Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 22, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

BC may lose another 12 sawmills over next decade

The Tree Frog Forestry News
May 22, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

In a worst-case scenario, another 12 BC sawmills will close over the next decade, says industry analyst Jim Girvan. In other Business news: Home Depot blames the slump in lumber prices for its slow growth; Trump’s move on steel has the NAHB asking for tariff relief; and BC Central Interior Steelworkers prepare to vote on industry’s wage offer.

In Forest Fire news: BC deploys firefighters to Alberta; as the High Level evacuation is described as post-apocalyptic; Fort McMurray lessons loom large; and conditions are expected to get worse. In other news: Trump wants to slash wildfire payments to California; AF&PA’s Donna Harman leads way on gender diversity; plastic is the fifth-highest emitter of greenhouse gases; and how cardboard fares as an alternative.

Finally, an Ontario firefighter filed a Human Rights complaint because he wasn’t fed vegan food in BC.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Made in Canada: Meet the Makers Behind Canadian Lumber Rolling Papers

By Deidre Olsen
Leafly
May 21, 2019
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: Canada East, Canada

Move over Zig-Zag, there’s a new, all-Canadian brand of rolling papers on the market. You may have seen the packs of buffalo plaid papers at a cannabis retailer or headshop near you. Made by Canadian Lumber, the company hails from Halifax, NS and came about a couple years ago when Beau-Brandon Cleeton realized there was no Canadian company in the rolling paper market. It was a part of the cannabis space he was fascinated with and passionate about. …Within months, he came up with a vision for his company—based on the Canadian lumberjack of old who cut down trees and rolled logs—and thus, Canadian Lumber was born. …In Canada, there are few regulations that companies must follow in order to produce rolling papers. …Canadian Lumber has acquired a TÜV SÜD Product Service Certificate that provides brands with a mark ensuring quality and safety. 

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Business & Politics

Home Depot same-store sales disappoint, warns of tariff impact

By Uday Sampath
Reuters in the Chronicle Herald
May 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Home Depot blamed wet weather in February and a slump in lumber prices for its slowest growth in quarterly same-store sales in at least three years, while warning of a $1 billion impact from new tariffs on Chinese imports. Bad weather along with land and labor shortages… creating a supply glut for lumber. Home Depot said weak lumber prices hurt its first-quarter sales growth by $200 million and… could dent overall sales by as much as another $600 million. …The commodity made up nearly 8% of Home Depot’s sales in the last fiscal year. The unfavorable weather also led contractors to delay housing projects and prevented the company’s do-it-yourself customers from working outdoors, further impacting demand for Home Depot’s products in February. Same-store sales at the home improvement chain rose 2.5% in the quarter ended May 5, but missed expectations of a 4.2% increase.

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Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

The Canadian Press in the Prince George Citizen
May 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Justin Trudeau

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party’s action plan on climate change has brought one former British Columbia politician out of retirement and back into the arena. At his nomination event Tuesday night for the riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, described to the prime minister the conditions the area faces every summer with the wildfires. “It is like a war zone here, prime minister, in the summer,” he said. “People leave so they can breathe clean air.” Lake said locals are worried because they suffer physically and mentally due to the raging wildfires. “And that’s what brought me off the sidelines,” he said. “It was your and your government’s commitment on taking action on climate change.” With B.C. expected to be a key battleground in October’s federal election, Lake is considered a high-profile candidate for the Liberals in the province.

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Forestry workers prepare to vote on ‘final offer’

Kamloops This Week
May 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kamloops forestry workers will decide by June whether or not to accept what the union representing them described as a final offer from the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA). …United Steelworkers Local 1-417 president Marty Gibbons said it will take time to co-ordinate votes at every work sites, but noted the goal is to complete the process in about three weeks. USW’s provincial bargaining committee, however, did not sign off on the agreement being presented, nor has it recommended it be accepted or rejected. …The proposed agreement is for five years with about two per cent increases every year, retroactive to July 1, 2018. It’s the same term and wage increase Local 1-2017 accepted from the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations earlier this year.

