Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 1, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

More curtailments, sorry Q2s and finger pointing

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 1, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The Sinclair Group is curtailing lumber operations for two-weeks at three BC sawmills. In related news: the BC Liberals and NDP blame each other for inaction while foresters say it’s time to redefine our priorities. Meanwhile; the ‘hot edict’ against Western Forest Products is upheld; disappointing Q2 results from Domtar, Resolute, Norbord and PotlatchDeltic, and Rayonier sells its Matane, Quebec pulp mill to Sappi. 

In other news: Trump offers Putin help as Russian forests burn out of control; California governor defends wildfire efforts; unhealthy smoke is expected in Oregon; and California adopts a new wildfire smoke rule.

Finally, the Smokey Mountains resist change as the Amazon reaches tipping point.

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

Rayonier Advanced Materials Announces Sale of Matane, Quebec Pulp Mill

By Rayonier Advanced Materials
Business Wire
August 1, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–Rayonier Advanced Materials announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Matane, Quebec pulp mill and related assets to Sappi Limited, a global diversified wood fiber company, for US$175 million. The mill produces approximately 270,000 metric tons of high-yield pulp and sells the product globally for use in manufacturing paperboard, packaging, printing, and writing paper. The Matane mill was acquired by the Company as part of its acquisition of Tembec Inc. in November of 2017. The Company will continue to manufacture and sell approximately 240,000 metric tons per year of high-yield pulp out of its Témiscaming facility. …The Matane transaction… is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

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BC Liberals failed to act on “entirely predictable” threats to forestry industry, report shows

By Rattan Mall
The Indo-Canadian Voice
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

New information shows that Andrew Wilkinson and the BC Liberals were warned in 2015 of major challenges ahead for the forest industry but refused to take action, the NDP said on Wednesday. A 2015 report submitted to the former BC Liberal government “pinpointed the looming problems and accurately predicted the terrible result,” according to journalist Keith Baldrey. …“BC’s forestry workers have lived with threats hanging over their jobs for a long time now,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests. “If the BC Liberals had taken action four years ago, forestry communities would be much further ahead today.” …The NDP said their government has already acted. …The NDP said these are the first steps towards a new vision for the forestry sector that creates good-paying jobs for its workers and supports communities for generations to come.  

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B.C.’s resource industry is in chaos

Letter by Elvena Slump
The Penticton Western News
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Elvena Slump

Sawmills across BC are closing as thousands of resource workers lose their jobs. Yet in the recent NAFTA 2 negotiations… Softwood was so far off the radar screen it… despite its devastating effects on BC workers. …Until Trump, the conflict would go before the WTO, which subsequently ruled in Canada’s favour. …Currently, the WTO is hamstrung with two empty seats which need to be filled by U.S. appointments. …For the past decade, foreign money has poured into B.C. fueling unrest in our resource industry. Money is power and a good example of that is the stranglehold environmentalists have put on the resource industry. …These militants are apparently indifferent to the terrible damage they are inflicting on our economy. The U.S. has still not ratified CUSMA. Canadians should hope CUSMA fails. We need to start over.

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Hardwoods Appoints Rob Taylor to Board of Directors

By Hardwoods Distribution Inc.
Cision Newswire
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

LANGLEY, BC – Hardwoods Distribution Inc. today announced that Rob Taylor, President of Sonepar North America, has been appointed to the Company’s board of directors effective July 31st, 2019.  Lawrence Sauder, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Company, commented, “We are very pleased to be adding Rob to the Board. Rob’s well-rounded expertise in leading scale distribution companies in both Canadian and U.S. markets will be very valuable to the Board as the Company continues its growth trajectory.” Mr. Taylor has over 30 years of experience in leading public and private growth-oriented companies. …HDI is North America’s largest distributor of sheet goods, high-grade hardwood lumber, architectural millwork and architectural grade building products to the residential and commercial construction markets. 

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Sinclair Group announces temporary curtailment for sawmills

By Aman Parhar
The Terrace Standard
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

In another hit to the B.C. forest industry, the Sinclair Group announced temporary production curtailments at lumber operations in Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Prince George. Sinclair Group will curtail its sawmill operations for two weeks at Lakeland Mills in Prince George, Nechako Lumber in Vanderhoof and Apollo Forest Products in Fort St. James for two weeks, effective August 19th. Sinclar Group president Greg Stewart said, “As a long-standing, family-run company, rooted and operating in North-Central B.C., the decision we’ve had to make today was not an easy one. We’ve deferred the decision as long as possible, due to our commitment to our employees and communities.” …Premium Pellet in Vanderhoof which is also run by the Group will not be affected by the curtailment.

