Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 7, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC’s new vision for a troubled industry is questioned

The Tree Frog Forestry News
May 7, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

BC’s new vision for a troubled industry and particularly Bill 22 is ‘ill-advised‘ according to the BC Liberals, but Premier Horgan could ‘put it on hold and consult’, writes Vaughn Palmer. In other Business news: Western’s Don Demens is in DC to make the case for duty-exemptions for cedar; Canfor’s sawmills are back up and running; and Universal Forest Products grows through acquisitions.

In Forestry/Climate news: a partial climbdown on cuts to Ontario’s tree-planting program; and Patrick Moore—the sensible environmentalist—to lead a US based CO2 Coalition. Also, more details on the tragic plane crash of BC Wildfire Service contractors and condolences from Doug Donaldson, BC’s Minister of Forests.

Finally, while a climate advocate says Notre Dame should not be rebuilt, a Paris architect envisions its rebirth with CLT. Here is a gallery of images. [stay tuned for on-site updates as  the Tree Frog news team heads to Paris this Friday to investigate further. Seriously!]

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

B.C. company to argue cedar exemption from duties

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
May 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Western Forest Products CEO Don Demens will be in Washington May 7, speaking to a NAFTA panel to argue that American softwood lumber duties should not be applied to the cedar products the company makes. …The Canadian government will also be making a petition to a NAFTA panel in Washington today. Its arguments will be broader, however. Demens will zero in on appearance-grade lumber made from Western Red and yellow cedar. These products are not construction grade lumber, which is the heart of the softwood lumber dispute that has prompted the U.S. government to levy duties of more than 20%. “Cedar products represented about 3% of the volume (exported to the) U.S. from Canada in 2018, but 9% of the total duties,” Demens said. “So we’re being impacted disproportionately by a dispute that really isn’t anything to do with cedar.”

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BC Liberals say they oppose Horgan’s forestry bill that ‘divides communities and puts jobs at risk’

By Rattan Mall
The Indo-Canadian Voice
May 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

BC Liberals said on Monday that Premier John Horgan and the NDP’s ill-advised Bill 22 puts ideology ahead of what’s best for the hard-working B.C. families who depend heavily on the forestry sector by creating division within forestry-dependent communities. These measures mean B.C. will risk losing high-paying forestry jobs to the United States. “John Horgan and the NDP aren’t concerned about the forestry sector because none of their MLAs live in forestry-dependent communities,” said BC Liberal Forestry Critic John Rustad. “Horgan’s ideological thinking will lead to expropriation of tenure without compensation, destroy confidence in the forest industry and ultimately devastate forestry-dependent communities.” …If passed, Bill 22 threatens tenure for current holders— effectively ripping up existing contracts and risking mill closures, job losses and legal disputes with forest companies— none of which is good news for hard-working British Columbians in the industry and the communities that rely on those jobs.

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Canfor sawmills back up in B.C. after week-long curtailment

By Kimberley Vlasic
BC Local News
May 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forestry workers are back on the job after a week-long production curtailment affecting Canfor-owned sawmills across B.C. The Vancouver-based company announced the temporary shutdown on April 24, with mills closing five days later and resuming operations on Monday, May 6. The curtailment comes amid low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre. “We regret the impact the curtailments will have on our employees, their families and their communities,” said Canfor Director of Corporate Communications Michelle Ward in a statement to The Free Press. “We appreciate the hard work of our employees and contractors across all of our operations.” Canfor has 13 sawmills in Canada, with total annual capacity of approximately 3.8 billion board feet (a unit of volume for timber equal to 144 cubic inches). The curtailment reduced the Canfor’s production output by approximately 100 million board feet.

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Horgan could put forestry bill on hold and consult with the industry

By Vaughn Palmer
The Vancouver Sun
May 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

VICTORIA — Earlier this spring, Premier John Horgan wrote the major forest companies in the Interior, inviting them to “collaborate” with the NDP government on a new vision for a troubled industry. …“We will not move forward by pointing fingers or rehashing old controversies,” he declared. …This will require collaboration and innovation.” …Then the pitch: “We need senior leaders in forest companies to lead this effort. It will take trust, commitment and goodwill from everyone at the table.” …Those words would resonate with a certain irony in light of what happened six days later. …Doug Donaldson, tabled Bill 22, containing major amendments to the Forest Act to restrict the transfer of cutting rights and to limit other changes of ownership in the forest industry…Far from being launched in the spirit of Horgan’s friendly outreach, the NDP goal was to rein in industry players that had gotten too big and too powerful. …Bill 22 makes Donaldson himself the arbiter of future changes of ownership and transfers of tenure and cutting rights.

