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Today's Takeaway

Forest fires - now and then

Categories: Today's Takeaway
Jul 21, 2017
Tree Frog Forestry News

The wildfire north of Princeton, BC is now 80% contained and "is a flicker of its former self". Unfortunately, the weather forecast for BC includes strong winds and lightning that have firefighters on alert in other areas of the province. To help BC, 53 firefighting specialists from Australia have arrived and the Canadian Forces are sending 225 more troops (to join the 150 already in place).

BC Timber Sales' proposed Forest Stewardship Plan for Bowen Island, BC has caught the attention of local residents. With slogans that include "Protect our Crown Jewels" and "Hands off Bowen's Bush" residents are mounting a fight to prevent any logging in the area. BC Timber Sales has stated that more consultation will occur before logging would happen and also noted that "harvesting would never happen on the full" area.

Neil Godbout of the Prince George Citizen has some interesting reflections on the recent BC election and the impact the recent fires could have had on the outcome. Citizens might have remembered the highly critical 2015 report by the Forest Practices Board about the poor job the government had done to reduce wildfire threat in smaller communities. Was Bob Simpson (now mayor of Quesnel) "throwing out provocative comments" when he also criticized the government in 2009?

-- Heidi Walsh, Tree Frog Editor

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Forest fire woes expand to Eastern Canada and Montana

Categories: Today's Takeaway
Jul 20, 2017
Tree Frog Forestry News

Although BC, California and Washington state still dominate today’s Forest Fire news, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Montana are reporting "very high forest fire risk", increased "fire activity" and sadly, the "fatality of a 19 year old fire fighter" in Missoula. The good, the bad and the ugly include:

  • Okanagan Centre fire evacuation order lifted 
  • Santa Barbara County firefighters progress with wildfire containment
  • Verdant Creek wildfire in Kootenay National Park within 2 km of Sunshine Village
  • Blatant disregard for wildfire hazard deserves harsher punishment 
  • Extreme and aggressive California wildfires force thousands to evacuate 
In other fire news, BC’s newly minted NDP government was quick to “extend the state of emergency for wildfires by two weeks and boost payments to evacuees”.

In business news, more coverage on the “Tembec sale” controversy, “soaring lumber prices” due to the fires in BC and the tax on Canadian lumber and “Donald Trump’s wish list [re: NAFTA] and closing the book on Chapter 19”. According to lawyer, Riyaz Dattu, the problem with the dispute settlement mechanism is “Canada’s success rate with issues like softwood lumber that keep cropping up every few years." 

And finally, a good news story out of Australia titled “Wood be good: Why top Australian architects love timber for building homes”. According to Andrew Dunn of the Timber Development Association—who is currently touring Oregon and BC along with two-dozen Australian architects, engineers and building experts—“wellbeing is the buzzword with timber. It makes you calmer.”

-- Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Community alarmed by potential for logging on Bowen Island

By Bethany Lindsay

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
CBC News

Bowen Islanders are mounting a fight against B.C. government plans that could one day result in logging in their community. B.C. Timber Sales,which provides price benchmarks for wood harvested from public land, is currently working on a new Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) that includes 1,414 hectares of forest on the sleepy Gulf island — nearly a third of Bowen's total area. The news came as a surprise to many on the island, according to Mayor Murray Skeels. "These are blocks that touch on numerous residential neighbourhoods, right up against Crippen Park, right up against the ecological reserve," Skeels told The Early Edition on Thursday.

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Wildfires: Should BC Do More to Help Homeowners ‘Stay and Defend’?

By Zoë Ducklow

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
The Tyee

...Monical and her family stayed to fight the fire against the recommendation of the local government and Emergency Management BC. And she isn’t alone. A lot of British Columbians stayed inside the evacuation zones to fight the fire, and say they’d do it again. Emergency Management BC’s current policy doesn’t account for people like this. Its priority is keeping people safe, and when fire threatens urban areas, evacuation is a reliable way to do that. The government’s integrated response plan also assumes people will evacuate when told. This inevitably presents obstacles for those who choose to stay. For example, evacuated areas restrict movement, so while residents can choose to stay, they aren’t allowed to drive on public roads without a permit or re-enter the zone.

