Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: June 19, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Lumber prices climb on cutbacks at Canadian sawmills

The Tree Frog Forestry News
June 19, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

Softwood lumber—after inexplicably wallowing in the doldrums (Madison’s), cutbacks at Canadian sawmills (WSJ), send lumber prices surging (Seeking Alpha). In related news: the BC Liberals say “keep people working“; but the Prince George Citizen says “no need to take the them seriously“. Meanwhile companies in the news include: TimberWestGarden River Truss, Norbord and Rayonier.

In Wildfire news: surviving another BC smoky summer; is California prepared?; surprising behaviour in beetle-attacked lodgepole forests in the US West; evacuations in Northern Alberta; and a wet spring means a late start for Idaho.

Finally, forest fire updates from BC (100 Mile House and Campbell River), Phoenix and Northern California

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

Read More

Business & Politics

Cutbacks at Canadian saw mills send lumber prices surging

By Carl Surran
Seeking Alpha
June 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber prices continued their sharp recent climb after West Fraser Timber said it planned to close a mill in British Columbia and eliminate a shift at another, curtailing 314M board ft. of production annually. Lumber futures settled +4.4% today to $409.40 per 1,000 board ft. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, capping a 34% rise so far this month; until the recent surge, lumber prices have been in the doldrums since collapsing from a record of $639 reached in May 2018. More than 1B total board feet of production out of western Canada has been curtailed in recent weeks by mill owners, but West Fraser’s big move announced late yesterday was the one the lumber market had awaited.

Read More

Softwood lumber sales explode on more major sawmill curtailments

Madison’s Lumber Reporter
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
June 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

MADISON”S — After inexplicably wallowing in the doldrums for 2019 so far, North America wholesaler softwood dimension lumber prices reversed spectacularly last week. U.S. housing starts for May, released Tuesday morning, were relatively stable compared to April. …Benchmark North American construction framing dimension softwood lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr (RL) FOB sawmill wholesaler price absolutely skyrocketed last week, taking several other species’ lumber prices higher with it. There is possibly no looking back until after the usual U.S. home building season ends following Labour Day. For most of this year, buyers have hesitated to book orders — despite needing wood for ongoing building and construction projects — for fear that prices could go lower. Right now, enough production has been taken offline to keep prices buoyed.

Read More

Lumber Prices Climb on Cutbacks at Canadian Sawmills

By Ryan Dezember
The Wall Street Journal
June 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Lumber prices continued their sharp climb in June after North America’s largest producer said it would close one mill in British Columbia and eliminate a shift at another. …In total, more than a billion board feet of production out of western Canada has been curtailed in recent weeks by mill owners. …Lumber futures climbed 4.4% to $409.40 per 1,000 board feet on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday, a 34% rise so far this month. …On Tuesday the U.S. Commerce Department said housing starts fell 0.9% in May from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.269 million. It was the latest gauge to signal weakness in the housing market. On Monday the National Association of Home Builders reported a decline in confidence in June among its members, who reported rising material and development costs that were countering mortgage rates that have fallen to near-historic lows. …These companies, along with U.S.-based competitors, have been rewarded by investors in their stock prices. [a WSJ subscription is required to access the full story]

Read More

Fixing the forest industry in five easy steps

By Bill Phillips
Prince George Daily News
June 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Liberals’ FIVE THINGS THE NDP SHOULD DO TO HELP THE FOREST INDUSTRY (you won’t believe No. 6) has the benefit of coming from the opposition … in other words, no one needs to take it too seriously. The Liberals are right to be critical of the NDP response to the ongoing mill closures, temporary and permanent, in the B.C Interior. Other than Forests Minister Doug Donaldson responding to Tolko’s closure of its Quest Wood mill, saying “staff from the regional economic development branch of my ministry and staff from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction will work with Tolko and the community to co-ordinate the delivery of provincial support programs and that they work with the federal government to ensure supports are made available to affected workers,” the government has been relatively quiet on subsequent closures.