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Small fire breaks out at Columbia Forest Products

The Herald and News
May 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Although a small fire broke out at the Columbia Forest Products plant late Friday morning, no one was injured and plant operations have not ceased, the company said Monday. The fire started about 11:30 Friday morning and black smoke could be observed from the site, off Highway 97 just south of Klamath Falls. Plant Manager Randy Marsh said in a statement, “The company’s frontline suppression efforts were successful.” “Local fire departments were called in and verified that the fire was under control,” Marsh said. “No employees were injured and no operations were curtailed.” “The company appreciates the community concern over seeing an abnormal amount of smoke. But everyone in the facility is safe and busy.” The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Universal Forest Products: Growth Through Acquisitions

By Kurt Pollet
Seeking Alpha
May 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Universal Forest Products, Inc. has produced strong growth over the last decade with earnings increasing 21% per year and more growth is forecast for 2020. Despite the company’s strong earnings growth, it operates with low profit margins. The company’s profit margins have improved over the last decade but are still quite low at 3.4%. The company’s return on equity has also improved and has reached a reasonable 14.4%. The company has a history of operating with fairly low debt levels. The long-term debt is currently $318 million representing only 17% of its total asset value. The company’s total liabilities represent 38% of its total asset value. The company’s debt levels are well contained and it can easily take on more debt if needed to fund any future acquisitions or expansion plans.

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Tropical timber losing share in German market

The Timber Trades Journal
May 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Tropical timber is losing market share in Germany despite the country’s growth in wood consumption, according to the International Tropical Timber Organisation’s latest market report. …Where Germany is importing tropical timbers, direct purchases from the tropics are falling rapidly and more is being purchased indirectly from importers elsewhere in the EU. Germany’s imports of tropical sawnwood were around 73,000m3 in 2018, a slight improvement on the 67,000m3 imported the previous year, but well down on 103,000m3 imported in 2016 and around half the level prevailing a decade ago. …Germany’s imports of decking and moulding products from the tropics have edged downwards from 42,000m3 in 2015 to 40,000m3 last year. Imports from main supplying country Indonesia fell from 33,000m3 to 28,000m3.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Delta proposes mass timber skyscraper in B.C.

By Russell Hixson
Journal of Commerce
May 7, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Delta Land Development is planning to skip the small steps and surge the building industry forward with a giant leap. Delta and its team is in the process of planning the world’s tallest mass timber building in Vancouver’s Broadway Corridor. …Delta aims to transform the site into the Canada Earth Tower to demonstrate what is possible for sustainable development. Kirk Robinson, senior vice-president with Delta, explained that he and others at the company want to take bold steps to address the growing climate crisis. …The team came up with a mass timber skyscraper between 30 and 40 storeys that would create approximately 200 homes and be built to Passive House standards. …“Wood was a bit scary for me initially, but now that I’ve taken a deep dive into understanding mass timber a lot better, I’m completely converted,” said Robinson.

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World’s tallest wooden skyscraper may grow in Vancouver

By Alexander Walter
Architect News
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

Daily Hive editor Kenneth Chan gives a detailed introduction of the Perkins+Will-designed Canada Earth Tower, a proposed timber tower that could rise up to 40 stories and accommodate around 200 residential units. “The structure would be predominantly made out of fire-resistant wood, specifically cross-laminated timber,” Chan writes. “Floor plates, structural columns, and exteriors will use wood materials, while a concrete core containing the elevators and emergency staircase will be incorporated for seismic and fire safety reasons.” Vancouver was once home to the planet’s tallest wood building, when the 18-story, 178-foot UBC Brock Commons tower opened in 2017, but it lost the title in the following year to another nation with a noted economic and ecological interest in pushing timber as preferred building material—Norway’s Mjøstårnet (Mjøsa Tower) topped out at 85.4 meters (280 feet) in 2018.