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Comment: Why B.C. decided to shut down fire lookouts

By Dave Gilbert - retired registered professional forester

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Victoria Times Colonist

Re: “Manmade mistake led to wildfires,” letter, July 18. The letter-writer’s assertion that a “manmade mistake led to wildfires” is simply wrong. The fires that occurred on the evening of July 6 and 7 were caused by lightning, and occurred during explosive fire behaviour conditions, principally wind-driven fire that has resulted in difficult-to-contain fires and the evacuation of 40,000 people. The B.C. Wildfire Service has access to technology that detects lightning ground strikes, and within a few seconds of occurrence, staff know the geographic location and the energy characteristics of each strike. With that information, it is possible to determine the likelihood of a fire starting and to route and schedule aircraft patrols to detect and make initial attacks on fires that might be found. The writer is correct in that most fire lookouts were closed from the mid-1970s to 1980s. The reason was simple: Lookouts were ineffective in detecting either human- or lightning-caused fires.

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Donaldson Co-Chairs Wildfire Task Force

By John Crawford

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
CFTK TV

On his first full day as BC's Forests Minister, Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson has been given a key job by Premier John Horgan. Donaldson and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth will co-chair a cabinet task force, focused on managing BC's Wildfire crisis. Horgan made the announcement this morning, flanked by the two ministers and by North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, who is the government's Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. ...Premier Horgan also announced he was extended the provincial state of emergency for another two weeks. He said anyone who is kept out of their home for more than 14 days will get a second payment of 600 dollars, to be administered by the Canadian Red Cross.

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Bowen Island residents fight provincial logging plans: Mayor

By Matt Robinson

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
The Vancouver Sun

Bowen Island residents are outraged over a plan that could open nearly 30 per cent of their picturesque island to industrial-scale logging, says their mayor. The 50-square-kilometre island sits just off West Vancouver at the entrance to Howe Sound, features in offshore views from other parts of the Lower Mainland, and has not been logged in decades. But foresters are now viewing Bowen as a potential source for as much as 250 truckloads of fir, hemlock and cedar logs a year for the next two decades, Mayor Murray Skeels said in an interview this week. Skeels said he only learned of the plan last month when a planning forester at B.C. Timber Sales, a government agency that manages about 20 per cent of the provincial Crown’s annual allowable cut of trees, contacted the municipality about its proposed “forest stewardship plan.”

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Premier John Horgan extends state of emergency as B.C. deals with wildfires

By Rob Shaw

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
Vancouver Sun

VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan has extended the provincial state of emergency for wildfires by an additional two weeks and boosted aid payments to those who were forced to evacuate their homes. Horgan emerged Wednesday from his new government’s first cabinet meeting at the legislature to announce additional payments of $600 for each household for every 14 days evacuees are unable to return home due the wildfires raging in the province’s interior. Distribution of funds is being coordinated by the Red Cross. More than 45,000 people have been forced from their homes as 140 wildfires continue to burn in B.C.’s Interior, including 15 that are threatening communities.

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New Forests Minister Doug Donaldson Says Wildfire Crisis Uppermost in His Mind

By John Crawford

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
CFTK TV

BC's new Forests Minister says the people impacted by the province's wildfire crisis are uppermost on his mind as he assumes his new duties. Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson was given the portfolio by Premier John Horgan, as the NDP government was sworn in Tuesday in Victoria. "My thoughts are with all of those who have been evacuated and firefighters and emergency responders because that's front-of-the-house as far as the issue goes in my new portfolio," he said. Donaldson also said he's working with the former minister -- Nechako-Lakes Liberal MLA John Rustad -- to make sure no one falls through the cracks because of the change in government.

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Bypass road suggested as cure for problem of logging truck dust in Youbou

By Lexi Bainas, Lake Cowichan Gazette

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
BC Local News

Fighting the dust in Youbou is an ongoing battle. Logging trucks hauling loads from forests west of the community along the only road east carry dust or mud and debris with them, dropping it along Youbou Road, especially near the west end of the community. At times the dust is so thick visibility becomes near zero, and homes along the road habitually keep their windows and doors closed to try to keep out the mess. Area director Klaus Kuhn has been talking again with TimberWest about it. He is hoping to hold a town hall meeting before the end of August so that Youbou residents and property owners can learn the details of a possible plan by the company to construct a logging road higher up the mountain side that would bypass the entire community, hopefully taking the dust with it.