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B.C. forest industry can expect the loss of another 12 sawmills over next decade, analyst estimates

By Derrick Penner
The Vancouver Sun
May 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko’ decision to close its Quest sawmill in Quesnel was greeted less with shock than resignation with one report predicting the equivalent of 12 more will be shuttered in the next decade to cope with B.C.’s shrinking timber supply. …Russ Taylor, president of the consulting firm Wood Markets Group, that commissioned the analyst’s report that concluded with that grim assessment. …Over the next decade… B.C.’s timber harvests could put a 2,000 to 2,500-position dent in those employment figures, Taylor said. However, the massive mountain pine-beetle epidemic… and successive record years of forest fires have cumulatively compromised the province’s Interior forests, said industry analyst Jim Girvan, who wrote the report. …“In the worst-case scenario, 13 mills will close,” said Girvan. “In the best-case scenario, 26 mills will reduce (one shift each). Either way, the impact… is the same.” He expects the bite out of timber harvests will start taking hold between now and about 2025.

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Hey, Mr. President, what about removing lumber tariffs to make homes affordable?

By Kathleen Howley
Housing Wire
May 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

After President Donald Trump announced at the National Association of Realtors convention on Friday that he was lifting aluminum and steel tariffs on Canada and Mexico, the NAHB asked: What about lumber? Canadian softwood lumber used to build U.S. homes carry tariffs of about 20% imposed by the Trump administration two years ago. That adds $9,000 to the price of a typical new home and more than $3,000 to the value of a multifamily unit, NAHB said. At a time when all eyes are on U.S. housing affordability issues, the trade dispute with Canada is “needlessly driving up housing costs,” Greg Ugalde, chairman of NAHB, said. “A prompt resolution to this ongoing trade conflict with our neighbor to the north will help to ease ongoing housing affordability concerns,” Ugalde said.

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Women strive to close gender gap at biz groups

By Alex Gangitano
The Hill
May 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Donna Harmon and Nancy Fletcher

Trade associations have made strides in gender diversity, with more women taking on prominent roles at industry groups. It’s a trend advocates are pushing to build on. …But the data also shows fewer women as they move up the ladder. The vice president level is 44 percent female, the director level 55 percent female and the manager level 74 percent female. Donna Harman has been president and CEO of the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), the oldest trade association in the U.S., since 2007. Harman was first hired as vice president for congressional affairs and held that job for about five years before taking over the association, which represents the forest products industry and its $300 billion annually in products, including paper and packaging. …Harman hailed the changes in the paper industry, where she now finds many women working as engineers at companies. 

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Trump wants to slash payments to California for fighting wildfires on federal land

By Joseph Serna
Los Angeles Times
May 22, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The relationship between President Trump and California has long been fraught, but in the aftermath of the state’s deadliest wildfire season, the acrimony is burning hotter than ever. In November, as crews battled the Camp and Woolsey fires, Trump blamed the state for “gross mismanagement of the forests” and delivered this ultimatum: “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” …Now, the Trump administration has taken matters a step further. As California prepares for what some officials fear will be another devastating fire season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service are withholding reimbursements that state fire agencies say are owed for battling wildfires on federal lands last year. Instead of fulfilling California’s full $72-million reimbursement request, the Forest Service conducted an audit of the California Fire Assistance Agreement and now accuses the state of overbilling. The Forest Service has demanded that the state provide proof of its “actual expenses.”

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Idaho Land Board forms subcommittee to analyze land dealings

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the Seattle Times
May 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Brad Little

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and a financial expert will examine how the Idaho Land Board should invest $240 million from the sale of hundreds of residential home sites as well as commercial real estate properties. Irving Littman, a retired VP at Boise Cascade, was named the third member of the committee. …Another financial adviser has already told the Land Board to use the money to buy timberland and farmland. But at least one timber company, concerned about competition from the state. …Idaho received 5,600 square miles of endowment land at statehood in 1890. Over the years, it has sold about 33% and now has about 3,800 square miles. The Land Board manages that remaining land to make money mainly for public schools, mostly through timber sales. The Land Board is constitutionally mandated to get the greatest return.

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China Forestry Group Corporation to build wood product plants in Russian Far East

Lesprom Network
May 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The China Forestry Group Corporation (CFGC) will build mills in the Russian Far East to supply wood products for China. The project is expected to consume around 3 million cubic metres of logs and export finished products to China, as ITTO reports. Russia’s Khabarovsk will be considered as one of the possible production bases. The CFGC is a large scale wood processing enterprise set up by nine enterprises directly under the State Forestry Administration in 1996. Currently the Group has more than 150 international forestry enterprises and has cooperated with New Zealand, Russia, Canada and some South East Asian countries. [END]

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Not all plastic is toxic — bioplastic is made from wood, other biodegradable material

By Laurie Wright, Senior Lecturer, Solent University
The Conversation
May 15, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

