Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 8, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Future of Northern Pulp’s Pictou mill looking up

Tree Frog Forestry News
July 8, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The future of Northern Pulp’s Pictou mill is looking up as an extension to its treatment plant closure a possibility. In other Business news: the fight to survive BC’s mill closures; options for the OSB plant in 100 Mile House; killing BC industries won’t save the caribou; and BC’s caribou plan on hold as NDP mends fences

In Forestry/Wildfire news: Oregon’s loggers on cap-and-trade; the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society on species at risk; the World Wildlife Fund on Europe’s super fires; the US Forest Service on reducing log rates to encourage thinning; and fire evacuations in Manitoba and Ontario.

Finally; MP Richard Cannings on why his wood-first bill died in the Senate.

Your Tree Frog editors are heading out early today to kick-off this summer’s Festival of Forestry teachers’ tour to Port Hardy! 

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

‘We’ve been here before’: The fight to survive B.C.’s rising mill closures

By Dominika Lirette
CBC News
July 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Canfor’s recent announcement it will reduce production at two more sawmills this summer in Prince George adds to a growing list of more than 20 temporary and indefinite curtailments of such facilities across BC, along with several permanent closures. …Workers in the struggling sector and those who govern municipalities dependent on forestry are grappling with the fallout. The reasons for the downturn are varied. …Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s minister of forests, said he isn’t surprised by the closures and drastic reductions in operations. “These curtailments and shutdowns were the result of natural and global forces, and they didn’t happen overnight, and that’s what’s so frustrating,” Donaldson said. …In the short term, the province is trying to help workers who have lost their jobs by connecting them with Service Canada, Work B.C. and retraining opportunities, he said. “But we also want to see the mills get up and running again.”

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How my private member’s bill died in the Senate

By Richard Cannings, MP South Okanagan—West Kootenay
BC Local News
July 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richard Cannings

Last month, the Canadian Senate killed all private members’ bills before them — 29 bills, including my bill advocating for the use of wood in federal government infrastructure. This was achieved by a very small group of Conservative senators who wanted to block the passage of my colleague Romeo Saganash’s bill on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The easiest way they could kill that bill was to kill all private members’ bills. When I first arrived in Ottawa as an MP, public sentiment was running strongly against the Senate. …most Canadians were fed up with stories of entitled, unelected senators who didn’t show up for work, padded their expense accounts, and didn’t seem to play a very useful role in governing Canada. …It is unconscionable that a small group of unelected Conservative senators — who don’t even have a majority in the Senate — can then kill the bills at their whim. It’s time for change.

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FOREST INK: Options for keeping the 100 Mile OSB plant operating

By Jim Hilton, retired forester
BC Local News
July 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The loss of the two mills in 100 Mile House was devastating for this forest-dependent community and in my opinion the loss of the OSB plant could have the most long-term impact since it means a lot of non-saw log material will not be used. With the loss of so many lumber mills due to reduced saw logs the hope was that the smaller residual material for power plants, wood pellets, pulp wood chips and OSB material could help reduce the impact. …The direct loss of jobs at the 100 Mile OSB plant is obvious but jobs that have been supplying the raw materials will also be lost …Some have suggested that the government should step in to help reduce production costs. …It may be worthwhile to see what other OSB plants have done when faced with similar circumstances of impending closures.

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Northern Pulp expects to have report ordered by province ready by September

By Michael Gorman
CBC News
July 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Officials with the company that owns the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County have told their employees they expect to complete the requirements of a focus report ordered by the province by September. That would create a scenario that could see the government revisit the date to close Boat Harbour, the treatment site for the mill’s effluent. Company officials, including Paper Excellence Canada CEO Brian Baarda, met with union leadership Wednesday in Halifax and with mill employees in Pictou County on Thursday. Don MacKenzie, president of Unifor Local 440, which represents the 240 unionized workers at the mill, said the message was the focus report work is expected to be completed soon. …The company was ordered to complete the focus report when then-environment minister Margaret Miller ruled in March that its application for a new treatment facility, which would include a pipeline running from the mill at Abercombie Point to the Northumberland Strait, lacked sufficient information.