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Dunwoody extends moratorium on apartment, condo construction

By Dyana Bagby
Reporter Newspapers
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

A 6-month moratorium on wood-framed multi-unit construction in Dunwoody set to expire this month has been extended until August to give city officials time to review proposed changes to the city’s fire safety regulations. The Dunwoody City Council voted to extend the moratorium for another 90 days, setting the expiration date as Aug. 5. The original moratorium approved in November was set to expire May 19. The moratorium continues the city’s hold up on any review of applications or building permits for any wood-framed multi-unit buildings in the city. …The city’s moratorium on multi-unit building construction came after House Bill 876, dubbed the “wood bill,” went into effect on July 1, 2018. The bill prohibits local governments from banning wood-framed buildings that otherwise meet state building and fire codes. The state law erased Dunwoody’s 2014 ordinance that required commercial, office, apartment or condominium buildings more than three stories tall to be framed with noncombustible materials, such as metal or concrete.

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The challenges of building defect-free homes

Planning, BIM & Construction Today
May 7, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Offsite construction can contribute to improvements in delivering better quality buildings, says a report that calls for urgent changes in the culture and processes of housing construction. …Its conclusions cover the whole process from project set up to handover on completion. The report, Stopping Building Failures, identified several key problems… The Housing Forum study is centred on three key areas: Procuring for quality; Harnessing innovation to prevent defects; Building defect-free homes. Commenting on the report, Nigel Ostime, project delivery director at Hawkins/Brown, said improvements in quality and productivity can be significantly enhanced with offsite manufacture, including the use of timber frame and CLT. …“It also highlights the benefits of modern methods of construction and greater use of off-site to improve both quality and productivity. This includes timber frame and cross-laminated timber, which also have benefits in reducing carbon.”

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Forests instead of cathedrals

By Guillaume Habert
Phys.org
May 7, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Notre Dame should not be rebuilt, argue Guillaume Habert and Alice Hertzog. In times of climate change and in light of the current religious landscape its reconstruction is no longer a priority. …The recent IPCC report warns that we have 10 years to drastically change our construction techniques. …And thinking about our long-term legacy in this context, might mean not building – not extracting more metals and not felling the trees in the forest – rather than building to last forever. …The morning after the fire, the French insurance company Groupama pledged 1,300 hundred-old oak trees from its private forest in Normandy. …Architects, designers and engineers are well equipped to provide elegant solutions for Notre Dame, without provoking further climate change or jeopardising the quality of life of future generations. When less is more, then maybe nothing is everything.

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Vincent Callebaut envisions sustainable restoration of Notre-Dame cathedral

By Adam Williams
The New Atlas
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Following the devastating fire that damaged the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral last month, local [Paris] firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has unveiled its vision for the iconic building to be restored. The firm imagines it being topped by a new glass roof and a spire, and for it to receive a significant sustainable upgrade. The concept… brings to mind NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. …While the undamaged parts of the building look essentially the same, Callebaut radically reimagines the upper areas destroyed in the fire. His proposal would create a new spire and wooden frame made from CLT beams, with carbon fiber slats. Covering the building would be a complex glazed roof that allows for lots of natural light inside, incorporates ventilation, and features advanced solar panel-like tech that turns sunlight into electricity. Click here for a gallery of images… and [stay tuned for on-site updates as  your Frog team heads to Paris this Friday to investigate further. Seriously!]

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GG-loop wraps Freebooter apartments with cedar louvres

By India Block
Dezeen Magazine
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Dutch architecture studio GG-loop has built a pair of prefabricated apartments in Amsterdam with timber louvres positioned to regulate the levels of light entering the building. Called Freebooter, the block was made from steel and cross-laminated-timber and was prefabricated off site. It took three weeks to install all four floors, and the whole project took only six months to build. The building, which contains two duplexes, is wrapped in long vertical planks of timber. These timber strips extend over some the building’s terraces, with cut aways placed to allow light into the building. …GG-loop wanted to connect the project with this context, using materials connected with shipbuilding such as red cedar, pine wood, steel and glass. Cedar, for example, is a popular choice for planking because the wood has natural properties that stop rot.

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Enabling clients to go further, faster, through offsite design and manufacture

By Andy Walker
Infrastructure Intelligence
May 6, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Overcoming industry productivity challenges requires a firm focus on delivering the benefits of offsite manufacture, not just talking about them. …Ramboll has demonstrated best practice in high quality design for manufacture, including working with off-site manufacturing partners. The firm helped deliver Swan Housing Association’s first ever award-winning modular cross laminated timber (CLT) homes from their UK factory in Basildon. …Construction impact was also reduced, with 90% reduction in site deliveries and improved site safety, with 60% fewer workers onsite. Based on standard house types that can be easily customised, Ramboll helped Swan deliver on their aims of beautifully designed homes and improved quality, whilst the standardised house types enable repeatability in the factory environment, driving higher standards.

