Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 14, 2019

Today’s Takeaway

Dept. of Commerce must rethink its ruling on shakes and shingles

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 14, 2019
Category: Today's Takeaway

The US Court of International Trade says the Dept. of Commerce must rethink its conclusion on Canadian cedar shakes and shingles, says determination must consider previous rulings. In related news: BC’s Asia mission seeks market diversification while steering clear of diplomatic concerns. Meanwhile: what’s up with Tolko’s laid-off Kelowna workers; Sappi’s pulp business hurt by US-China war; and JD Irving opens tissue plant in Macon, Georgia.

In other news: BC seeks to increase the use of wood slash; an Ontario firm chips trees for green energy; a Quesnel First Nation secures more woodland tenure; a biomass alternative to plastic receives US funding; and researchers say bamboo’s elegant structure offers energy and fire-safe benefits.

Finally, what’s the impact of the Alaska Roadless Rule proposal on logging, not much both sides say. 

Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

The US Court of International Trade Finds Commerce’s Ruling on Canadian Lumber Unlawful

Law360.com
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. Court of International Trade on Wednesday ordered the U.S. Department of Commerce to rethink its conclusion that certain cedar shakes and shingles made by Canada producers are subject to countermeasure tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports, saying that the determination is unlawful. Judge Jennifer Choe-Groves said that when the Commerce Department makes a determination on Whether an importer’s product is included in the scope of an anti-dumping or countervails duty order, the department must consider previous duty determinations made by Commerce and the US International Trade Commission, as  well as past scope rulings. [a Law360 subscription is required to access the full story]

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Grants given to retrieve salvage wood fibre

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ministry of Forests parliamentary secretary Ravi Kahlon was in Prince George on Wednesday to promote a mixture of new and ongoing projects to make better use of wood fibre that otherwise would have been burned as slash. …Kahlon said nearly $28 million in grants have been distributed to 38 projects through the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC). The FESBC is a provincial Crown agency created in 2016 to administer a program aimed at wildfire risk reduction, reforestation, forest rehabilitation, wildlife habitat restoration and raising awareness of the FireSmart program. Opposition forest critic John Rustad welcomed the news but added funding for the FESBC is running low. “The B.C. Liberals put $235 million into FESBC,” he said. “There is about $5 million left from that initial investment that we made…it’s concerning to see that this government refuses to put additional funding into FESBC.” Without additional funding, FESBC will close its doors in about two years, Rustad said.

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Striking WFP workers ‘hopeful’ as mediation continues

Chek News
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Fresh mediation talks are sparking optimism in the B.C. coast’s forestry communities after a four-and-half-month long strike. “I’m hoping that everything gets sorted out,” said striking Cowichan Bay Western Forest Products worker Murray Shiell. …“It’s feeling a little more promising, that they haven’t stepped away from the table, so hopefully no news is good news. ” said striking Chemainus WFP worker Greg Heyes.On Wednesday, WFP and United Steel Workers Local 1-1937 (USW)  met for a second straight day of mediation in Nanaimo to try and resolve the strike that is draining bank accounts and economic activity fast in coastal communities. …Due to a media blackout, neither side is commenting on the talks that continue.

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B.C. forest industry trade mission to Asia seeks to calm concerns about downturn

Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

VICTORIA — A forest industry trade mission to Asia faces fewer political tensions this year than last December after the arrest of a top Chinese executive, but concerns about supply issues are now on the table, says British Columbia’s forests minister. …The arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last year prompted the minister to postpone his planned participation in a forestry trade mission to China. “Over the past year, time has cooled tensions between the countries on this diplomatic dispute, and so in Shanghai and with our customers and potential clients, the atmosphere was very good,” Donaldson said. …Donaldson said in talks with Japanese investors he emphasized the quality and amount of B.C. timber available despite these natural disasters. …But Donaldson is visiting Asia at a time when the province’s forest industry is struggling as mills are closing and hundreds of people are facing layoffs or plant closures.