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Local loggers’ voices heard on House Bill 2020

By Victoria Sanchez
July 5, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

In June, the Oregon house and Senate were in the midst of trying to pass a controversial cap-and-trade bill with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission levels to 80 percent below what they were in 1990 by 2050. This would be done by essentially charging corporations for polluting in the state, as well as raising gasoline prices in an effort to transition Oregonians to renewable energy instead of fossil fuels. These changes would have affected rural Oregonians more, as farmers, truckers and loggers would have to pay more for the gasoline that goes in their equipment. R&R King Logging has been part of the Florence community for more than 50 years. Started by her grandfather and father, Jennifer Waggoner is now the partial owner of R&R. Both she and her husband are multi-generational logging families and, currently, R&R works with large industrial landowners for logging around Oregon.

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Falling log prices may make some woodlots unprofitable – ANZ

By Rebecca Howard
Scoop Independent News
July 8, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

In-market prices for logs in China – New Zealand’s largest export market – have fallen in recent weeks and ANZ Bank warns the drop will make the harvest of some woodlots unprofitable. While some price softening is not unusual at this time of year as construction activity slows in the hot months, “the scale of the correction was unexpected,” said ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby. The price of an A-grade log landed in China has fallen from US$130/JAS cubic-metre in early June to approximately US$105/JAS cubic-metre. “The current price level is difficult to quantify as the market has been moving rapidly downwards and in this environment, buyers are unwilling to commit to pricing,” she adds. While some exporters are optimistic the bottom may have been reached “this seems unlikely given the quantity of logs sitting on wharves in China is expected to increase,” Kilsby says.

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Woodchip price in Australia through the roof thanks to Asian demand

By Matt Brann and Hugh Hogan
ABC News, Australia
July 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Australia’s largest processor and exporter of woodfibre, Midway Limited, which has recently acquired a logging and haul business in Western Australia, expects demand will continue to grow and has been steadily investing in forestry projects around the nation, including in the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory. Midway’s managing director Tony Price said it was a good time to be in woodchips. “Over the last couple of years we’ve enjoyed a couple of significant price increases, with the current price for Tasmanian blue gum [woodchip] in the order of US$182 (AUD$260) per bone-dry tonne and that’s the highest it’s ever been,” Mr Price said. …Mr Price said demand from China had now exceeded Japan, and some mills in Indonesia were emerging as valued customers as well.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

The Future of Mass Timber

By Tyler Freres, VP sales, Freres Lumber Co.,
Building-Products
July 8, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The U.S. mass timber industry is an emerging market with many years of growth ahead. Architects, engineers and developers are astounded by pictures of beautiful soaring mass timber buildings with custom glulam beams, extraordinary spans, and dramatic large format panels. These structures display the versatility and intrinsic beauty of wood structures and the true potential to upend classical construction of concrete and steel. As more of these mass timber structures are completed, we not only enjoy the natural beauty and warmth of wood structures, but we also are reminded of the exceptional environmental benefits of wood construction. Wood is 100% solar powered, 100% renewable, and 100% recyclable. Modern forest management, requiring that forests remain as forests for the future, renews the health of our forests, and gives us the ability to store carbon in a beneficial cycle in our structures.

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Forestry

Fewer trees in Alberta Rockies could mean more manageable wildfires, researcher says

By Kashmala Fida
The Toronto Star
July 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — Forest fires in Alberta’s southern Rockies would be much more manageable if the landscape looked like it used to more than a century ago, research suggests. As part of his 2016 PhD dissertation at the University of Alberta, Chris Stockdale, now a research and extension scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, looked at how forest fires have burned through southern Alberta Rockies from Bow Valley all the way to the border with the United States.Using simulation technology, he looked at how fires burned through the current landscape filled with coniferous trees, as well as what the landscape looked like a hundred years ago, which was mostly grasslands with a small mix of coniferous and deciduous trees. While the number of fires that hit the area did not change between the early 20th century and early 21st century, the severity of the fires did.

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Blowdown salvage operations underway on North Cowichan mountains

BC Local News
July 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Municipality of North Cowichan has awarded a contract to Integrated Operations Group Inc. to salvage blowdown on Stoney Hill and Mount Tzouhalem. A press release from the municipality said that as with all blowdown salvage areas, contractors are asked to remove damaged timber only, and all undamaged timber will be left standing as long as there are no safety risks by doing so. “Blowdown salvage harvesting [was] anticipated to begin on Stoney Hill the week of June 24, but there is a possibility of delays given the fire hazard rating for the area,” the release said. “North Cowichan adheres to the provincial guidelines for harvesting during hot, dry weather and harvesting activities will be postponed if necessary depending on the weather.” 

