notified and a team was heading to the scene.

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