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Editorial: Blantant disregard for wildfire hazard deserves harsher punishment

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
BC Local News

Is it time to bring in harsher punishments for starting a wildfire – however unintentionally? As we all watch with heartbreak, forests across Beautiful B.C. are burning out of control – destroying homes and businesses and threatening wildlife, livestock and more, while thousands of hectares of forests go up in flames In fact, more than 35,000 British Columbians have been forced from their homes, evacuated to 11 emergency centers set up across the province, including in nearby Cloverdale. Of the more than 650 wildfires in B.C. since the beginning of 2017, more than half are believed to have been human caused, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. That means more than half of the wildfires were easily preventable. ...In the 1970s and into the early '80s, at Manning Park, a very potent- in your face- warning stood on the side of the road showing a cigarette being hung by a noose. The message was very clear. It likely was taken down because it was too shocking and too offensive in these politically correct, ultra sensitive times we live in.

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Spray targets 80,000 hectares of N.B. forest as spruce budworm makes inroads

By Gabrielle Fahmy

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada East
Jul 21, 2017
CBC News

New Brunswick has just finished spraying more than 80,000 hectares of forest against the spruce budworm, the dreaded insect that infests the province every 30 years or so. In recent weeks, the spray program focused on the north, where the spruce budworm continues to make its way from Quebec. Last summer, images from Campbellton, where a colony of spruce budworm moths took over a car dealership, caught the attention of people all over New Brunswick. Since then, scientists agree, the insect has gained ground in the province, with hot spots showing up around Campbellton, Dalhousie, Balmoral, Charlo and just west of Bathurst.

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Newfoundland forest management plans undergoing environmental assessments

Categories: Forestry
Region: Canada; Canada East
Jul 19, 2017
The Telegram

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources has registered several five-year forest management plans for districts in the province for environmental assessment.  Details were provided in an environment assessment bulletin released by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment this week. The department’s proposal for Forest Management District 23, which covers an area of 2.2 million hectares and is located generally between the Labrador coast and the Mulligan and Red Wine rivers to the west, will enable the harvesting of 78,500 cubic metres of timber, construct approximately 20 kilometres of primary forest access road, and apply silviculture prescriptions on approximately 375 hectares throughout the district within the five-year period.

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Museum milestone: Forest Service history museum opens the gate

By Kim Briggeman

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
Jul 20, 2017
The Missoulian

History appears in the strangest of places at the National Museum of Forest Service History. ...No matter where you turned or, well, sat Thursday, the stories and people who made the U.S. Forest Service museum-worthy abounded. It’s billed as the only museum in the country devoted to telling the forest conservation story of the United States. “They asked me to help cut the ribbon. It must be a tough ribbon,” joked Claudia Brown, who said her husband, former state forester Gary Brown, made the national museum in Missoula “his baby and his mistress” before succumbing to lung cancer in 2010.

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Forest Service needs to explain tanker decision

By the Editorial Board

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
Jul 20, 2017
The Bend Bulletin

As the U.S. Forest Service fights dozens of wildfires across several states, it isn’t using one of the biggest weapons available: a converted Boeing 747 that can drop 19,000 gallons of flame retardant in a single run, covering a path 200 feet wide and up to 2 miles long. And it won’t say why. An Associated Press report out of Boise, Idaho, says Jim Wheeler of Global SuperTanker Services has filed a protest after the Forest Service set a 5,000-gallon limit for firefighting aircraft without offering an explanation. The Forest Service told the AP it can’t comment on use of the 747s because of Wheeler’s protest. That circular reasoning leaves everybody in the dark. Is this cost-cutting, as suggested by watchdog and firefighter advocacy groups?

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Colorado State Forest changing in the aftermath of the mountain pine beetle

By Pamela Johnson

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
Loveland Reporter-Herald

District forester John Twitchell looks at the dead stands of ponderosa pine where once the red stain of mountain pine beetle painted its deadly swath. "They're kind of gray ghosts now," said Twitchell, who works for the Colorado State Forest, which is located on nearly 72,000 acres north of Fort Collins, a small section in Larimer County but mostly in Jackson County. The scourge of the mountain pine beetle is old news now, but it is something forest managers will be dealing with for decades to come. The destruction left behind is being managed in different ways. Some trees will be left to naturally fall and decompose. Some stands have been logged to make way for new growth, to simulate to an extent, what a natural fire would do for the landscape, to diversify the age and species of trees. The logs are sent to Saratoga, Wyo., where they are made into lumber, and the proceeds go back into managing the forest.