We’re all too aware of the consequences of plastics in the oceans and on land. However, beyond the visible pollution of our once pristine habitats, plastics are having a grave impact on the climate too. Newly published research calculates that across their lifecycle, plastics account for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s almost double the emissions of the aviation sector. If it were a country, the “Plastic Kingdom” would be the fifth-highest emitter in the world. …More than 99% of plastics are manufactured from petrochemicals, most commonly from petroleum and natural gas. …A more fundamental solution is to switch to making plastics from biodegradable sources such as wood, corn starch, and sugar cane. …It is essential that we drastically reduce our use of avoidable plastics, and eliminate the carbon footprint of the ones we need to use. Our relationship with plastic may be toxic, but it doesn’t need to be forever.

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The five finalist entries for NYC’s “Big Ideas for Small Lots” affordable housing competition

By Justine Testado
Architect News
May 21, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

As part of the City of New York’s efforts to provide more affordable housing to its residents, the Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC competition was launched by the NYC Department of Housing… to solicit innovative architectural proposals for small-scale, urban infill affordable housing in designated sites across the city. Out of more than 400 submissions in Stage I, the esteemed jury recently selected five competitive, experienced teams to advance as finalists to Stage II. …HPD may select one or more teams to develop their proposals into an affordable housing project. …“Mass Green Living” by Anawan/101 + Kane AUD. …For the structure of the building cross laminated timber is employed for its precise nature, sustainable construction, and warm finished appearance. …“Fold and Stack” by OBJ. …A combination of prefabricated elements and cross-laminated timber panels allows for fast construction and minimal on-site labor.”

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Is there such a thing as a good non-plastic alternative?

By Oliver Balch
The Raconteur
May 22, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Backlash against unrecyclables is pressing companies and consumers to search for alternatives. While card, glass and cotton packaging may be greener options, experts say a change in consumer understanding is still needed in order to be truly sustainable. …Cardboard should be the dream packaging product. And, in many ways, it is. It’s light while strong, easy to recycle and dependent on those great climate regulators: trees. It’s what happens before your boxed-up Amazon purchase lands on your doorstep that’s the problem. At the crux of the issue are commercial timber plantations, many of which are now located in the global south. …In response, the pulp and forestry industries have developed a variety of sustainability certification schemes to demonstrate their efforts to mitigate such negative impacts.

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Forestry

As the son of a logger learns, ‘farming’ is a loaded term on Haida Gwaii

By Aaron Williams
The National Post
May 22, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Penguin Random House Canada and Westwood Creative Artists… offers one graduate from the University of King’s College-Dalhousie University MFA in Creative Nonfiction the chance to win $2,500, a meeting with an editor and an agent. Read excerpts from this year’s nominees, including this piece by Aaron Williams, on the battle over the old growth forests of Haida Gwaii. Long before reaching Evan, I see signs of his work. Logs stacked roadside in piles of varying size. If you’re not used to this sight, and I’m not, it has the look of a morgue. I crest a hill and see an orange Hitachi “hoe-chucker,” a machine that looks like an excavator but is used for moving logs. Evan calls me on the radio, and I tell him I’ll be up to see him in a minute. The hoe chucker is throne-like in appearance, angular and with hard edges.

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Locals react to forest spraying

By Arthur Tanga
The Rocky Mountain Goat
May 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Some locals are calling into question the widespread use of a notorious herbicide known as glyphosate to manage unwanted tree species in local forests. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many pesticides, including RoundUp™. Firefighter and educator Jared Smith studied geography and environmental science in school, to him, removing aspen stands to create better growing conditions for conifers, like pine trees, doesn’t make sense. …Smith said that the sap in deciduous trees rises at the same time as peak fire season and provide an effective fire defence that firefighters can use to their advantage. …Andrew Patrick, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change said that forest companies aren’t required to use pesticides, but are allowed to when they conform to the standards of integrated pest management.

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Forestry professor provides tips to North Cowichan on engaging public on forest reserve future

By Robert Barron
Cowichan Valley Citizen
May 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Stephen Sheppard

A lot can be accomplished in seven months, Dr. Stephen Sheppard, a professor of forest resources management at UBC, told North Cowichan’s council on May 15. Sheppard was responding to a question from Mayor Al Siebring asking if between now and Dec. 31 is enough time for meaningful public engagement on the future of the municipality’s 5,000-acre municipal forest reserve. Sheppard was asked by council to organize a presentation on his work with other communities in developing sustainable forest management plans with full public engagement in the process, and present it at the council meeting. “I’m not sure if seven months is enough time to resolve all the issues involved, but it is enough time for a coherent process to get going to achieve some results regarding decision making [in the reserve],” he said.

