Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: US West

Business & Politics

2500 gallon spill at Nippon pulp mill mostly contained

By Alex Bruell
Longview Daily News
August 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

About 2,500 gallons of treated wastewater and sludge spilled from the Nippon Dynawave pulp mill late Sunday morning, according to the state Department of Ecology. The spill was reported at 11:47 a.m., Ecology spokesman Jeff Zenk said Monday. About 2,000 gallons of the material hit the pavement at the Industrial Way mill, where it was captured and drained back into the mill’s treatment system, Zenk said. The other roughly 500 gallons hit soil, he said. Zenk said the cause of the spill remained unclear. He said he didn’t have enough information to say whether the spill caused any environmental damage. “Fortunately, the vast majority of it was captured and drained back into the system,” Zenk said. The Department of Ecology industrial division is investigating the spill, Zenk said, and will determine whether to fine the company. Nippon’s Longview mill makes liquid packaging board and market pulp.

Read More

Parent company of Longview mill announces another large quarterly loss

By Mallory Gruben
The Longview Daily News
August 11, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Interfor, a Canadian company that owns a large sawmill on Third Avenue in Longview, reported another big loss in its second quarter, following industry struggles caused by low lumber prices. The company reported a second quarter net loss of $11.2 million. That’s on top of first-quarter loss of $15.3 million. “From a lumber market point of view, July continued to be very challenging with downward price pressure in June,” Bart Bender, senior vice president of sales and marketing. …“We had extremely high prices in 2018. Fast forward a year, and we have quite low pricing,” said Director of Corporate Development and Planning Mike Mackay. “The volatility does make operating this challenge at times. It’s something we have to manage through carefully.” Company officials attributed this year’s losses to low lumber prices, likely caused by poor, wet weather conditions at the beginning of the year and a slow housing market. 

Read More

Truckers and Loggers Started a Rebellion in Oregon. Political Insiders Took It Over.

By Nigel Jaquiss
Willamette Week
August 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The loggers were everywhere. At three June rallies, streams of honking timber trucks converged on Salem as burly lumberjacks and truckers swarmed the Capitol in hard hats and suspenders.Oregon’s wood products industry provided the outstanding visual of the 2019 legislative session. They got what they wanted: the death of House Bill 2020, the carbon-reduction bill known as “cap and trade.”In a state where Democrats hold a voter registration advantage of 10 percentage points over Republicans and enjoy super-majorities in both legislative chambers, the show of muscle by a grassroots group called “Timber Unity” provided a rare political highlight for mostly Republican rural Oregon.”It was a win,” says Eric Fruits, an economist and former Multnomah County GOP chairman. “I think Timber Unity was as important to killing the bill as the GOP senators’ walkout.”

Read More

Salvage timber sales fall short

By Mark Freeman
Mail Tribune
August 6, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The timber industry’s appetite for salvaging timber from the Chetco Bar and other 2017 wildfires has dried up quickly, with charred timber going unsold, keeping the Forest Service from reaching its logging targets here this year. The past three salvage sales offered by the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest have failed to receive any bids, including one that went unsold and was revamped to make it more economical, but still went unsold. Three Chetco Bar salvage sales were part of a group of 10 salvages sales that were mostly a mix of timber cut and stacked as part of firefighting and fire-line construction, and those sales totaled 10.6 million board-feet that sold between August 2018 and Feb. 14, according to Forest Service statistics.

Read More

Roseburg Forest Products Announces Layoffs In Douglas County

By Meerah Powell
Oregon Public Broadcasting
August 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Roseburg Forest Products announced Friday that it is laying off approximately 90 employees at its Douglas County, Oregon, plywood plant in Dillard, Oregon. In a news release, the company said the layoffs are due to “unfavorable conditions in the North American plywood market.” Roseburg owns and manages more than 600,000 acres of timberland in Oregon, North Carolina and Virginia. “After waiting for months for markets to improve, we have reached the point where a layoff is necessary to better match supply with weakened demand,” Senior Vice President of Operations Jake Elston said in the news release. “This is an unfortunate but necessary step toward preserving the long-term viability of our plywood business.” The company offered about 50 employees jobs at its other Oregon-based wood product plants. 