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Marbled Murrelet study along the Oregon coast

By Saphara Harrell

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US West
Jul 18, 2017
The World

OREGON COAST — From the Simpson Reef overlook, two field technicians are holding out antennas, listening for marbled murrelets. The crackle of the receiver can be heard above the wind and seals as it scans through 61 frequencies unique to each of the threatened seabirds that have been tagged. The scans are part of a larger research project on the Oregon Coast that aims to learn more about the elusive bird and its nesting sites to help inform conservation planning for the species. The study, led by Oregon State University assistant professor and senior researcher Jim Rivers, is the first to tag marbled murrelets on the open ocean. “One of the things that’s worth emphasizing is that previous studies that have worked on murrelets have typically worked in inlets or bay,” Rivers said.

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If federal agents come knocking, they may just want to count your trees

By CBS 13

Categories: Forestry
Region: United States; US East
Jul 20, 2017
Bangor Daily News

The city of Portland is part of a new national program with the U.S. Forest Service. It’s all part of an effort to count trees, and you could join in. The project is part of the US Forest Service’s Forest Inventory Analysis and they started in Portland on Tuesday, analyzing trees along Portland’s Eastern Prom, Evergreen Cemetery and Baxter Woods. They’ll be studying trees on selected areas of land over the next five years. Forest Inventory Analysis, often called the nation’s Forest Census, has been monitoring the status and trends of the country’s rural forests for nearly 80 years but are expanding the census to include cities.

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Forestry Reforms fast-tracked

by Carrie-Marie Bratley

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
Jul 20, 2017
The Portugal News

Last month’s massive fire in Pedrógão Grande, in which 64 people died, has seen forestry reforms leapfrog to the top of the government’s list of priorities, having been thrashed out in an overnight marathon meeting held by the Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture on Tuesday and into the early hours of Wednesday morning. As a result of the talks, from now on, among other new measures, the planting of eucalyptuses can only be done with prior approval from the State. Thus far tacit agreement sufficed. The Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture met on Tuesday at around 4pm to discuss the proposed bills put forward by the government, in a bid to achieve resolution before parliament breaks up for its customary annual summer holidays.

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USA Public Slam NZ Biotech Company's GE Trees

By GE Free NZ

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
Jul 20, 2017
New Zealand Scoop

New Zealand-owned tree biotechnology company ArborGen faces near unanimous opposition to commercial deregulation of their genetically engineered eucalyptus trees. On 5 July, the US Department of Agriculture received an astounding 280,000 individual comments, as well as 500 organisations representing millions of people around the world, all opposing this deregulation. Only 3 comments were submitted in favour. This avalanche of comments came a mere 75 days after the USDA publicly released their draft Environmental Impact Statement on ArborGen’s request for deregulation. "Such overwhelming opposition sends a clear message to USDA that GE eucalyptus trees must be rejected–a message the agency can no longer ignore," said Jon Carapiet, spokesman for GE-free ND. "Arborgen is a poor for fit with Brand New Zealand and undermines our international reputation."

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Pressure builds to stop logging

By Karen Hunt

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
Jul 19, 2017
The West Australian

Nannup residents met with members of the Greens Party on Thursday as they continued to press for a moratorium on logging of Barrabup Forest. The forest, located 5km from the town centre, is top of the list on the Forest Products Commission’s 2017 logging schedule and expected to yield 13,500cubic metres of jarrah. However, plans to log 530ha of Barrabup have been halted pending an assessment of its old growth status. Conservationists say it is one of few high conservation value jarrah forests left near Nannup that has not been intensively logged, with rich indigenous and non-indigenous heritage. Greens South West MLC Diane Evers said Barrabup could be worth more left untouched, pointing to previous commission losses from native forestry.

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Mothers vs. loggers: the destruction of Białowieża Forest splits Poland

By Rachel Fritts

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
Jul 19, 2017
Mongabay

In a recently logged clearing outside Krakow, Poland, a woman sits on a tree stump, nursing her child. She looks down affectionately, her purple knitted cap and magenta jacket vividly defined against the subdued brown hues of the surrounding arboreal graveyard. She is not alone. Several other women are dotted about the clearing, sitting on tree stumps of their own. Each mother holds a child in her arms. These are the women who speak for the trees. Matki Polki na wyrębie or “Polish Mothers at the Felling” is a grassroots group of local mothers formed earlier this year to protest newly intensified logging practices that are slashing their way across the Eastern European country. ...In March 2016, Polish environment minister Jan Szyszko green-lighted a three-fold logging increase in Białowieża, the largest of Europe’s last old-growth forests.