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Canada Invests in Indigenous Participation in the Forest Sector

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
May 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON – Indigenous communities have the innovation and drive to unlock new jobs in the forestry sector while protecting the environment. That is why Canada is investing in projects to equip Indigenous communities with the tools to build businesses while helping to tackle climate change and mitigate its impacts on the forest sector. Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, today announced investments of more than $2.1 million in three forestry projects in Alberta. These investments are: $1.5 million for Kapawe’no First Nation in Narrows Point near Grouard to design and install a renewable and eco-friendly heating system; $500,000 to The Rockies Institute in Canmore, allowing it to collaborate with Indigenous communities to bring together the best available Indigenous and scientific knowledge on fire management; $110,000 for Nu Ch’anie Society in Cold Lake to pursue business development activities in various emerging market opportunities in the forest sector with the goal of creating revenue and employment.

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Bullock creates new advisory council to examine forest and wildfire conditions

KRTV Montana
May 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Governor Steve Bullock has created a new advisory council to help examine the current conditions of Montana’s forests and mitigate wildfire danger. The Montana Forest Action Advisory Council will update Montana’s Forest Action Plan to address long-term efforts to conserve working forest lands, protect forests from harm, and enhance benefits from forests throughout the state. Council members include timber industry officials, conservationists, and representatives from local, state, federal, and tribal agencies. “We can and we must work together for the well-being of our forests and to reduce wildland fire risk,” stated Governor Bullock. “I’m confident that through these new partnerships we can protect our outdoor recreational opportunities, wildlife and fisheries habitat for a diverse range of species, drinking water supplies and soil health, all while treating more acres on the ground and investing in priority areas around the state.”

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Resilience of Yellowstone’s forests tested by unprecedented fire

By Kelly April Tyrrell, University of Wisconsin
Wildfire Today
May 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In August 2016, areas of Yellowstone National Park that burned in 1988 burned again. Shortly after, in October 2016, ecologist Monica Turner and her team of graduate students visited the park to begin to assess the landscape. “We saw these areas where everything was combusted and we hadn’t seen that previously,” says Turner, a professor of integrative biology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who has closely studied Yellowstone’s response to fire since 1988. “That was surprising.” In the study … Turner and her team describe what happens when Yellowstone —  adapted to recurring fires every 100 to 300 years — instead burns twice in fewer than 30 years. Yellowstone as we know it faces an uncertain future, the researchers say, and one of the big questions they hope to answer is whether the forests can recover. …The researchers also found that the re-burned forests lost significant carbon storage capacity.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Canada helps York Region build climate change resilience through urban forest restoration and enhancement

By Infrastructure Canada
Cision Newswire
May 21, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

François-Philippe Champagne

WHITCHURCH-STOUFFVILLE, ON – Now more than ever, communities need help adapting to the frequent and intensifying weather events caused by climate change. Reducing the impact of natural disasters such as flooding and wildfires is critical to keeping Canadian families safe, protecting local businesses and supporting a strong economy and the middle class. The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, today announced funding for a project mitigating extreme temperatures, while also reducing the impacts of flooding and erosion in York Region. The project involves planting trees and adding natural elements to increase the drainage capacity when heavy rainfalls occur. Urban forests are an essential tool to prevent flooding by reducing the volume of water going into the stormwater collection system. The new trees will also help improve air quality and provide relief from extreme urban temperatures for residents.

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Increasing ecosystem carbon is good for species, says new study

By Gloria Pallares
Forests News, Center for International Forestry Research
May 22, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

It is widely assumed that land uses that increase carbon in biomass and soil to mitigate climate change also benefit biodiversity. But that might not always be the case. Until recently, there was no clear picture on what the most likely carbon-boosting strategies, such as planting trees in open lands and halting deforestation, meant for biodiversity. In response, scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research(CIFOR) and partner organizations decided to study the relationship between payments for adding ecosystem carbon and the level of biodiversity in 12 landscapes across seven countries –Finland, Indonesia, Mexico, Laos, Peru, Tanzania and Vietnam. “We wanted to understand the impact of the most common ways of increasing carbon in practice, because it might not always follow the general trend,” says lead author and associate professor with Peking University Markku Larjavaara. 