Read More

California wildfire insurance is in crisis. And the real estate market is suffering.

By Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow
Sacramento Bee
July 29, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The Ochs found the perfect place to spend their retirement years: a three-bedroom home … a few miles from the Eldorado National Forest. …The couple made an offer — and then encountered a nasty surprise. One insurance company after another refused to sell them a homeowners’ policy because of the wildfire risks in El Dorado County. The Ochses reluctantly withdrew their offer last week. California’s wildfires have found yet another way of doing serious harm to rural California — by hammering its housing market. The refusal of insurance companies to cover homes in fire-prone areas is prompting home buyers to cancel purchases and look elsewhere. …Pounded by two straight years of catastrophic wildfires, insurers are raising rates, abandoning long-standing customers and refusing to write new policies. …Meanwhile, the inventory of unsold housing is piling up in the foothills. …the problem is worsening as homeowners, irate over rising insurance premiums, seek to get out. 

Read More

Finance & Economics

Boise Cascade Reports Mixed Q2 Earnings

Boise Cascade
August 5, 2019
Category: Finance & Economics
Region: United States, US West

Boise Cascade reported quarterly sales of $1.23 billion and net income of $27.7 million for the second quarter compared with net income of $41.8 million on sales of $1.4 billion for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018. This is a 12.6% decrease over sales of $1.41 billion the same period last year.

Read More

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Wildfire Protection Paint Protects Nothing, LA Says in Suit

By Martin Macias Jr
Courthouse News Service
August 5, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit Monday claiming a California company deceived residents in fire-prone areas by touting an exterior paint product it said could prevent homes from catching fire or burning down during a wildfire. …Sunseeker Enterprises – a Marina Del Ray, California-based company doing business as Sun FireDefense – claimed that its SPF 3000 Clear Spray product would protect residents’ homes from the ever-increasing threat of wildfire damage. But Feuer says in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that after testing the product – which costs $3.50 per square foot – his office found the coating is not an effective fire protection. “This testing indicates that SPF 3000 does not protect as advertised, if it even protects at all,” the complaint says, noting the product also contains volatile and corrosive chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

Read More

Understanding embodied carbon, a key solution in sustainable architecture

By Rhea John
The Daily – University of Washington
August 2, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Kate Simonen

Climate change is a pressing existential crisis at the forefront of current issues, and buildings generate nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  When it comes to limiting carbon emissions, there are many changes to be made in our purchases, consumption habits, transportation, and even our built environment.  By being mindful of carbon costs in architecture, this impact can be reduced. Often, the carbon cost we think of for buildings is the operational costs — the energy it takes to keep the lights on and the heat running. However, professor of architecture Kate Simonen’s work exposes the cost we don’t always think about. That is, the carbon cost of producing the materials for the building. …The emissions attributed to producing materials can come from a range of activities such as mining, transportation, and running factories. 

Read More

Forestry

Protesters: Herbicide spray landed on people, vehicles

By Brian McLean
Peninsula Daily News
August 21, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

PORT TOWNSEND — Demonstrators who held signs to protest aerial herbicide application say a helicopter passed overhead and sprayed them as well as vehicles traveling on state Highway 20. A Pope Resources official said they believe it didn’t happen. The incident allegedly took place late Monday afternoon as a contractor hired by Pope Resources made several passes over timberland just south of Anderson Lake Road, spraying a chemical compound that included glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. “That helicopter, after about 45 minutes of spraying, crossed that ridge, flew straight toward us and dropped, twice,” Lissy Andrews of Port Townsend told City Council members later that night. “That was what we considered a direct threat to our safety and to make us shut up.” Adrian Miller of Pope Resources said the helicopter did not veer away from the permit authorized by the state Department of Agriculture.