Read More

Norbord Reports Fire Near High Level, Alberta OSB Mill

By Norbord Inc.
Cision Newswire
June 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. today reported that its OSB mill in High Level, Alberta has temporarily suspended production due to the wild fires burning nearby in the region and in order to comply with an evacuation order in MacKenzie County.  The Company also anticipates an evacuation order being issued for the town of High Level. All non-essential mill employees have been safely evacuated and no injuries have been reported. At this time, Norbord is assessing the impact to its production schedule. The mill was secure at the time of evacuation. The High Level, Alberta mill has a stated annual production capacity of 860 million square feet (3/8-inch basis) and has been ramping up toward full production since resuming operations in late 2013. High Level is located approximately 720 kilometres northwest of Edmonton and 400 kilometres west of Fort McMurray. 

Read More

Cut stumpage, keep people working, says Rustad

By Blair McBride
BC Local News
June 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

Reducing the carbon tax and stumpage fees might help out struggling forestry companies in the province, say opposition politicians. The request, made by Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad. …The issue for the time being, as Rustad explained to Houston Today, is trying to reduce the costs on companies and also on the contractors in forestry. “If you can reduce their costs that also reduces the price of the wood coming into the mill. That’s the point of the carbon tax.  …“The next piece is, every community has issues with fire preparedness. Why not create an immediate fund where forestry workers can be doing that work.” …The government, for its part, doesn’t think Rustad’s idea will work. “Any interference in B.C.’s market-based timber pricing system would lead to an increase in softwood lumber duties levied by the US,” said Forests Minister Doug Donaldson. 

Read More

Another Canadian wood investment: This time $315K for truss maker

By Robert Dalheim
The Woodworking Network
June 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

ONTARIO – Garden River Truss, a manufacturer of roof and floor trusses, will receive a $315,000 investment from the Ontario government – allowing the company to buy new machinery and hire 10 new employees. Located in Northwest Ontario, GR Truss’ primary products consist of roof trusses, open web floor trusses, and interior & exterior prefabricated wall panels. …This is the fourth Canadian wood products investment in two months. In May, the governments of Canada and Quebec invested $4 million in Les Produits Gilbert to help it modernize its facilities. The Ontario government invested $5.5 million in Ben Hokum & Son Ltd. last month to help the company modernize its facilities. In early April, the federal government invested nearly $8 million to promote new wood products in British Columbia.

Read More

Two industries announce expansions in Opelika

By City of Opelika Economic Development
Opelika Observer
June 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller announced today that two existing Opelika manufacturing companies – West Fraser, Inc. and Hanwha Advanced Materials America– will be expanding. “We are delighted at the commitment West Fraser and Hanwha are making in our community,” Fuller said. …West Fraser, Inc., will be constructing a new planer mill, which will increase its manufacturing capabilities. West Fraser is one of the largest lumber manufacturers in the United States, with 45 facilities in Western Canada and the southern U.S. They offer sustainable forestry, high-efficiency wood products. The company plans to invest an additional $43 million.

Read More

Rayonier Advanced Materials Repositions Senior Management Team

By Rayonier Advanced Materials
Business Wire
June 17, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Rayonier Advanced Materials is repositioning key members of its senior management team to drive the company’s Go-to-Market strategy and accelerate new product commercialization. Frank Ruperto will assume the role of Senior Vice President, High Purity and High Yield Cellulose Business; Dr. Erin Byers will assume the new role of Senior Vice President, Research and Development; and Marcus Moeltner will be promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, Finance. …Mr. Ruperto has been RYAM’s Chief Financial Officer since November 28, 2014 and led its finance and strategy group through the company’s successful cost transformation and subsequent acquisition and integration of Tembec.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

New Sydney Metro Northwest Stations built using 100% responsibly sourced timber

The American Journal of Transportation
June 19, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

SYDNEY – Metro station canopies and multi-story parking façades recently completed as part of the Sydney Metro Northwest project have been constructed with 100% responsibly sourced timber, according to certification body SCS Global Services. The wood used at seven stations has been certified by SCS under Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Responsible Wood (RW) Chain of Custody Project Standards, and one additional station has been certified with a Forest Stewardship Council® Partial Project Certificate. Additionally, the timber used on four multi-story parking structures, with space for more than 4,000 vehicles, has also been certified as responsibly sourced under the PEFC and RW Project Standards. The Sydney Metro Northwest project is the first project of its kind to earn a responsible timber project certification.