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Forestry minister forges ahead in China, steers clear of diplomatic concerns

By Graeme Wood
The Vancouver Courier
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson updated media on his trade mission to Japan and China. …Donaldson said he did not meet with any Chinese government officials on his Shanghai leg of the five-day trip that concludes Friday. Instead, meetings were held with construction businesses and industry representatives — although some of them were Chinese state-owned enterprises. “The focus of discussions was on future and current opportunities and the quality of wood products we’re supplying. There weren’t any political discussions,” said Donaldson, who cancelled a trip to China last December, a week after the RCMP arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. …However, since Donaldson cancelled, China went on to arrest Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. …Donaldson maintained his mission to Shanghai was economic.

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B.C. forest industry trade mission finding new markets in China

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. forest products continue to find a growing market in China as diplomatic tensions with Canada have eased, Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says. Speaking to reporters from Tokyo on Wednesday, Donaldson said his delegation of 35 forest company executives completed their visit to Shanghai with good trade prospects, after attending the Sino-Canadian Wood Forum. High-grade B.C. wood producers are focused on furniture manufacturers as well as the more established Chinese markets of Whistler-style resort construction and wooden infill walls that reduce the country’s massive use of concrete and improve earthquake resilience. …The scale of the Chinese construction and urbanization is so vast that its annual floor space construction is equal to 1.4 times the size of Metro Vancouver each year, Donaldson said. …One of the mission’s goals in Japan this week is exploring further sales of B.C. wood pellets, as the country struggles to replace its nuclear power generation

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Union helping workers hit by Tolko mill closure

By Steve MacNaull
The Kelowna Daily Courier
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Now that the end is here for the Tolko lumber mill in Kelowna, the long process of sorting out severance, job finding, retraining and bridging to retirement begins. …Nothing will happen at the mill between now and the official shuttering date except decommissioning and cleanup. Technically, unionized workers are still on indefinite layoff until the official closure date of Jan. 8 rolls around. That means most of them remain on employment insurance, which provides 55% of average wage to a maximum of $562 a week. Once officially released from Tolko, Jan. 8 severance of two weeks’ pay for every year worked at the company should kick in. …Workers with 30-40 years at Tolko may be able to use the severance as a bridge to retirement. The provincial government’s $69-million forest worker support programs has a retirement bridging component, too, but McGregor said workers have to sacrifice their severance to tap into it.

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Sappi halts dividends as trade wars hurt prices of key pulp

By John Bowker
Bloomberg Business
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

Sappi Ltd. halted dividend payments after the impact of the U.S. trade war with China triggered a collapse in the price of dissolving wood pulp — the South African company’s main product. Depressed prices of the substance used in a range of items … with declines extending into the final quarter of the calendar year, Sappi said in a statement on Thursday. The Johannesburg-based company is the world’s biggest producer of the pulp, with about 16% of the global market. The shares fell as much as 5.4.% to 34.22 rand as of 10:32 a.m. in Johannesburg, and are close to 5 1/2 year lows. …Sappi has invested heavily in the pulp, which it makes in South Africa and North America. …A weaker Chinese textile market, excess capacity of viscose staple fiber and a weaker renminbi exchange rate all helped drive prices to historic lows.

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Irving Tissue Officially Opens $470 Million Tissue Production Plant in Macon, Georgia

By J.D. Irving, Limited
Paper Age
November 14, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Irving Tissue’s newest $470 million tissue plant is officially open in Macon, Georgia and based on a new, additional $400 million investment, will soon double its capacity. The announcement was made at the new plant where Irving Tissue President Robert K. Irving was joined by Georgia Lieutenant-Governor Geoff Duncan, Macon- Bibb-County Mayor Robert Reichert, MCBIA Chairman Robert Fountain Jr. and other dignitaries to celebrate both the official opening of the plant and yet another major investment by Irving Tissue in the community. “It is a great day for Macon, the state of Georgia and Irving Tissue. We’re pleased to be expanding our business in the United States. …Our customers’ enthusiastic support of its state-of-the-art technology has meant that our new plant is already at capacity, so we’re thrilled to announce the second phase of this expansion project,” said Robert K. Irving, President of Irving Tissue. 