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Great Progress with PEFC Eco-Certification of NZ Forests

By the NZ Forest Certification Association

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
Jul 20, 2017
Scoop.co.nz

Illegal forest management practices are a global problem. Governments and markets around the world are increasingly requiring proof of legality for harvested wood products. . ...PEFC certification became available in New Zealand in 2016. This followed the recognition of New Zealand Forest Certification Association (NZFCA) as the PEFC national governing body for New Zealand in early 2015. PEFC endorsement for the New Zealand forest certification scheme based around the New Zealand Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (NZS AS 4708) was achieved at the end of 2015. In the last month, three forestry companies (RMS Forests Ltd., (the former Wellington Regional Council forests), Hancock Forest Management NZ Ltd., and Timberlands Ltd.) have achieved PEFC certification for over 400,000 hectares of forest - about 20% of NZ’s plantation forest estate.

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Koala habitat in northern NSW destroyed by logging, environmentalists claim

By Greg Miskelly

Categories: Forestry
Region: International
Jul 19, 2017
ABC News Australia

A koala habitat 50 per cent larger than the Royal National Park has been destroyed by logging, according to a new conservation report. The report titled Clearing Koalas Away by conservationist Dailan Pugh, says more than 23,000 hectares of koala habitat near Coffs Harbour has been "virtually cleared". "They're hitting them really hard. We're looking at about 40 per cent of koala habitat in state forests," he said. "Their own modelling is showing these areas are important but they're ignoring that. Mr Pugh, an environmentalist for over 40 years, sourced the forestry data under freedom of information (FOI) legislation, in a bid to measure logging against known koala habitats.

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Forest Fires

Not a lot of wild left in Princeton area wildfire

By Blaine Gaffney

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Global News

After burning for two weeks, the wildfire just north of Princeton is a flicker of its former self. “Things are going excellent and we’re making great progress,” said Deputy Incident Commander Brent Zbaraschuk on Thursday. The fire size is holding steady at 33 square kilometres and containment is now estimated at 80 per cent. “We’re working on the last couple of locations we feel are critical to containment on this fire,” said Operations Section Chief Kevin Buettner. Ten bucketing helicopters are assigned to the wildfire, 16 pieces of heavy equipment are available, and 168 firefighters have laid out 34 kilometres of hose line. On Thursday, ground crews were working inwards from the blaze perimeter, using water lines and hand tools to snuff out smouldering hot spots.

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BC Wildfires Update: Thursday, July 20

By Kyle Balzer

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
My Prince George Now

The number of wildfires burning across British Columbia has slightly increased to 152, with 12 new ones starting on Wednesday. Since April 1st, the BC Wildfire Service has battled a total of 688 fires, burning 405,000 hectares at a cost of nearly $112 million. Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek explains the money being used is for direct wildfire response. “That does not reflect costs from elsewhere in government or the broader societal costs of the situation we’ve got on hand here. In terms of the hectares number, that’s a mix of growth on some fires and also some more accurate mapping as well.” There are currently 27 fires of note, while 15 of them are still posing threats to communities in the Cariboo region.

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Sunshine Village closed to visitors as crews battle nearby wildfire

By Heidi Pearson

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Global News

Visitors at Sunshine Village will be packing up and heading out on Friday, as the lodge is being closed to guests until further notice as crews continue to battle a still-out-of-control wildfire. The village will be closed as of noon on Friday, July 21, and will be converted to a staging ground for Parks Canada firefighting crews, the agency said Thursday. The fire is burning in Kootenay National Park and has spread further into Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and is currently about 2.5 kilometres from Sunshine Park. While it’s not spreading toward any communities or infrastructure, Parks Canada is taking proactive steps to keep it that way. “The fire has not moved in that area in over two days,” said Parks Canada incident commander Rick Kubian.