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Forest minister needs to act before it’s too late: BC Liberals

By Rattan Mall
The Indo-Canadian Voice
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

KELOWNA, BC — Following yet another mill shut down announced on Tuesday at Tolko’s Kelowna operation, BC Liberal Forestry Critic and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad is calling on NDP Forests Minister Doug Donaldson to act quickly before more temporary mill closures become permanent. “So far this year there have been five mills closed… without any tangible response from the provincial government,” said Rustad. “Unless John Horgan and the NDP act quickly we could be seeing many of these temporary curtailments become permanent closures.” On Tuesday, Tolko announced the mill in Kelowna will be closing for almost six weeks. This move comes after an announcement in May that the company was eliminating a full shift at the mill affecting 90 workers. 

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‘Hot edict’ upheld in B.C. forestry strike: Labour Relations Board

By Alex McKeen
The Toronto Star
July 31, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER—BC’s striking forestry workers like it hot. That is, they like a Labour Relations Board decision allowing them to continue tagging company logs as “hot” so union members can refuse to handle them, which prevents them from getting to market. On Monday, the provincial labour board decided workers could continue marking logs with signs or spray paint after Western Forest Products argued it stepped outside the bounds of what’s allowed during a strike. But the board also ruled that union members can’t tag logs on third-party property, which will help the company avoid the worst effects of the rare labour action. …Striking workers have been affixing the words “hot” on various company products, most notably log booms located near Duke Point in Nanaimo.

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Finance & Economics

Domtar’s paper business falls short of expectations

August 1, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Domtar reported net earnings of $18 million for the second quarter of 2019 compared to net earnings of $80 million for the first quarter of 2019 and net earnings of $43 million for the second quarter of 2018. Sales for the second quarter of 2019 were $1.3 billion.

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Resolute Forest Products reports Q2 profit

By Resolute Forest Products
Cision Newswire
August 1, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Resolute Forest Products reported second-quarter profit of $25 million, compared to $72 million in the same period in 2018. Sales were $755 million in the quarter, a decrease of $221 million from the year-ago period. “This results were most affected by lower pricing in all of our business segments, with the notable exception of tissue,” said Yves Laflamme.

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Fed Cuts Interest Rates For 1st Time Since 2008

By Scott Horsley
National Public Radio
July 31, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States

The Federal Reserve is cutting interest rates for the first time in over a decade — a preemptive move aimed at extending the already record-long economic expansion. The Fed lowered its target for the key federal funds rate by a quarter percentage point. …Chairman Jerome Powell… described the rate cut as an insurance policy against potential speed bumps for the economy, including rising trade tensions and a slowdown in global growth. …left the door open to additional cuts if economic conditions warrant.

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PotlatchDeltic lumber profits plummet 63 percent

By Robert Dalheim
Woodworking Network
July 31, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States, US West
SPOKANE, Wash. – Despite selling 1,800 acres of forestry for $20 million, the recently-formed lumber giant PotlatchDeltic Corp. reported that its second-quarter profits are down 63 percent from the same time last year. The company reported net income of $17.1 million for the priod ending June 30, compared to $46.1 million last year. Revenue fell close to 20 percent. …Potlatch and Deltic Timber Corp. merged early last year, forming a wood products and forestry behemoth.

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Norbord reports negative earnings in Q2

August 1, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics

Norbord Inc. reported Adjusted EBITDA of $36 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to $42 million in the first quarter of 2019 and $273 million in the second quarter of 2018. The decrease versus both comparative periods was primarily due to lower North American OSB prices. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Speakers selected for TEDxUNBC

Alaska Highway News
August 1, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A variety of entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, and a performing artist will take to the stage when TEDxUNBC is held this fall at the University of Northern British Columbia. Set for October 5 at Canfor Theatre in Prince George, it will feature 10 speakers, including: Dr. Guido Wimmers is an associate professor and chair of the master of engineering program in integrated wood design at UNBC. In 2018, he was pivotal for the construction of the Wood Innovation Research Laboratory, a certified Passive House in a harsh climate, which became the most airtight building in North America. James Steidle, owner of Steidle Woodworking where he focuses on using local woods, particularly aspen, and mills up the lumber himself. 