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Latvia’s IKTK invests 2 mln euro in glued laminated timber structures plant

By Kristine Stalidzane
The Baltic Times
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Maris Peilans

The Latvian timber building structures producer IKTK has invested about two million euro in large-sized glued laminated timber structures production plant, the company’s representatives told LETA. The company has built a new production plant and acquired high precision timber processing equipment. The modern technologies, including CNC type machines for complicated precision processing of timber components, have already been tested and put into operation. …IKTK manufactures large-scale glued laminated timber beams and cross-laminated timber structures. The plant also produces building components according to custom contracts. Glued laminated timber structures manufactured by IKTK are used in exclusive bridges, buildings and constructions in Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. 

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Boat of Garten sawmill could lose 22 jobs, says owner BSW

BBC News
November 13, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Up to 22 jobs could go at a sawmill in the Cairngorms, its owners have warned. BSW said its site at Boat of Garten had been affected by “very difficult trading conditions” caused by a downturn in sales activity. The company said it expected most staff affected to leave with redundancy pay. Family-owned BSW, which has its headquarters in Earlston in Berwickshire, is one of the UK’s largest forestry businesses. The firm said it was proposing to restructure timber production at Boat of Garten and transfer the majority of some operations to another site. In a statement, BSW said: “This will help to more economically convert production, consequently improving the financial figures at BSW, Boat of Garten. “This may result in potentially reducing the headcount by up to 22 people across the site, most of whom will be by reason of redundancy.

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Finance & Economics

Benchmark softwood lumber prices flat, some specialty items soar

By Keta Kosman
Madison’s Lumber Reporter
November 13, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: Canada, United States

Remaining flat after recent climbs, the price of benchmark lumber commodity Western Spruce-Pine-Fir KD 2×4 #2&Btr stayed flat last week at U.S. $396 mfbm. Last week’s price is +$28, or +8%, more than it was one month ago. Compared to one year ago, when prices were at the beginning of a terrible slide, this price is up +74% or +23%.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

154 rental units pitched on former recycling site

By Carla Wilson
Victoria Times Colonist
November 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A developer is proposing to build a six-storey, wood-framed rental building at the corner of Vancouver and View streets in Victoria. Vancouver-based J. Gordon Enterprises is seeking rezoning permission from city hall to build 154 rental units on the site, once home to a bottle recycling operation. …A key issue is that the site comes with what Mancini describes as significant geological challenges because it is close to the Juan De Fuca fault line. That’s why the plan is to build a partially sunken concrete parkade and a wood-framed building above, resulting in a relatively light-weight construction, he said. That is also why a parking reduction to 41 stalls, from the required 56 is being sought, along with a variance in the rear setback. The goal is to “minimize the excavation depth and associated complicated excavation and shoring requirements,” Mancini said.

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Plastics Alternative Receives $2M Deal, Got Start at Purdue

By Wes Mills
Inside Indiana Business
November 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

WEST LAFAYETTE — One possible solution to the global problem of plastic found in the ocean and the mountains of plastic in landfills may come from a recyclable product developed at Purdue University. California-based Spero Renewables LLC has signed a $2 million agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to advance ‘wood-based’ plastic technology. The SperoSet technology is designed for the manufacture of high-tech plastics produced from fiber-reinforced polymers that are biodegradable. The company, which got its start through the Purdue Research Foundation, utilizes its proprietary technology to unlock the resources of readily available biomass. The goal is to reduce the dependence on oil-based plastics. …Spero’s form of plastic can be easily molded. The company says the material strengthens when heated, provides strong insulation and is also resistant to corrosion and chemicals.

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Visualizing heat flow in bamboo could help design more energy-efficient and fire-safe buildings

By The University of Cambridge
Phys.org
November 13, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Madrid airport bamboo

Modified natural materials will be an essential component of a sustainable future, but first, a detailed understanding of their properties is needed. The way heat flows across bamboo cell walls has been mapped using advanced scanning thermal microscopy, providing a new understanding of how variations in thermal conductivity are linked to the bamboo’s elegant structure. The findings…will guide the development of more energy-efficient and fire-safe buildings, made from natural materials, in the future. …Renewable, plant-based materials such as bamboo have huge potential for sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. …A better understanding of the thermal properties of bamboo provides insights into how to reduce the energy consumption of bamboo buildings. It also enables modelling of the way bamboo building components behave when exposed to fire, so that measures can be incorporated to make bamboo buildings safer.