Read More

Western Oregon conifers continue to show damage from drought

By Kym Pokorny
The Oregonian
August 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

CORVALLIS – Even though we’ve had a mild summer, conifers in Oregon are still getting hit hard by several years of drought, to the point that many are dying. “Beginning in 2013-14, we started to see significant impact on Doug-firs in western Oregon,” said Dave Shaw, a forest health specialist with Oregon State University Extension Service. “Since evidence of drought often doesn’t show up until the following spring, we are still experiencing problems from the last several dry years.” It’s past the point of just Doug firs dying. Many conifers, including western red cedar, incense cedar, grand fir and even valley ponderosa pine are succumbing, as well. …People don’t think about watering big trees, Shaw noted, but that’s the best method to prevent death or possibly bring a not-too-stressed tree back to health.

Read More

Idaho officials OK big increase in logging state lands

Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
August 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Idaho officials are increasing logging on state lands by more than 30 percent and plan to build a seed orchard in northern Idaho to plant trees to replace those cut down. The Idaho Land Board on Tuesday voted to ramp up harvest on the state’s forests over a four-year span to bring in about $20 million more annually for beneficiaries, mainly public schools. Officials with the Idaho Department of Lands told Idaho Republican Gov. Brad Little and other Land Board members that a better method of inventorying the state’s timber holdings found significantly more timber available for cutting. The Lands Department says cutting mature stands will reduce the risk of loss due to disease, insects and wildfires.

Read More

California Wildfire Season Is Off to Slow Start

By Jim Carlton
The Wall Street Journal
August 20, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SAN FRANCISCO — California is off to one of its slowest wildfire seasons in years, giving firefighters and fire-prone communities a much-needed break after last year’s huge and destructive infernos. As of Aug. 18, just 24,579 wildland acres have burned so far this year compared with 621,784 at the same time last year, according to Cal Fire. Emergency officials attribute the quieter year, in part, to a wet, cool spring that has tamped down wildfire activity across much of the West. Fire scientists say a return to abundant precipitation the past few years following prolonged drought has helped replenish forest moisture from New Mexico to Idaho. But they warn that the tinder-dry autumn months—when fires in California historically rage at their worst—are around the corner. …A new state record was also set in terms of total land burned on state and federal land: 1.7 million acres. [a WSJ subscription is required to access the full story]

Read More

As I See It: OSU’s thoughtful forest stewardship

By Bob Conder, chairman, Corvallis Rural Fire Protection District
Corvallis Gazette-Times
August 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

I wonder if Kathleen Dean Moore sees the irony in excoriating Oregon State University for logging its forests while holding a promotion of her 240-page book. In her recent As I See It piece, she is correct that our forests do provide us with soul-calming venues to research our own thoughts and feelings. She was wrong in many other ways. She got it wrong when she wrote, “Once it’s destroyed, it will never return.” Trees grow and OSU replants every place they cut — and OSU maintains specific reserves for old growth and retains many older trees after harvests that will grow into older growth and become habitat for all sorts of creatures. This is not the “clear-cutting” image of a barren wasteland totally denuded of trees — it will grow with many different ages of trees for future generations to enjoy.

Read More

Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests

By Steven Krichbaum
Counter Punch
August 19, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

To facilitate the fabrication of stumps, roads, and erosion in America’s National Forests, now the Trump administration has proposed to alter the USDA Forest Service’s implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA]. The 1969 NEPA was specifically designed to: 1) require the Forest Service to use science to take a full and fair hard look at the potential environmental impacts of projects such as timber sales, 2) disclose to the public this scientific information and the reasoning underlying their decisions, and 3) provide a legal mechanism for Americans to be involved in the decision-making process. This power-grab by the Trump administration would trash all three of the NEPA’s fundamental goals. …It makes sense on our National Forests to allow existing forests to achieve their biological potential and develop into their natural old growth state. Such pro-forestation is the best way to combat climate chaos and achieve multiple goals.