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Directors wrestle with wood pileup at landfill

By Sophie Woodrooffe
Sunshine Coast Reporter
July 31, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

So much lumber is accumulating at the Sechelt dump and Pender Harbour Transfer Station that they are running out of room, forcing the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to find a quick, interim fix. …In May the SCRD board awarded a contract, worth approximately $500,000, to Salish Soils. But the new service won’t start until October… Rather than landfilling it, the Salish Soils will grind it into wood chips and sell it to places such as Howe Sound Pulp and Paper. …Adding to the problem is a 21 per cent increase in the amount of wood waste accumulated this year. …By the time the contract is set to start, staff estimate 1,556 tonnes of wood will have accumulated – more than what’s in the contract with Salish Soils. …Directors voted unanimously to post a request for proposals for interim wood waste processing.

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Katerra factory delivers to Catalyst

By Virginia Thomas
Spokane Journal of Business
August 1, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Katerra Inc.’s Spokane Valley cross-laminated timber manufacturing facility has not yet been fully completed, but the Menlo Park, Calif.-based construction, design, and manufacturing company has already delivered its first order in Spokane after two of its cross-laminated timber products passed product testing early last month. Meantime, the company also plans to move its Spokane offices to the north side of the Spokane River from its current downtown location. Katerra’s 270,000-square-foot Valley manufacturing facility is dedicated solely to the manufacturing of CLT, a wood panel consisting of several layers of wood glued together at 90-degree angles to form sturdy structural panels. “We continue to complete commissioning of the facility while concurrently beginning limited production,” Katerra spokeswoman JZ Rigney says. More than 500 panels will be used to create the building’s floors, Rigney says.

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Forestry

Don’t endorse Summit Lake park for western toad

BC Local News
July 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Nakusp’s community-owned forestry company has asked the Village of Nakusp not to endorse the idea of a new park at Summit Lake to protect western toads. …“Special interest groups are currently lobbying government to create a park overlying NACFOR’s Summit Lake operating area,” a letter states. …“It may in fact make the issues more difficult to study and very likely much more difficult for needed research to be funded.” NACFOR says it has worked carefully not to impact the toad’s habitat since it began work in 2013. …The company also pointed out that the real problems for the toad are loss of habitat through the development of private land in the area, recreational use of breeding habitats, and the highway corridor.

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Seeing more, seeing faster with Comfor drone

By Blair McBride
BC Local News
July 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Frank Varga

The Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF)’s use of drone technology has significantly enhanced its ability to map out and see what’s in the forests. The community forest has been using its DJI Phantom 4 drone, which costs about $3,500 retail since 2014 for assessments after harvesting, as Frank Varga, BLCF General Manager told Lakes District News. “We will do an assessment post-harvest to see road location, built vs proposed, site deg, wildfire tree retention area [to look for] blowdown, composition, number of burn piles, etc,” he said. The low-flying unit is also used for determining site plan values and auditing harvest operations and landscapes. …The faster viewing capabilities of drones are a major time saver, as Varga explained. …To do the same work with a traditional crew on the ground using a truck, quad and GPS mapping, the BLCF would have to pay $750-$1,000 per day.

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Burns Lake hosts Forest Sector Renewal session

BC Local News
July 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A meeting on the Interior Forest Sector Renewal initiative was held in Burns Lake on July 25, the first such session scheduled for the Bulkley-Nechako region. …Brent May, Nadina District Manager with the Ministry of Forests (FLNRORD) opened the meeting… About 30 people attended, including Burns Lake mayor Dolores Funk, Granisle mayor Linda McGuire, and other representatives from forestry, local government and some First Nations. A PowerPoint video was played which featured content from Doug Donaldson, FLNRORD Minister, and Mike Pedersen, Executive Director of Engagement of Interior Forest Sector Renewal. …At the end of the session, Mayor Funk said the event brought out people who have a deep knowledge of forestry, but it didn’t bring out enough people. “I was disappointed at the people not invited. All six [local] First Nations weren’t here. I didn’t even get an invitation. The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako didn’t get an official invitation. 