Read More

New sustainable technologies for wood-to-textile value chain enables increased production of man-made cellulose fibres in Europe

By VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
EurekAlert
June 18, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

GRETE, the Green chemicals and technologies for the wood-to-textile value chain project, has been granted EUR 2.6 million by the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), which is partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. The project will improve the existing wood-to-textile value chains by developing breakthrough technologies that can open up the identified bottlenecks and enable increased production of man-made cellulose fibres in Europe. The GRETE project will tackle the bottlenecks of creating wood-to-textile value chains by developing innovative technologies for wood pulp modification, cellulose dissolution and fibre quality generation. Currently, the raw material base for the production of man-made cellulose fibres is limited as only dissolving grade wood pulps are used commonly. The project will tackle this by widening the sustainable raw material basis for man-made cellulose fibres.

Read More

Forestry

Measuring the true value of trees

Letter by R.M. Strang
BC Local News
June 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Roy Strang

Recent reports tell us that Surrey is set to soon lose some 50,000 trees. This is unconscionable. Isn’t council aware of all the environmental and esthetic value of trees? In round numbers, every 100 trees will take up and store some five tons of CO2; 1,000 can hold back up to 1,000,000 gallons of storm water and take up 300 lbs. of particulates from the atmosphere. Developers’ cash-in-lieu cannot compensate for such lost attributes. I urge council to think long and hard about their development plans and our environment. [End]

Read More

TimberWest has no plans to log above Youbou this year; conducting its own study on viability of terrain

By Robert Barron
Cowichan Valley Citizen
June 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The TimberWest forest company says it has no harvesting planned for 2019 in the hills above Youbou. Spokeswoman Karen Brandt said no harvesting on the TimberWest lands in that area will occur until the necessary scientific analysis is completed and the company has conferred with the relevant authorities. “Safety is our highest priority at Mosaic; nothing supersedes it,” she said. …In 2017, TimberWest dropped plans for a new bypass route around Youbou Road for logging trucks after concerns were raised in the community about landslides, erosion and severe water run-off into Youbou from the new bypass route above the community if its construction went ahead. But the company didn’t rule out logging on its lands in the hills in the future as part of its harvesting plans, and indicated that smaller access roads may be required to reach these areas.

Read More

Firefighters report “surprising” fire behavior in beetle-attacked lodgepole forests

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
June 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In 28 interviews of experienced wildland firefighters of seven different agencies in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming researchers asked them about their observations of fire behavior in beetle-attacked lodgepole pine forests, with a focus on what they considered surprising from a fire behavior standpoint and how this in turn affected their suppression tactics. …“The surprises in fire behavior experienced by firefighters during the red phase of post-outbreak forests included an elevated level of fire spread and intensity under moderate weather and fuel moisture conditions, increased spotting, and faster surface-to-crown fire transitions with limited or no ladder fuels. “Unexpectedly, during the gray phase in mountain pine beetle-attacked stands, crown ignition and crown fire propagation was observed for short periods of time.”

Read More

South Carolina teachers tour state’s forestry system

WBTW.com
June 18, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

MARION, SC — Teachers from all across the state of South Carolina are participating in a five-day forestry tour in the Pee Dee. The Forestry Association of South Carolina along with the South Carolina Project Learning Tree program organized the tour. Its been put on for 22 years with a mission of showing teachers the impact forests have on the environment and economy. “We’re just trying to get them to walk away with that positivity that forestry is not negative. This is not deforestation. This is sustainable forest management happening. We’re creating habitat, goods, and services and we do this all over the place,” said Emily Oakman, Forestry Association of South Carolina. Eighteen teachers are participating in the tour this year. Their days are filled with visiting tree farms, state forests, private mills and more.