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Forestry

Over $27 million to help more wood fibre use

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Government of British Columbia
November 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ravi Kahlon

More than $27 million in project grants that will help create jobs throughout British Columbia will also help increase the use of wood fibre that otherwise would have been burned as slash. This was done by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., which distributes the grants, in partnership with the B.C. government and the Government of Canada. …Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Forests… made the announcement at the Pacific BioEnergy plant in Prince George. These projects will employ forestry contractors, some of whom might otherwise be unemployed. In addition, it will help to employ mill workers who produce electricity, wood pellets and pulp at mills that produce these products specifically. As result, more wood waste will be turned into electricity, heat energy and pulp products to help achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets.

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Higher-volume woodlot licence allocated to First Nations in new Quesnel timber sharing agreement

By Lindsay Chung
The Quesnel Cariboo Observer
November 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Chad Stump

A new sharing agreement for the Quesnel Timber Supply Area is giving local government, First Nations and community more of a say in how forests are managed. Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, announced the new sharing agreement, called apportionment. …The apportionment is a vision of how government would like to see the allowable annual cut of a management unit distributed amongst the forms of agreement. It categorizes, by licence type, the breakdown of available volume within the allowable annual cut of a timber supply area that has already been determined by the chief forester or deputy chief forester. …The announcement includes an increase in available First Nations woodland tenure from 42,650 cubic metres to 162,500 cubic metres. …As well, 77,000 cubic metres have been earmarked for new community forest agreement opportunities.

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Campaign announced to help replace trees damaged by post-tropical storm Dorian

Canadian Press in CTV News Atlantic
November 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX — A non-profit organization is mounting a $500,000 funding campaign to help plant trees in municipalities across Atlantic Canada that suffered damage from post-tropical storm Dorian in September. Tree Canada, a national charity, announced the campaign known as OperationReLeaf, today in Halifax. CEO Danielle St-Aubin says once the money is raised, homeowners, private landowners, and institutions who want to plant a tree can apply for grants to help purchase them. St-Aubin stresses the storm damage is still being assessed, and the campaign funding target is an early estimate. The first funding operation by the organization was launched following 1996 floods in Saguenay, Que. Since then, Tree Canada says it has helped plant more than 82 million trees across the country.

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One Man’s Opinion: There Are Good Forest Fires

By Bill Crane
Atlanta’s News and Talk
November 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

With apologies to Smokey the Bear, and my many friends in California, some reading this in darkened homes with no power, there really ARE good forest fires, purposefully set by people, which could have and likely would have saved them this current nightmare. “Controlled or prescribed burnings” are a key forestry and timberland management tool, largely begun and standardized as an industry best practice in the state of Georgia since the 1950s. …So imagine thousands of acre of that tinder, piled up from decades of non-forest management…and you have the makings for massive fires, aided and abetted by the infamous Santa Anna Winds … now annually visiting northern and southern California. …Controlled and prescribed burns fell out of favor in the western states a few decades ago, as these fires do release carbon into the atmosphere, and can add to smog and air pollution. …ONLY YOU California can prevent your own forest fires.

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Fluid dynamics provides insight into wildfire behavior

By American Institute of Physics
Phys.org
November 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

The Kincade Fire has been burning through Sonoma County, California… is a stark reminder of the increasingly pressing need for a better understanding of how fires begin and spread. This is where Rodman Linn and his research come in. He develops and uses computational models of the coupled interaction between the wildfires and surrounding atmosphere at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In the November 2019 issue of Physics Today, Linn describes a few of the many ways that fluid dynamics controls the behavior of fires. It’s incorrect to view wildfires as advancing walls of flame, as they often are conceptualized. The movement and behavior of fires are far more complex. “The buoyancy caused by the energy release of the fire itself interacts with the ambient winds to produce complex patterns of air movement that dictate the fire’s behavior,” said Linn, a senior scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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How would lifting the Roadless Rule change Tongass logging? Not much, both sides say

By Liz Ruskin
Alaska Public Media
November 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration has proposed to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule. That rule is despised by supporters of the Tongass logging industry. But at a U.S. House hearing Wednesday, people for and against the rule agreed that removing the roadless restrictions won’t make much difference for an industry that’s already a shadow of its former self. Joel Jackson of Kake was a logger, back when the industry thrived a few decades ago. He built logging roads. And when they’d logged the last of the stands around his village, Jackson says they realized the damaged they’d done. “We’ve lived with the effects of logging. Full-scale industrial logging. We’ve experienced many different changes to our forests,” Jackson told the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands. Local salmon streams turned silty, he says. Fish and deer became scarce. Jackson, now Kake’s tribal president, doesn’t want the Roadless Rule lifted.