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Forestry

BC Forest Practices Board to audit tree farm licence near Port Renfrew

BC Forest Practices Board
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

PORT RENFREW – The Forest Practices Board will examine the activities of Pacheedaht Andersen Timber Holdings Limited Partnership (PATH) on tree farm licence (TFL) 61 in the South Island Natural Resource District during the week of May 13, 2019. Auditors will examine whether harvesting, roads, silviculture, fire protection and associated planning carried out by PATH between May 1, 2017, and May 17, 2019, met the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. The audit area is located on southwestern Vancouver Island, north of Highway 14 between Port Renfrew and Jordan River. PATH purchased TFL 61 from Western Forest Products Ltd. in 2010. PATH is a partnership between Pacheedaht First Nation and Andersen Timber.

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Community forest allows Squamish to make its own rules

By Steven Chua
The Squamish Chief
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Local economic benefits and the importance of trails used by mountain bikers were two recurring themes that were brought up during the open house about Squamish’s proposed community forest. …If it becomes a reality, the community forest will encompass a swath of land that both the Squamish Nation and the District of Squamish will be able to govern via their oversight company, the Squamish Community Forest Corporation. …Should the community forest become a reality, the Nation and the District can give local corporations priority. This would allow economic benefits to stay in Squamish. “We are [a] local company, so the financial benefits of whatever goes on in the forest accrue to [a] Squamish company,” said Jeff Fisher, the head of Sqomish Forestry, which is owned by the Nation.Sqomish  was chosen to manage the forest. “You get local benefits. You get local control,” Fisher said. 

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Ontario tree-planting program dodges axe for a year

By Rob Ferguson
The Toronto Star
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

John Yakabuski

In a partial climbdown from a money-saving move to axe the planting of 50 million trees, Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski says seedlings will go in the ground this year as scheduled. But the controversy remains in full bloom as an Ottawa-area nursery warned it may have to destroy three million seedlings being grown for the program that cost taxpayers $4.7 million a year and was designed to fight climate change. “We’ve been working with Forests Ontario to ensure that the tree planting that is designed and scheduled for this year will go on as planned,” Yakabuski said Monday in the legislature’s daily question period. “For any contract that was in place, those trees will be planted this year.” …Concerns about the cancellation resurfaced after one of the major growers said millions of seedlings for future years are on the line …

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Three fire researchers to receive Ember Awards

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Roger Ottmar with Tom Zimmerman and Morgan Varaner

The International Association of Wildland Fire announced at last week’s Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference that three fire researchers will be given Ember Awards for their contributions to wildland fire science. …historically, only one recipient has been honored each year. …we are extremely proud to announce that for 2019, IAWF has elected to award the Ember Award to three individuals who have a marked record of achievement, have made significant long-standing contributions, are highly respected in wildland fire management: Roger Ottmar Research Forester, US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region; Dr. Wendy Anderson University of New South Wales Canberra (retired); and Dr. Mark Finney Research Scientist, U.S. Forest Service. Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory. Missoula, MT.

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Proposed timber sale raises concerns from conservationists

Associated Press in The Eagle
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MURPHY, N.C. — The U.S. Forest Service is proposing one of the largest timber sales in the nearly 100-year history of the Nantahala National Forest, and it’s drawing concern from conservationists. The Asheville Citizen Times reports the proposed Buck Project, which also includes prescribed burns and stream improvement projects, would involve a 20,638-acre (8.3-hectare) analysis area in Clay County. Conservation groups are concerned about the harmful effects of logging and road building. Supporters say it will improve forest health and wildlife habitat in forest areas long overdue for a trim.

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Cut emissions and poverty, not trees, by letting locals manage forests

By Lin Taylor
Thompson Reuters Foundation
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

LONDON — Giving local communities the responsibility to manage forests – which are shrinking worldwide – could help ease poverty and deforestation, scientists said on Monday in what they described as one of the largest studies of its kind. Researchers examined more than 18,000 community-led forest initiatives in Nepal, using satellite images and census data from the South Asian country, where more than a third of forests are managed by a quarter of the population. …”Identifying a mechanism – community forestry – that can credibly reduce carbon emissions at the same time as improving wellbeing of the poor is an important step forward in global efforts to combat climate change and protect the vulnerable,” said co-author Arun Agrawal from the University of Michigan.