Read More

Forestry’s Southern home

By Rex Nelson, Senior Editor
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
June 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The news came suddenly, and it couldn’t have been much worse for Crossett. Georgia-Pacific Corp. announced earlier this month that it will close its bleached-board operations at Crossett, costing 555 people their jobs. In 2011, the company closed its plywood and stud operations, and 700 people lost jobs. That’s 1,255 jobs gone in this decade in a town that has seen its population drop from 6,471 in 1990 to about 4,900 residents. For now, Georgia-Pacific will continue to employ almost 500 people in its consumer tissue and towel business. Regardless of what happens in the future, nothing can take away Crossett’s place in history as one of the towns where the forestry industry came of age. …Crossett Lumber Co. became a leader in Southern forestry, adding paper mills and chemical plants in an effort to ensure there was minimal waste. Money also was spent on research and development projects, unusual in the early 1900s when companies had a cut-and-run philosophy.

Read More

Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Wood pellet exports reach nearly 425,000 tons in April

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
June 18, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

The U.S. exported 424,680.5 tons of wood pellets in April, according to data released by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on June 6. Exports volumes were down from both the prior month and the same period of the previous year. USDA data shows the U.S. exported 424,680.5 tons of wood pellets in April, down from 610,554.3 tons exported in March and 518,022.5 tons exported in April 2018. Total wood pellet exports for the first four months of 2019 reached 1.92 million tons, up from the 1.74 million tons of wood pellets exported during the same period of 2018. The U.S. exported wood pellets to more than a dozen countries in April. The U.K. was the top destination for wood pellets during the month with 352,404.5 tons.

Read More

Forest Fires

Forest fire on North Island disrupts Hwy. 19

BC Local News
June 19, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A forest fire on northern Vancouver Island has reduced traffic to a single alternating lane on Highway 19, according to DriveBC. The wildfire is located between Big Tree Main and Rock Bay Forest Service Road, 28 km north of Campbell River. The update was posted last night at 9:43 p.m. and says that an assessment is in progress. The fire has reached .25 hectares, according to the BC Wildfire Service. It was discovered yesterday and its cause is unknown.

Read More

B.C. wildfire crews called to trio of new blazes near 100 Mile House

By Simon Little
Global News
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wildfire Service was called into action near 100 Mile House on Tuesday. Crews were called to a suspected lightning-caused wildfire by Drewry Lake, about 45 kilometres east of the Cariboo community. The fire was first spotted Tuesday, and was about 3.5 hectares in size as of 11:30 a.m. The wildfire service said it had 23 firefighters on scene, along with air tanker support and one piece of heavy equipment working the fire. A second, three-person crew was also deployed to another fire near Greeny Lake to the northwest. A third fire, suspected to have been caused by humans, is also burning near Highway 97 along Lac La Hache.

Read More

9,000 people forced to leave home as wildfires spread in northern Alberta

By Karen Bartko
Global News
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As of June 18, more than 9,000 people were out of their homes due to wildfires in Alberta, including about 700 from the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement, who were forced to leave May 26. Three areas were evacuated Monday, including several communities to the south of High Level overnight, as the driest conditions in more than 40 years continue to fuel wildfires in the region. …All Mackenzie County evacuees are required to register at the Fort Vermilion Mackenzie County Office, and Bushe River evacuees were told to register at the Four Chiefs Complex in Bushe River before making their way south to Edmonton. An alert to be prepared for evacuation on short notice remains for the area west of Steep Hill Creek, Range Road 164, south of the Peace River to Township Road 1010

Read More

New evacuation orders issued as ‘aggressive’ northern Alberta wildfires grow

By Wallis Snowdon
CBC News
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as gusting winds stoke wildfires burning across northern Alberta. A swath of new evacuation orders were issued Monday, with residents across northern Alberta being told to gas up their vehicles and be ready to leave in a hurry. New evacuation orders were issued at around 11 p.m. for communities in and near Mackenzie County. Everyone in the hamlet of La Crete and the rural area outside of the hamlet east of Steep Hill Creek were ordered to leave immediately. The affected areas also include the Rocky Lane and High Level area north of the Peace River, west of Range Road 150, south of Highway 58, south and southeast of High Level. In an update posted by the province around 9 p.m. Monday, the province said the Chuckegg Creek fire was burning about 10 kilometres directly west of La Crete.

Read More

Will this be another summer of wildfire smoke and poor air quality in B.C.?