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Time to redefine priorities for B.C.’s forests

By Christine Gelowitz, Association of BC Forest Professionals
The Vancouver Sun
July 31, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Are we facing a turning point in how we think about and value B.C.’s forests? In recent years, B.C. forests have been ravaged by pine and spruce beetle, two years of significant wildfires… It’s against this backdrop that the B.C. government… conducted public consultations on the Forest and Range Practices Act. …The act has been criticized by a variety of groups. …Put simply, forest professionals are trying to balance legal (government-required) and non-legal (locally-desired) priorities that often conflict with each other. Finding “win-win” solutions for objectives that are completely at odds is almost impossible and leaves everyone unhappy. Clearly, it is time to review and update the Forest and Range Practices Act to clarify how regional communities, Aboriginal peoples, and other special interests want to use and manage the forest today. …Forest professionals are passionate about B.C.’s forests. …In order to properly care for our forests, we need clarity on what British Columbians expect from their forests and where priorities lie.

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California governor defends wildfire efforts, jabs at feds

By Don Thompson
Associated Press in The Helene Independent Record
August 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Gavin Newsom

COLFAX, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom defended California’s wildfire prevention efforts Wednesday while criticizing the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state as it enters the height of fire season after two deadly, disastrous years. His jab at Republican President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized California’s Democratic leaders for poor forest management, comes a day after Newsom signed a law requiring Trump and other presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns in order to appear on the state’s primary ballot. Newsom said 33 of 35 high-priority forest-thinning projects are on pace to be completed on schedule by year’s end after he eased environmental laws to speed permits. They are designed to slow the spread of devastating wildfires near more than 200 communities in fire-prone areas by removing brush and smaller trees.

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The Amazon is approaching an irreversible tipping point

By Nova Xavantina and Santarem
The Economist
August 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The amazon basin… contains 40% of the world’s tropical forests and accounts for 10-15% of the biodiversity of Earth’s continents. Since the 1970s nearly 800,000km² of Brazil’s… Amazon forest has been lost to logging, farming, mining, roads, dams and other forms of development. …Over the same period, the average temperature in the basin has risen by about 0.6°C. This century, the region has suffered a series of severe droughts. …In an influential paper in 2007 Gilvan Sampaio and Carlos Nobre of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research forecast that, were 40% of the forest to perish, the loss of water-recycling capacity would mean very little of the rest would have enough rainfall to survive.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

The Great Smoky Mountains’ iconic clouds are helping to protect the region from climate change – for now

By Booke Bauman
Yale Climate Connections
July 31, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

…The iconic clouds in the park – on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee – are as important to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as glaciers are to Glacier National Park. …The haze is more than a sight to see: High rainfall totals and summertime humidity foster plant growth, making the region a biodiversity hotspot. …Moisture from the haze may also be protecting the ecosystem from the changing climate. But as the climate continues to warm, the nature of the Smokies’ cloud cover may change. …Ana Barros, a professor at Duke University, said rising temperatures could, in theory, decrease cloud cover, threatening key habitats. …And Jason Fridley, a biologist at Syracuse University, warned that if the region sees a decline in precipitation on mountain peaks, “that might be catastrophic.”

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Health & Safety

Wildfires prompt adoption of rule protecting California workers from smoky air

By Guy Kovner
North Bay Business Journal
July 31, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Air tainted by so much wildfire smoke that it’s declared unhealthy to breath will require employers to take action to protect workers under an emergency state regulation rushed into effect Monday. The new rules give employers three choices: relocate workers to an area with cleaner air; move them into enclosed buildings or vehicles; or provide them with respirators, such as the N95 masks popular last year, for voluntary use. “We want to make sure we have protections in place for the wildfire season,” said Erica Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Industrial Relations, noting that new work safety rules often take a year or more to establish. …adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, the rule came in response to a petition submitted by labor advocates who said California’s catastrophic wildfires in 2018 “demonstrate the need for protection for workers” whose jobs expose them to unhealthy air.

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More smoke expected in Southern Oregon this week, even with progress on wildfires

By Zack Urness
The Statesman Journal
July 31, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Fire teams are making progress on two wildfires burning in southwest Oregon, but unhealthy air caused by the smoke is expected to linger through the rest of the week. The Milepost 97 Fire near Canyonville and the Panther Gulch Fire near Williams are both funneling smoke into Rogue Valley cities from Grants Pass to Ashland, keeping air quality degraded on a consistent basis. Smoke forecasts suggest air quality will linger between moderate and “unhealthy for sensitive groups” in the Rogue Valley through Thursday, with the worst times of day coming in the late afternoon and evening.  “We’re expecting this pattern to continue through the week,” said Connie Clarstrom, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford.