Read More

Elk migration in Elkhorn Mountains affected by areas impacted by pine beetles

By John Riley
KRTV Great Falls News
August 17, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Elk in the Elkhorn Mountains are using less pine beetle-impacted forest areas, but it’s only one factor determining their habitat, according to a recently finalized study. The study was conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) in partnership with the Helena – Lewis and Clark National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Department of Military Affairs, Cinnabar Foundation, Montana State University, and the Elkhorns Working Group. The study looked specifically at the impacts of mountain pine beetle on the way elk use their habitat in the Elkhorn Mountains. FWP officials radio-collared 60 elk and followed their movements over the course of four years. That data was then compared to another 1980’s study conducted in the area on elk migration patterns.

Read More

Experts reveal what it takes to save the forest

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
August 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Environmentalists, politicians, bureaucrats and foresters alike maintain that a properly reinvented timber industry can save us before we all burn down.Well, maybe.But it’s complicated. Just ask Allen Reidhead — whose family has operated sawmills in Arizona for six generations, one of the key speakers at a recent forest health conference in Payson.“It’s not just you — or me — that’s going to make the difference, but the community coming together so we can protect ourselves and protect towns like Payson or Show Low. We’re just one match, one lightning strike away from being lost. What do the powers-that-be really want? Do you want to save that watershed? But what are you willing to do?”And maybe also talk to Brad Worsley, trying to save the only biomass-burning power plant in Arizona — which holds the economic key to forest thinning efforts across a vast swath of unhealthy, overcrowded, wildfire-prone land in northern Arizona.

Read More

Logging our forests is a misguided solution to protect communities from wildfire

By George Wuerthner
Statesman Journal
August 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

George Wuerthner

Recently it was announced by Sen. Steven Daines, R-Montana, that he plans to introduce a bipartisan bill with Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, to protect communities from wildfire. The senators are concerned that wildfire season is getting worse and large fires are a threat to communities. On both counts, the senators are correct. However, at least part of their proposed solution, which includes more logging of our forests is misguided. The factors increasing fires are due to climate change. The scientific evidence suggests this is a result of burning fossil fuels. In other words, wildfires are a symptom of a more significant issue of human-induced climate warming, so ultimately, we must address the cause, not the symptom. But logging our forests is also not a solution. Climate/weather, not fuels drive nearly all large fires.

Read More

Murkowski supports a ‘complete exemption’ for Tongass from Roadless Rule

By Jacob Resneck
KTOO Public Media
August 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Lisa Murkowski

A decision by President Donald Trump’s administration over exempting the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule is expected soon. That’s according to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who said Tuesday that rolling back restrictions to roadbuilding is crucial for Southeast Alaska’s economy. “I, very early on, went to the Trump administration and said as we look to the state of Alaska and the application of the Roadless Rule, we have to be able to have a plan that is specific to us,” she said Tuesday. The head of the U.S. Forest Service was directed by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last summer to initiate an Alaska-specific rule for the Tongass. A 90-day comment period last fall received over 144,000 comments, and the majority expressed opposition to rolling back protections.

Read More

State aims to help fight lawsuits challenging Helena-area forestry project

By Tom Kuglin
Helena Independent Record
August 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The state of Montana is seeking to join the fight against lawsuits challenging a major forestry project near Helena. The Montana Department of Justice under Attorney General Tim Fox filed its request Monday to intervene in litigation over the Forest Service’s Ten Mile-South Helena Project. The request has not been challenged by other parties in the lawsuits and allows DOJ to argue the state’s position in several aspects of the cases. “This case is extremely important because of the state lands at issue that could burn, the watershed that’s so important not only under state law concerning ownership of water but public safety and health, and then of course the fire danger because the fuel loading in this area is so high that it’s become a tinderbox,” said Attorney General Tim Fox.