By Lori Culbert
Vancouver Sun
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

It is likely to be another hot, smoke-filled summer in B.C. this year, and residents should consider taking precautions such as staying indoors on hazy days, experts are warning. B.C. Wildfire Service information shows the province has seen increased drought and higher-than-average temperatures in 2019, and that trend is expected to continue. “Obviously, we expect increased wildfire and smoke risk, and that includes in the southwest, where (Metro Vancouver is). And increased temperatures are likely to drive higher ozone formation, and so we expect there may be more potential for that this summer as well,” Metro Vancouver air-quality engineer Francis Ries said Tuesday. Ozone, a pollutant that when mixed with fine particulate matter creates smog, often irritates the eyes, nose and throat, and over time can cause permanent lung damage. Ries said more studies, including ones that focus on B.C., are making a strong link between climate change and the exacerbation of wildfire seasons.

Read More

Wet spring weather could keep Idaho wildfires at bay ⁠— or cause serious problems

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Brad Little

Idaho’s wet spring and below-average temperatures the last three months will likely mean a later start for forest fires, but rangeland fires could be a problem as grasses dry out, a federal wildfire forecaster said Tuesday. Bryan Henry of the National Interagency Fire Center in a presentation before the Idaho Land Board said the state is mostly looking good at the moment. “Spring has actually been very good to us this year with cool and wet overall across the state,” he told Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little and other Land Board members. …“We have very heavy fuel loading down there. Should that cure and dry out and become receptive to fire, that could be a little bit problematic later this summer.”

Read More

Wildfire Forecaster Sees Late Start for Idaho Forest Fires

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in US News
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, Idaho — A federal wildfire forecaster says Idaho’s wet spring and below-average temperatures the last three months will likely mean a later start to forest fires, but rangeland fires could be a problem as grasses dry out. Bryan Henry of the National Interagency Fire Center in a presentation before the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday says the state is mostly looking good at the moment. Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little and other Land Board members also received an update from state officials on how state firefighting equipment is being deployed, with much of it in the north to protect forests.

Read More

Woodbury Fire east of Phoenix grows to over 40,000 acres

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

PHOENIX — The Woodbury Fire 12 miles east of the Phoenix suburbs has burned 40,557 acres, mostly in the Tonto National Forest in the 11 days since it started. The agency is not attempting to completely suppress it, but instead is using a variety of strategies. The weather forecast for the fire area over the next seven days looks very static, with high temperatures in the Tortilla Flat area around 100 degrees and no expectation of precipitation. The wind should be about 8 to 10 mph out of the south and southwest during the daylight hours. …The smoke forecast for 6 p.m. MDT on Tuesday shows the smoke plume from the fire being pushed off to the northeast, away from the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

Read More

215-acre wildfire at Klamath National Forest prompts evacuation warnings, officials say

By Michael McGough
The Sacramento Bee
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

CALIFORNIA — A wildfire burning in Siskiyou County since Monday evening on the northeast edge of Klamath National Forest grew slightly overnight, but an evacuation warning has been lifted, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The Lumgrey Fire, which sparked near Highway 96 and Lumgrey Road north of Yreka, was reported at 215 acres as of 7 a.m. Tuesday, according to a Forest Service incident update. The blaze started as two fires, igniting about 6 p.m. Monday, before merging into one. …Evacuation warnings that were issued Monday evening for Empire Creek and Dutch Creek roads near Highway 96 were lifted Tuesday morning, according to the Forest Service.

Read More

Destined to Burn: Wildfires threaten California — are we prepared?

The Redding Record Searchlight
June 18, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Wildfires have caused destruction across California for years, but what’s being done to prepare for future blazes? Here’s what we found. After the Camp Fire, several California news organizations, including the USA TODAY Network, came together to examine critical issues surrounding wildfires in the state. The goal was to shed light on the problems, point to possible solutions and empower Californians to hold their leaders accountable and protect their own families and communities. The result was the Destined to Burn series, stories written in partnership with The Sacramento Bee, Chico-Enterprise Record, Associated Press and the Record Searchlight’s sister papers in the USA TODAY Network.

Read More