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Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia announce Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund projects

By Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
Cision Newswire
July 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Healthy wild fish stocks are vital to the economic prosperity and social fabric of British Columbia’s coastal communities. Wild Pacific salmon, in particular, are intrinsically linked to the identity of British Columbians and are fundamental to the culture of many Indigenous communities. Over the past several years we have seen declines in key Pacific salmon stocks, which have important consequences for our environment and our economy. Together, the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia are taking action to protect and restore fish habitat and wild fish stocks. Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and British Columbia’s Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Lana Popham, announced that twenty-three project proposals under the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) have been approved in principle during the first round of intake.

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Plans to save threatened B.C. caribou on hold as NDP mends fences

By Dirk Meissner
Canadian Press in CBC News
July 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Premier John Horgan’s New Democrats continue to face widespread criticism in northeast British Columbia over the government’s attempts to introduce plans to save threatened caribou herds. Political friends and foes say deep concerns remain about plans to save jobs and the caribou, calling last month’s introduction of an interim moratorium on new resource development a fence-mending stalling tactic. Indigenous leaders said they have become the scapegoats of the government’s failure to inform the public about last spring’s caribou recovery plan. “They negotiated the agreement with Canada and then when they were done negotiating they came out and dropped the bomb on the public,” said Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nations, one of two Indigenous groups included in the original caribou draft partnership agreement.

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Let’s log to improve the forest instead of destroying it

By Gerry Warner
East Kootenay News Weekly e-know
July 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Gerry Warner

Was it all just a lie? It’s hard to avoid thinking that when you consider all the sawmill closures that have taken place in the province this year. And more to come. The “lie,” of course, is that logging in B.C. is done on a sustainable basis. Don’t believe that for a second. …Okay, before you accuse me of being a bleeding-heart environmentalist or a forest “greenie,” let me say a few things. I have worked in the forest industry. …So, what’s the alternative? I can tell you right now it’s not to stop logging. The alternative is to log smart. We’re not logging smart now and for that I blame professional foresters who have succumbed to the siren call of industry to log to make as much profit as possible. …We should be farming the forest instead of mining it which is what we currently do.

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B.C. VIEWS: Killing B.C. industries won’t save the caribou

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
July 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. NDP government has imposed a two-year moratorium on new mining and forest work in large areas of forest land in northern B.C., after a bumbling effort to shut down existing industry and comply with a federal order to protect endangered caribou herds. It’s a cruelly mistimed blow to B.C.’s struggling forest industry, and has implications for caribou zones down the Rocky Mountains to the Kootenays. The federal Liberals want to impress their urban environmentalist supporters going into a fall election, and Premier John Horgan appears to be trying to use the caribou crisis to further his aggressive transfer of provincial timber to Indigenous communities. The initial B.C. proposal, worked out in secret with two selected Indigenous groups, created such a wave of public concern that Horgan put it on hold this spring and called on former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister Blair Lekstrom to advise his forests minister, Doug Donaldson.

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Provinces must act on species protection: report

By Andrea Gunn
The Western Star
July 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

OTTAWA, Ont. — Provincial governments are failing to protect species at risk, according to a new federal report. As part of the federal government’s 2018 commitment to track and report on critical habitat protection for terrestrial species at risk, the Department of Environment and Climate Change released its initial report last week, the first of a series of twice-yearly reports examining species at risk. The assessment reviews the provincial and territorial laws across the country, affecting the habitat of more than 200 threatened or endangered plants and animal species, including moss, flowers, turtles, snakes, mammals and more. “What we see today is that there are still big gaping holes across the country when it comes to protecting the homes of our species at risk,” said Florence Daviet, national forest program director at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS).

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Emerald ash borer confirmed in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli and expansion of the regulated area in Quebec

By Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Government of Canada
July 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of emerald ash borer (EAB) in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec. This finding is outside of the current regulated areas for EAB in Canada. After assessing the situation and evaluating the risk of EAB spreading to the adjacent territories, CFIA decided to expand the regulated area in Quebec to include the regional county municipalities of Montmagny, L’Islet and Kamouraska. Effective immediately, the movement of ash materials, including logs, branches and woodchips, and all species of firewood out of the regulated areas is restricted.  If individuals or businesses, such as nurseries, sawmills, forest companies, firewood facilities and municipalities need to do so, they must first contact their local CFIA office to request written authorization.

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Trees that traveled to space now live on Earth. Here’s where to find them.