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Health & Safety

Ontario firefighter says his human rights were violated because he wasn’t given vegan food during B.C. wildfires

By Liam Casey
Canadian Press in The National Post
May 21, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada East, Canada

Adam Knauff

An Ontario firefighter alleges his human rights were violated when he was not provided sufficient vegan food while battling a massive blaze in British Columbia. Adam Knauff has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against his employer, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, over his treatment and subsequent suspension while fighting a fire near William’s Lake, B.C., in 2017. “The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry discriminated against me and failed to accommodate my sincerely held ethical beliefs (creed) when it failed to provide me with food that accommodated my personal commitment to ethical veganism, and then disciplined me and suspended me because I attempted to assert my right to accommodation of that sincerely held ethical belief,” he wrote in his application to the tribunal.

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Forest Fires

Northern Alberta wildfire ranked at highest danger level, conditions expected to worsen

CBC News
May 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

An out-of-control wildfire burning Tuesday near a town in northwestern Alberta is rated at the highest possible danger level, and the dry, windy weather means the danger is expected to increase this week, says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “The fire is jumping from crown to crown of trees,” Kenney said at a news conference Tuesday. “Unfortunately, the dry conditions in northern Alberta are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with the fire danger possibly increasing this week.” The fire near the town of High Level is ranked as a Level 6, the top of the wildfire intensity scale. Increased fire danger is common during the spring because of the abundance of dry, flammable materials in the period between the snow melt and the green-up of the landscape.

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‘It was almost post-apocalyptic’: High Level wildfire evacuees regroup in Slave Lake

By Anna Junker
Edmonton Journal
May 22, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tyler Warman

SLAVE LAKE — Blackened trees sticking out among the new, green growth mark the route into Slave Lake along Highway 2, dark monuments of the catastrophic wildfire that sent 7,000 residents scrambling from this northern town in a frantic evacuation eight years ago. On Tuesday, with dangerous, tinder dry conditions again fuelling multiple wildfires in the north, Slave Lake transformed into a key hub for High Level evacuees forced Monday from their homes nearly 500 kilometres away. The dislocated residents filled an estimated 200 hotel rooms, set up in camping areas and found spots with family and friends. As of late Tuesday afternoon, Slave Lake officials were working with neighbours from the Town of High Prairie 100 kilometres to the west to find more beds. These are moments that stir memories for the Slave Lake volunteers. They also inspire “overwhelming support,” Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman said during one of two media updates Tuesday.

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Fort McMurray lessons loom large as High Level wildfire burns

By Emma Graney
Post Media News in Vancouver Sun
May 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The “mayhem” of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire provided valuable lessons being deployed in the fight against the blaze threatening High Level, officials say. Bruce Mayer, assistant deputy minister in the forestry department, said Tuesday morning those lessons include improved long-term weather trends and co-operative relationships between the province, industry and municipalities. But the biggest change was around unified command. “My senior staff are lockstep with municipal senior staff, and they will make one plan as opposed to siloed plans,” Mayer said. That will include how to fight the blaze and protect structures in the danger zone, and how people will be evacuated. “The municipalities are evacuating people before there was any mayhem happening similar to what happened in Fort McMurray,” he said. “For us it’s a huge learning (curve), and I think we’re going to be successful.”

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Firefighting personnel deployed to Alberta

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
The Government of British Columbia
May 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wildfire Service is sending 267 personnel to Alberta to help with firefighting efforts due to an increasing wildfire threat in that province. A total of 267 B.C. personnel will be deployed on Wednesday, May 22, and Thursday, May 23, 2019, to help where needed throughout Alberta: two hundred and thirty firefighters (consisting of 10 initial attack crews and 10 unit crews), three agency representatives, a 19-person incident management team, fourteen supervisors. The request for assistance was made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates the mutual sharing of firefighting resources between B.C. and other jurisdictions. All associated costs are covered by the jurisdiction that requested the resources.

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Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

The Canadian Press in CTV News
May 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, US West

HIGH LEVEL, Alta. — Fire officials say winds continue to be favourable as crews battle a large wildfire burning a few kilometres from a northern Alberta town. Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nations with flames licking at the southern edge of the community, located about 750 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. Winds are expected to be out of the southeast for the next several days, pushing the fire away from homes and other buildings. …Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the fire is about five kilometres from the town. Official reports said flames were within three kilometres. Kenney said no buildings have been damaged and the evacuation of the town on Monday went off without incident.

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