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Missoula County backs 14,000-acre Lolo Trails Landmark acquisition

By Martin Kidston
The Missoula Current
November 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Lolo National Forest and The Trust for Public Land on Wednesday sought renewed support from Missoula County for the acquisition of nearly 15,000 acres near Lolo prized for its habitat, recreation and historic values. Commissioners agreed and signed a letter to Regional Forester Leanne Marten and Lolo Forest Supervisor Carolyn Upton, backing their effort to secure an additional $6 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to complete the purchase. Catherine Schmidt, a field representative for The Trust for Public Land, said the funding would secure the second phase of the Lolo Trails Landmark Project. That phase of the project would acquire roughly 8,500 acres of former industrial timber land from Weyerhaeuser Co., the property’s current owner. The two phases together represent around 14,800 acres.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Indigenous biochar program looks at experimental carbon sequestration methods

By Trevor Hewitt
Interior News
November 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada West

…community group Voices for Good Air (VFGA) was awarded a $100,000 EcoAction Community Funding Program grant by Environment and Climate Change Canada for its ‘Forest Waste to Biochar’ initiative. The initiative focuses on the viability of turning forest waste into biochar, or charcoal made from plant matter, and stored in soil as a potential (but experimental) means of removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration. This includes experiments with the soil additive in agriculture and gardening throughout the region. …On the operational side of things, Chris Howard of Whanau Forestry is general manager of field operations. …While he is excited about the possibility of a future in which biochar has applicable uses in carbon sequestration (while also potentially doubling as things such as fertilizer) Howard stressed the techniques and concept are experimental.

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Green energy company fired up about wood chips

By Ian Ross
Northern Ontario Business
November 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada East, Canada

A northwestern Ontario green energy company is making incremental strides toward promoting a regional biomass economy. Over the years, Northerners have heard from industry, government and academics about endless opportunities to harvest, transport and process the abundant supply of discarded forest slash into heat and energy for buildings and entire communities. But little in the way of tangible progress has been made. Biothermic Wood Energy Systems, a Thunder Bay biofuel heating company, established a processing and storage facility that they bill as the first of its kind in Ontario. Led by co-owner Vince Rutter, Biothermic has been a leader in promoting modern wood heating solutions using Northern Ontario-sourced wood fuel… The raw material is sourced through his other company, Rutter Urban Forestry, a Thunder Bay tree care company. 

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Rebuilding the forest economy

By Mike Leonard – consulting forester, North Quabbin Forestry, Petersham
Greenfield Reporter
November 13, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Recent meetings by state legislators and state government agencies have looked at ways to improve the rural economy in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region. …Millions of dollars of taxpayer money have already been spent on numerous studies and failed programs. More state funding is needed to fully fund the PILOT program which compensates towns that have tax-exempt state-owned land. …But despite the fact we have hundreds of thousands of mostly unmanaged or mismanaged forest land in this area, forestry and the forest products industry were never mentioned by our state legislators and state agencies. Over the past few decades, there have been efforts to support forestry all of which failed… The “New Forestry Deal” will rebuild our forest economy and create thousands of new jobs in forest industry while improving our forests. It will be a win-win for everybody.

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Forest Fires

B.C. prepares to send firefighters to help tackle massive bush fires in Australia

By Marcella Bernardo
News 1130
November 13, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS, BC –  As wildfires are tearing up southeastern Australia, it looks like they’ve reached out to the BC Wildfire Service to take a look at how things are going. Fire Information Officer Kyla Fraser tells Radio NL in Kamloops that Canada will know soon if resources will be asked to go there. “If there was a request it may also be filled by another province other than B.C. But we would look around at what we have and do our best to meet whatever request they might have.” …Three people have died and dozens have been injured because of brush fires in New South Wales.

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