By Catherine Zuckerman
National Geographic
July 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Since 1977, a stately sycamore has greeted visitors to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. It looks like any other sycamore, one tree among many on the quiet, leafy campus in suburban Maryland.But what many passersby may not realize as they stand under its dappled shade or admire its changing foliage is that this tree came from the moon.The Goddard sycamore is one of the dozens of so-called “moon trees” scattered around the country, grown from seeds that traveled with astronaut Stuart Roosa on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. Roosa was the command module pilot, which means that he remained in lunar orbit while commander Alan Shephard and lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell visited the surface of the moon. During that time, Roosa had hundreds of seeds tucked inside his personal kit.

 

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Idaho elk research examines habitat as prelude to projects

By Eric Barker
Billings Gazette
July 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A multiyear research project aiming to measure the quality of elk habitat across the vast Clearwater region in Idaho is in its final stages. The effort funded by the Clearwater Basin Collaborative and other partners, including the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, began in 2014 and is expected to produce detailed models of the quality of elk forage in several different locations and give both land and game managers a better idea of what can be done to improve habitat for the animals. “The end goal is to have a really highly usable habitat model that land management agencies, mostly the Forest Service, can utilize to help focus and guide habitat activities, where we can really hope to get the biggest bang for the buck based on some of this habitat information,” said Jerome Hansen, of Lewiston, a retired Idaho Fish and Game manager and member of the collaborative.

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U.S. Forest Service hopes new minimum rates can help clear forests

By Scott Buffon
Arizona Daily Sun
July 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service in Washington D.C. changed its national policy on the price of selling Forest Service timber in a way they hope will help forestry projects clear cut timber off of its thinning areas. Across the country, Forest Service officials are now able to sell bundles of logs for a new minimum price that applies to trees regardless of its diameter — 25 cents per CCF. As 5 CCFs can fill a log truck, the new metric means a truck could be carrying a load worth only about $1.25 in areas with low-value lumber. John Crockett, Deputy Director of Forest Management, Range Management and Ecology at the Forest Service in Washington D.C., expects the change will not impact areas where trees are sold at high value, and will only help areas that are struggling to remove unhealthy swaths of trees. 

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Study finds old growth forests burn slower and cooler, preserving habitat

By Kelley Lincoln
Redheaded Blackbelt
July 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

New findings show that old-growth forests, a critical nesting habitat for threatened northern spotted owls, are less likely to experience high-severity fire than young-growth forests during wildfires. This suggests that old-growth forest could be leveraged to provide valuable fire refuges that support forest biodiversity and buffer the extreme effects of climate change on fire regimes in the Pacific Northwest. A recent study published in the journal Ecosphere examined the impact of the Douglas Complex and Big Windy fires that burned in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of Oregon during July 2013, a drought year. The fires burned through a long-term study area for northern spotted owls. Using information on forest vegetation before and after the fires, along with known spotted owl nesting areas, researchers had an unprecedented chance to compare the impact of wildfire on critical old-growth nesting habitat.

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High intensity fires can devastate mountain streams

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
July 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

…Well, turns out in the era of megafires and monsoon floods, you can add step pools to the endangered species list in the mountainous drainages of Rim Country and the White Mountains. This conclusion comes from a study published in the peer-reviewed journal of the Geological Society of America. The researchers did an intensive study of the impact of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado on the drainages of the Pike National Forest. The study has implications for the White Mountains and Rim Country, which not only have more streams and lakes than almost anywhere in the Southwest — but also contain the watershed that sustains Phoenix — the fifth largest city in the nation. The researches discovered that high-intensity crown fires like the Rodeo-Chediski, the Wallow and other recent megafires in Arizona have a very different impact on streams than the low-intensity, mostly ground fires to which the forest is adapted.

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World Wildlife Fund warns on “super fires” afflicting Europe and calls for forestry management

The MercoPress
July 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Global conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned on Thursday of the risks from new faster-spreading “super fires” in the wake of heat waves and droughts that have been afflicting Europe in what many see as a symptom of climate change. Although the Mediterranean is the area most affected by wildfires, traditionally wetter northern European countries have recently also struggled with huge forest blazes. …“The current policy regarding fighting wildfires, which is based exclusively on a system of extinguishment, is obsolete and inefficient in fighting a new kind of ‘super fires’,” said the report. It called for more prevention measures, including better forestry management. …At least 13 people have died in Europe’s most recent heat wave, with many countries such as France surpassing their highest ever recorded temperatures. Over 1,400 European wildfires have already been reported in 2019.