Read More

Fighting fire with fire underused in US West despite goals

By Brian Kelley
The Associated Press in the Independent Record
August 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — The thick scent of smoke hung in the midday air when a trail along the Kings River opened up to an ominous scene: flames in the trees and thick gray smoke shrouding canyon walls. Firefighters were on the job. In fact, they had started the blaze that chewed through thick ferns, blackened downed trees and charred the forest floor. The prescribed burn — a low-intensity, closely managed fire — was intended to clear out undergrowth and protect the heart of Kings Canyon National Park from future wildfires that are growing larger and more frequent amid climate change. Overcoming public fears by teaching about “good smoke, bad smoke, out-of-control fire and prescribed fire” is just one hurdle before firefighters can put match to kindling, Mohler said.

Read More

Elk can be just as good at avoiding cougars and wolves as they are at hiding from hunters, study shows

By Brett French
Billings Gazette
August 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Elk are crafty creatures. Just ask any elk hunter. The big animals will hide in thick timber where a shot is impossible during the day, and then wander out into wide open meadows to feed at night when hunting isn’t allowed. The tactic may be frustrating for hunters, but it’s life-preserving for elk. …Now a recently published study …shows that elk use much the same behavior to avoid mountain lions and wolves. “It’s really a testament to elk as a species and how well they can manage risk,” Stahler said. Mountain lions are known to inhabit rough, rocky, timbered terrain, but they mainly hunt at night. Wolves are more likely to hunt in open country in the early mornings and evenings. By spending days in the timber and nights in the open fields, elk are more likely to avoid being eaten by two of their main park predators.

Read More

Salvaged lumber sales slumping after devastating wildfires

By Matt Jordan
Fox News 26
August 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Medford, Ore — While fire crews are hard at work on this summer’s wildfires, a new issue is emerging in the land scarred by fires in previous years. “We’ve got to speed up the process, it’s horrible,” said David Schott with the Southern Oregon Timber Industries Association. The devastation from forest fires often lingers long after the smoke has cleared. “At some point, as time goes by, the wood deteriorates to the point where it’s not useable,” said Schott. …That was the plan for more than 4,000 acres of the 191,000 acres burned in the Chetco Bar fire in the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest last year. This summer that plan has seen little support from the timber industry it relies on. …The salvage process on the Chetco Bar Fire was slowed by low snow levels, government furloughs and environmental regulations.

Read More

Despite habitat protection, endangered owls decline in Mount Rainier National Park

BY Balmiya Osana
Itzagoal365
August 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

When the Northern Spotted Owl was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1990, the primary threat to the species was the loss of the old-growth forest it depends on. However, new research published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications shows that the Northern Spotted Owl population in Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park has declined sharply in the past two decades despite the long-term preservation of habitat within the park. The culprit? The spread of Barred Owls, a closely related, competing species that has moved into Spotted Owls’ range from the east. Biologists have seen Barred Owls in Spotted Owl territories within the national park more and more frequently since Spotted Owl surveys began in 1997. For their new study, Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit’s Anna Mangan, the National Park Service’s Tara Chestnut, and their colleagues analyzed two decades’ worth of data from these surveys. 

Read More

OSU’s McDonald Forest was meant to benefit students, not well-to-do

By Jim Geisinger, executive vice president, Associated Oregon Loggers
The Oregonian
August 11, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A July 27 Oregonian/OregonLive article (“Majestic Douglas fir stood for 420 years. Then Oregon State University foresters cut it down”) excoriated the Oregon State University College of Forestry for its alleged mismanagement of the college’s McDonald-Dunn forest. The issue was the harvesting of a 15.7 acre unit of mature forest, including a 420-year-old tree. The 15.7 acre unit generated more than $420,000 for the college to fund its budget. The story by reporter Rob Davis quoted a local retired high-tech executive who enjoys jogging in the forest and an ex-OSU professor Norm Johnson, one of the architects of the Northwest Forest Plan, who criticized the college’s management practices. But there is a little background information The Oregonian failed to address that I think is very important. OSU’s McDonald-Dunn College Forest was created by a substantial private contribution from Mary McDonald in 1927 to the Oregon Agricultural College. 