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This Tiny Bug Could Put a $625 Million Hole in Sweden’s Forests

By Jesper Starn
Bloomberg News
May 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The vast wild fires that swept through Sweden last year aren’t the only threat forest companies have to contend with as climate change makes summers hotter and drier. There’s a much smaller — but potentially bigger — danger lurking in the woods. The European spruce bark beetle, or Ips typographus, measures about 4 millimeters (1/8 of an inch). Several can fit on just a fingernail. But it damaged more wood last year than the record wild fires that ravaged Sweden. And as the bugs thrive in increasingly warm and dry weather, the damage they cause will likely grow. A worst-case scenario from the Swedish Forest Agency estimates that it could ruin as much as 12.5 million cubic meters of wood this year, costing as much as 6 billion kronor ($625 million). That’s equivalent to more than 15 percent of annual logging. In its baseline scenario, it sees damage on par with last year’s 3 to 4 million cubic meters.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Former Greenpeace Leader Dr. Patrick Moore to Chair CO2 Coalition

By CO2 Coalition
Cision PRWeb
May 6, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Patrick Moore and Kelly McCloskey

The CO2 Coalition is proud to announce that ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore will serve as Chairman of their Board of Directors. The new leadership will educate the public about the benefits of carbon dioxide, the main building block of life on Earth. They will explain how the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere from human emissions is spurring increased growth of crops, forests and plants…. They will highlight the U.S. government data showing that the modest warming, even if caused in part by industrial CO2 has resulted in no increase in extreme weather such as hurricanes and droughts or changes in the rate of sea-level rise. …Commenting on his new role Dr. Moore stated, “We aim to position the CO2 Coalition as the go-to source for information on the benefits of CO2 for the environment and civilization. Human CO2 emissions are causing a greening of the Earth, which will increase agricultural and forestry production, as well as increasing the fertility and abundance of global ecosystems.”

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Health & Safety

Three killed, one survives after plane crash near Smithers

By Trevor Hewitt
The Terrace Standard
May 5, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lorne Borgal

…The three men who died in the plane crash northeast of Smithers on Saturday were part of a crew contracted by the BC Wildfire Service to do aerial imaging. “A conscious male passenger was seen outside the crash site, but due to the landscape the helicopter was unable to land,” said RCMP Sgt. Darren Durnin in a statement. Rescuers were lowered from the helicopter further away and then hiked to the crash site. The survivor of the crash was taken to hospital and remains in stable condition. A social media post from the wife of one of the victims …has confirmed that Lorne Borgal was a passenger on the Cessna 182 that went down near Smithers Landing. Borgal was the former president and CEO of Hudson Bay Mountain Resort in Smithers. “I understand …the plane Lorne was aboard (he was not flying) crashed killing Lorne, his colleague Amir, and the pilot Pete from Lakes District Air in Burns Lake with 1 survivor,” the post reads.

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Minister’s statement on wildfire contractor aircraft crash

By Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
May 6, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, has issued the following statement in response to the crash of an aircraft transporting BC Wildfire Service contractors in the Northwest Fire Centre: “Shortly after 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2019, a Cessna 182 fixed-wing aircraft crashed about 95 kilometres northeast of Smithers. On board were four contractors who were conducting infrared scans of some of the 2018 wildfires, on behalf of the BC Wildfire Service. “The crash site was located shortly before 11 a.m. Three of the four people on board did not survive, but one person was transported from the site by a Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre helicopter and is now being treated in a Vancouver hospital. That person is expected to recover.

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Northern Thailand was once a paradise. Now forest fires have made the air worse than Beijing’s.

By Emily Tamkin
The Washington Post
May 7, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: International

In mid-March, the city with the worst air pollution in the world wasn’t an industrial powerhouse populated by millions. It was Chiang Mai, the tourist-friendly cultural center in northern Thailand. And for Chiang Mai and its environs, that was the beginning, not the end, of northern Thailand’s trouble with air pollution. The air pollution was caused in part by forest fires, notably the practice of the area’s farmers of starting fires to clear land for new harvests. Some Chiang Mai residents said the poor air quality showed that the government’s efforts to stop farmers from exacerbating northern Thailand’s seasonal haze problem were not working. …When Thai military junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha visited… the city had an air quality index, or AQI, of 379— the worst of any major urban center in the world.

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