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Forest Fires

Trump offers Putin help with Siberian wildfires: Kremlin

Reuters in CNBC
August 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States

U.S. President Donald Trump offered his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin help in putting out vast wildfires that are raging in Siberia, the Kremlin said late on Wednesday, a move it said Putin took as a sign that battered ties can be restored. The Kremlin said the two leaders had spoken by phone at Washington’s initiative, hours after Putin ordered the Russian army to help firefighters battle the wildfires. The fires have spread to around 3 million hectares of mostly remote forest… wafting smoke across Siberia and prompting several regions to declare states of emergency. “The U.S. president offered Russia cooperation in fighting forest fires in Siberia,” the Kremlin statement said. “President Putin expressed his sincere gratitude for such an attentive attitude and for the offer of help and support.” …The White House confirmed the two men had spoken by phone and said they had discussed the wildfires as well as trade between their two nations.

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Gained ground, more smoke at Milepost 97

By Ryan Pfeil and Nick Morgan
Mail Tribune
July 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Crews battling the Milepost 97 fire in Douglas County are making headway against the blaze, but gaining the upper hand will add more smoke to the Rogue Valley’s forecasts. As fire crews began an offensive attack on the blaze burning near Canyonville Wednesday afternoon with a burnout operation, local meteorologists and public health officials warn of continued smoke in the Rogue Valley for at least the remainder of the week. The National Weather Service office in Medford says the greatest smoke impacts — consisting of diminished air quality and visibility — will be along the Interstate 5 corridor between Canyonville to Grants Pass, with other areas impacted including the Rogue Valley from Grants Pass to Ashland and the Applegate and Illinois valleys into northern California. For the remainder of the week, officials recommend keeping windows closed, keeping inside air as clean as possible and avoiding vigorous outdoor activities.

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Crews pounce on Applegate wildfire

By Ryan Pfeil and Nick Morgan
Mail Tribune
July 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A wildfire that flared up in the Applegate Valley near Williams Tuesday evening grew to more than five dozen acres as of Wednesday afternoon. The Panther Gulch Fire is estimated at 70 acres and 15% contained, according to ODF Southwest Oregon reports, which add that crews have managed to get a line around the entire fire. The wildfire was first reported just before 6 p.m. Tuesday, when a large plume of smoke was spotted just above Panther Gulch Road, according to ODF spokeswoman Natalie Weber. Crews from ODF, Applegate Valley Fire District and Williams Fire Rescue were called out to the scene, sending four helicopters, five single-engine air tankers, two large air tankers and an attack plane to battle the fire until sunset.

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Russian Forest Fires Burn Out of Control

The Associated Press in the Courthouse News
August 1, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MOSCOW — Russia has sent army soldiers to help fight forest fires that have burned nearly 12,000 square miles in Siberia and the Far East — an area the size of Belgium. Russian officials said Thursday that the fires have spread to remote areas of Siberia that firefighters cannot reach. Avialesookhrana, Russia’s aerial forest protection service, said Thursday more than 30,000 square kilometers are on fire, with the vast majority in areas that are hard to reach and where potential damage is likely to be less than the cost of fighting them. Although the fires have not hit populated areas, heavy smoke from them is affecting about 800 communities, officials said, including the large cities of Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk and Chita.

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Russian military called in to fight Siberian forest fires

By Jim Heintz
Associated Press in The Times and Democrat
July 31, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

MOSCOW — The Russian military on Wednesday joined efforts to fight forest fires that have engulfed nearly 30,000 square kilometers (11,580 sq. miles) of territory in Siberia and the Russian Far East — an area the size of Belgium. The move, which includes sending military transport planes and helicopters that can drop water on fires, came after an order from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian authorities have declared a state of emergency in five areas, including all of the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, which lie north of Mongolia. Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region, which stretches all the way to the Kara Sea and the Arctic Ocean, can be seen blanketed in smoke by satellite photos from NASA and Europe’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. …Late Wednesday, the White House issued a statement saying President Donald Trump had spoken with Putin earlier in the day and “expressed concern over the vast wildfires afflicting Siberia.”

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