Read More

Forest Service releases draft review for logging, other projects in central SE Alaska

By Joe Viechnicki
KFSK Community Radio Alaska
August 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. Forest Service has released the draft of an environmental review of a 15-year plan for logging, recreation and stream restoration projects around Wrangell, Petersburg and Kake in Southeast Alaska. The review follows the same approach as a larger project on Prince of Wales Island that’s the center of a legal challenge. The draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Central Tongass Project could mean logging up to 150 million board feet of old-growth timber over 15 years on the islands and mainland of central Southeast. Another 80 million board feet of young growth trees could also be cut during that time. This project and a much larger offering on nearby Prince of Wales Island make up the bulk of what the federal agency expects to offer for timber sales in Southeast Alaska in the near future.

Read More

Siskiyou Rappellers prepare for lightning strike

By Caitlin Fowlkes
Mail Tribune
August 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A crew of firefighters who rappel from helicopters geared up for practice Thursday morning in anticipation of lightning storms forecast for Friday. One of the newest crew members, Scott McIntyre — a rookie rappeller — said if the crew goes two weeks without working on an active fire, then they practice at the Siskiyou Rappel base at the Grants Pass airport to stay sharp. Another recruit this year, Eric Parrinello, said the rappellers are up in the air in 10 minutes or less from the time a call comes in. Their specialty is stamping out small, remote fires before they can spread. “We’re doing our job correctly if you don’t hear about us or the fire,” Parrinello said. He said having a rappelling crew in Southern Oregon is extremely beneficial because there’s a lot of forest land that’s steep and nearly impossible to get to with a vehicle. 

Read More

There’s a Big Reason Why Southern California Hasn’t Seen Large Wildfires Yet This Summer

By Anthony Yanez
NBC Los Angeles
August 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

So far, California has been spared the large wildfires that ravaged the state in 2018, a year that included the largest, most destructive and deadliest wildfires on record in the Golden State.  From January to early August last year, more than 3,660 wildfires burned a staggering 615,000 acres in California. During that same period this year, about 2,900 wildfires have burned only 22,900 acres, according to CALFIRE statistics. California’s five-year average for that period is about 3,500 fires and 245,800 acres of burned land. So, what’s behind the significant decrease in the number of fires and acres burned? It’s due to several factors, but one of the most important is soil moisture. …Soil moisture is 40 percent above average for most of California. …The combination of steady winter rainfall, an active monsoon season and high humidity has kept vegetation full of moisture.

Read More

Forestry project is about safety for citizens and responders

By Rocky Infanger, board president for Tri-County Firesafe Working Group
The Helena Independent Record
August 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Rocky Infanger

The Tenmile Watershed and South Hills of Helena are critical areas to the health and safety of thousands of people who live in and around them. The recent decision by the Forest Service to reduce fuel and improve roads in the Tenmile-South Hills Project area is largely about life safety for citizens and first responders alike. The Tri-County FireSafe Working Group fully supports this project. Unfortunately the Forest Service is the subject of civil litigation by numerous groups seeking to halt this important project. We believe the project should be completed. The pine trees in the project area were ravaged by the mountain pine beetle epidemic in 2005/2006 killing 90% of the lodgepole and ponderosa pine trees over 5 inches in diameter. …The fire hazard of these areas is rated as extreme due to those fuels and the type of fires that burn in this area. 

Read More

Bitterroot National Forest plan to log 1,300 acres of elk winter range draws protests

By Laura Lundquist
Missoula Current
August 6, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Bitterroot National Forest has approved a project east of Darby that would change the road system across more than 27,000 acres to improve access. But at least one organization opposes the 1,300 acres of logging proposed in and around elk winter range. Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Matthew Anderson issued the decision to move ahead with the second phase of the Darby Lumber Lands project, based upon a Finding of No Significant Impact related to a 2018 environmental assessment.  In his decision, Anderson said the project would improve the road system in the Sapphire Mountains east of Darby and provide timber jobs while reducing tree density on mountains slopes in the Harlan Creek watershed north of Darby. Until recently, a lot of the land belonged to the Darby Lumber Company.