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The wrong kind of trees: Ireland’s afforestation meets resistance

By Rory Carroll
The Guardian
July 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Ireland is ramping up its response to the climate crisis by planting forests – lots of forests. East, west, north, south, the plan is to plant forests, the more the better. With enough trees, goes the hope, Ireland can compensate for many of the cows, vehicles and fossil-burning power plants that make it one of Europe’s worst climate offenders. From having just 1% forest cover in 1900, Ireland now has 11%, covering 770,000 hectares. It has just committed to planting 8,000 more hectares each year to reach 18% coverage. … But some in Ireland have a problem with the great green vision. They say Ireland is planting the wrong sort of forests – dark, dank abominations that kill wildlife, block sunlight and isolate communities. “It’s like a wall around you, dead, darkness. It’s suffocating. We’re losing the landscape,” said Edwina Guckian, a member of Save Leitrim, a group that is resisting plantations.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

French oil giant to invest $136m yearly to preserve forests

The Associated Free Press in The New Paper
July 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE — The head of French energy giant Total announced on Saturday that the company would invest US$100 million annually on a new forest preservation and reforestation project. “We want to set up a business unit to invest in projects that will preserve forests,” chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told a meeting. “The most effective way today to eliminate carbon, for less than US$10 a tonne, is reforestation,” he said. “This is not philanthropy,” he added. “It is about investing in the medium- and long-term. …Mr Pouyanne was speaking just days after Total said it had begun producing biofuel at a refinery in southern France, a project that has sparked an outcry from environmentalists and farmers over its plans to import palm oil.

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Forest Fires

Manitoba Red Cross evacuating residents from 2 First Nations due to wildfire smoke

By Austin Siragusa
Global News
July 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Canadian Red Cross is assisting in the evacuation of residents from Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nations due to wildfire smoke in the communities. In a statement, the Red Cross says it will be evacuating “Priority 1” residents, which include the elderly, babies and those with chronic respiratory problems. A maximum of 150 residents from Little Grand Rapids should be completely evacuated by the end of Sunday, while up to 50 residents will be evacuated from Pauingassi First Nation, the agency says. Evacuated residents are being sent to Winnipeg and will be provided shelter in hotels. Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for a portion of southeastern Manitoba, including Winnipeg, due to smoky conditions caused by forest fires.

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Pikangikum First Nation faces second wildfire evacuation in just over a month

Canadian Press in National Post
July 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

PIKANGIKUM, Ont. — For the second time in just over a month, residents of Pikangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario are being asked to evacuate due to smoke from nearby wildfires. Officials in the remote community say vulnerable residents, including the elderly, pregnant women and those with respiratory problems are being flown out, along with their immediate families. In a series of Facebook posts on Saturday, Chief Amanda Sainnawap said two planes were available at the local airport to move the most vulnerable. This is the second time this year that Pikangikum residents have had to evacuate due to nearby wildfires. More than 2,000 community members were forced from their homes in late May and early June, with many only returning a few weeks ago.

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Wildfire Smoke Impacting Northwestern Ontario

Net News Ledger
July 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Across Northwestern Ontario, smoke from wildfires is impacting the region. The smoke from fires in the Red Lake District are drifting across the province. There are air quality alerts in effect for the Kenora region, Red Lake, Sandy Lake, Pikangikum, Ear Falls, Pickle Lake, Sioux Lookout and down into Thunder Bay. For Thunder Bay, while Environment Canada is calling for a high under sunny skies of 25c for Sunday, it was 9c at 8:45 am. The smoke in the air has the sun mainly hidden. …High levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest fires will continue today. Smoke plumes are moving over the region from several forest fires located in the Sandy Lake – Pikangikum region.

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Forest fire near Keewaywin First Nation in northern Ontario continues to grow but officials hope to limit spread

Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
July 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Provincial officials say the forest fire heading towards Keewaywin First Nation in northwestern Ontario continues to grow. The province’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says the fire, dubbed Red Lake 23, has grown more than 100 square kilometres since Friday to a current size of 719 square kilometres. It’s currently burning just eight kilometres south of the remote Indigenous community. Meantime, fire crews are trying to limit the spread of the blaze, and officials were expecting light winds to blow the fire east away from the community. Half of Keewaywin’s roughly 450 residents were flown out to Timmins, Ont., on Friday, according to former chief Joe Meekis.

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