Read More

Fire risks rise in previously too-wet-to-burn US Northwest

By Tom James
The Longview Daily News
August 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Nestled in the foothills of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the bustling Seattle suburb of Issaquah seems an unlikely candidate for anxiety over wildfires. The region, famous for its rainfall, has long escaped major burns even as global warming has driven an increase in the size and number of wildfires elsewhere in the American West. But according to experts, previously too-wet-to-burn parts of the Pacific Northwest face an increasing risk of significant wildfires due to changes in its climate driven by the same phenomenon: Global warming is bringing higher temperatures, lower humidity and longer stretches of drought. And the region is uniquely exposed to the threat, with property owners who are often less prepared for fire than those in drier places and more homes tucked along forests than any other western state.

Read More

Forest Service implementing project near Helena aimed at wildfire protection

By Tom Kuglin
Helena Independent Record
August 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Craig Klockler

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest has begun a major forestry project near Helena as it waits for courts to rule on two lawsuits challenging the project.Late last year, the Forest Service approved the Ten Mile-South Helena Project. Work includes logging, thinning and prescribed burning as well as some trail work and stream restoration on 17,500 acres within a 60,000-acre project area southwest of Helena. The Ten Mile drainage supplies one of two sources of water for the city.Earlier this year sportsmen groups filed a federal lawsuit over proposed logging in two inventoried roadless areas, contesting the use of heavy machinery. Helena Hunters and Anglers and the Montana Wildlife Federation contend that the project will negatively impact wildlife by removing hiding cover and reduce the potential wilderness character of the roadless areas. The groups do not contest work outside of the roadless areas.

Read More

Daines, Feinstein to introduce wildfire protection bill

By Matt Volz
Associated Press in The Missoulian
August 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Steve Daines

Senators from California and Montana said Thursday that they plan to introduce a bipartisan bill that aims to protect communities from wildfires like the one that killed 85 people and destroyed much of the Northern California town of Paradise last year. Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California and Republican Steve Daines of Montana told The Associated Press they will introduce the bill after the Senate’s August recess, but wanted to announce their plans now as the western U.S. states enter their peak fire season. “Unfortunately, millions of acres of forests in our states and across the West remain at high risk of catastrophic wildfires, and there is strong consensus that fire seasons will only get worse,” Feinstein and Daines said in a statement obtained by the AP. “We believe additional resources are urgently needed to protect our communities and tackle these emergency conditions.”

Read More

Health & Safety

Port Angeles man badly hurt while logging

Peninsula Daily News
August 18, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

FORKS — A Port Angeles man was in stable condition at Harborview Medical Center on Saturday after a log rolled onto him while he was logging in the Forks area on Friday. Terry Tyler, 29, suffered a broken pelvis and ankle and possibly has internal injuries, according to his sister-in-law, Ashley Gourley, on a fundraising Facebook page. She posted on Saturday that he would have surgery on Monday. …The wooded area is located north of Highway 101 and can be accessed from a logging road located near milepost 198. Law enforcement arrived a short time after the initial 911 call and learned that 29-year-old Terry Tyler from Port Angeles was working for The Dahlgren logging Company when he was seriously injured by a log that had rolled onto him. 

Read More

Growing program puts air quality specialists on wildfires

By Felicia Fonseca
Helena Independent Record
August 6, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Among the hundreds of firefighters, aircraft and engines dispatched to fight a recent wildfire in northern Arizona were two women whose focus wasn’t on flames. Their concern was smoke. Because of the health hazards from wildfires spewing smoke into the atmosphere, Congress earlier this year said all top-tier federal teams battling wildland blazes should have at least one specialist assigned to monitor smoke. The smoke itself can be more problematic than the flames that produce it. Smoke that poured into Seeley Lake, Montana, from a nearby wildfire in 2017 got so bad that health officials warned residents to leave or find somewhere else to sleep at night when smoke is at its worst. Other places have opened respite centers or set up air filtration systems in buildings to give people a place to go when it’s too smoky. 

Read More

Dust Eyed as Cause of Explosion, Fire at Oregon Sawmill

Powder & Bulk Solids
August 5, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

Officials said wood dust may have fueled an explosion and a two-alarm fire Friday afternoon at the Timber Products sawmill in White City, OR, a number of local news organizations reported. …Upon arrival, firefighters discovered flames inside of a wood chip hopper, Jackson County Fire District 3 said. Crews were able to contain the fire to the bin. “A lot of the fine dust is sanding dust from the plywood that they make in this facility,” Jackson County Fire District 3 Deputy Chief Mike Hussey told NBC. “So, it’s a really fine component and it doesn’t take a whole lot to get it ignited.” …In 2008… Timber Products received a warning letter from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for combustible dust hazards. 

Read More

Forest Fires

Alaska wildfire season continues with new fires, hot weather

By Dan Joling
Associated Press in Helena Independent Record
August 19, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s wildfire season usually ends well before mid-August but persistent hot, dry weather has contributed to the start of new fires and the spread of old ones. High winds Saturday damaged power lines or knocked trees into lines, sparking multiple fires, including one that temporarily shut down the highway between Anchorage and Denali National Park and burned more than 50 structures, said Tim Mowry, spokesman for the Alaska Division of Forestry. Heavy rain has dampened fires north of the Alaska Range but has not reached areas north and south of Anchorage. …July was the warmest month ever recorded in Alaska. On Saturday, a weather system with winds gusting to 40 mph moved into southcentral Alaska. The fire along the Parks Highway began with a tree falling on a power line. …Alaska fire officials have recorded 659 wildfires this year that have burned more than 3,901 square miles (10,104 sq. kilometers).

Read More

Idaho hot springs area near McCall evacuated due to wildfire

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
August 8, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

BOISE, IDAHO — A wildfire burning in dense timber has nearly tripled in size and led to evacuations of a small community and a popular rustic resort hot springs, Idaho fire officials said Thursday. The fire near Burgdorf Hot Springs grew to 1.5 square miles and jumped across roads leading into an area that are now closed to the public. …The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issued a full evacuation for the lightly populated area about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the vacation area of McCall. About 350 personnel are assigned to the blaze that’s burning mostly in the Payette National Forest. Several U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in the area have been closed.

Read More

Growing wildfire on Colville Indian Reservation leads to evacuations, air-quality alerts

By Asia Fields and Christine Clarridge
The Seattle Times
August 7, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A spreading wildfire on the Colville Indian Reservation led to evacuations Wednesday and air quality in the region that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranked among the worst in the nation. The Williams Flats fire had burned more than 25,000 acres and was 25% contained Wednesday afternoon. The fire grew significantly to the east and northeast over the day, leading officials to order residents of about 13 homes to immediately evacuate about 6 p.m. Residents of about 11 additional homes were told to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Fire officials won’t have an update on the size of the fire until Thursday morning, but it’s expected to grow as far east as the Columbia River on Wednesday night, said fire spokeswoman Shannon Dunfee.

Read More

Smokejumper recounted Mann Gulch recovery effort in photos

By Thom Bridge
Helena Independent Record
August 6, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

On Aug. 6, 1949, the U.S. Forest Service sent a recovery mission to the site of the Mann Gulch fire after tragedy struck the smokejumpers the day before. On that recovery crew was smokejumper Richard “Dick” Wilson, who carried a small film camera in the collar of his jumpsuit and captured some of the only photos of the aftermath.  In a 2017 interview published on Youtube, Wilson recounts that day and the mission to rescue those who fell victim to the Mann Gulch fire. The rescue crew hiked in 150 pounds of first aid supplies, but upon arrival realized medical aid was useless because the smokejumpers were already deceased. They did find use for the sleeping bags they brought.

Read More