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Australian firefighters bring experience to the B.C. wildfire battle

By Jennifer Beinberg

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Surrey Now Leader

A group of 53 Australian firefighting specialists touched down in B.C. Thursday at the Pacific Regional Training Centre in Chilliwack before heading out to fight wildfires across B.C. There are an estimated 140 fires still burning, according to the BC Wildfire Service, and more than 35,000 people were out of their homes as of Wednesday. The actual trees and bears in B.C. may be quite different from what they’re used to, but the Australians deal with similar types of fuel loads and wind-driven wildfire situations, said Barry Scott, an aerial operations branch director from Australia.

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Canadian Forces sending 225 more troops to help with B.C. wildfires

By Liam Britten

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
CBC News

About 225 more Canadian Forces personnel will be coming to B.C. to help with wildfire response. At a media briefing Thursday morning, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the troops will relieve RCMP officers guarding the roadblocks, which will allow them to take on other responsibilities. "There's a lot of tired people who need a break, to spell out, and the fact that we're getting these ... Canadian Forces personnel is a big help," Farnworth said, while also praising volunteers, firefighters and others helping with wildfire response. The new personnel, based out of Edmonton, will join the 150 Canadian Forces members already in B.C. helping to fight the multitude of wildfires raging across the Interior.  Farnworth was joined by Forests Minister Doug Donaldson who said the new government has been in touch with its predecessors and the federal government on fire response. 

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B.C. wildfire status Thursday: officials confirm 41 homes lost in the Cariboo

By Amy Judd

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Global News

...So far, the fires have cost the province more than $105 million. Officials in the Cariboo confirm at least 41 homes have been lost so far due to the wildfires. Some structures have already been lost as well. Crews are now going into communities hit by the fires to assess the overall damage. They say it’s likely the numbers will only go up. Assessments have already been conducted in the Wildwood area, Spokin Lake, Miocene, 108 Mile Ranch, 105 Mile and 103 Mile Road West. The Soda Creek Road area has not been assessed at this time due to the encroaching wildfire. More assessments will have to be done in the coming weeks.

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Strong winds, lightning pose threat to B.C. wildfire relief

By Daksha Rangan

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
The Weather Network

Fear of thunderstorms has firefighters on alert as B.C.'s wildfire emergency continues, with hundreds of thousands of hectares burned and numerous evacuations in the Interior. With more than 120 wildfires burning as of 2 a.m. PT on Thursday, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced the province would be extending its state of emergency by two weeks. "Scattered showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday potentially created news fires withing the Cariboo region," The Weather Network meteorologist Erin Wenckstern says. "Now, an upper-low moving onshore Vancouver Island [Thursday] morning will bring an increase in showers and thunderstorms for most of B.C. through the day," Wenckstern adds.

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Our love and hate for fire

By Neil Godbout, Editor in Chief 

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Prince George Citizen

Fire is supposed to be our friend. ...Yet we've always been wary of fire, too. ...The forests have developed their own relationship with fire. ...We fight to save our homes and our properties but we are humbled by the sound. Evacuees close enough to hear what a forest fire sounds like will never forget it. To some, it sounds like a huge waterfall, suggesting the massive energy and flow behind it. To others, it sounds like the deep roar of a beast on the loose. We will wrestle this beast to the ground. We will return to our homes to rebuild.

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Paciejewski has had close-up view of wildfires

By Jason Peters

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Prince George Citizen

Cole Paciejewski is in his seventh season of fighting forest fires. The tinder-dry summer of 2017 is the worst level of destruction he has seen. "Definitely," said the 23-year-old Prince George resident. "2015 was pretty bad - I worked very steady in 2015 but I've never seen this many fires pop up at once so it's pretty scary to see. "The amount of large fires we have burning all at once right now is unbelievable. And it's only the middle of July right now - I imagine there's going to be more." ..."I'm trained in hover exiting so I can actually hang off the skids of a helicopter and can get dropped into places," he said. "I'm a first-responder on most wildfires and our job is to kind of stop them before they grow to the point where you'd see them on the news. We're pretty successful when it comes to that."

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Second wave of Island firefighters joins Interior fray

By Katie Derosa

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Victoria Times Colonist

As Premier John Horgan extends B.C.’s wildfire state of emergency by two weeks, Island firefighters continue to help keep flames away from homes and protect key infrastructure in the Interior. A second deployment of firefighters from across Greater Victoria has been sent to high-risk areas of the Interior where fires continue to rage. Firefighters from View Royal, North Saanich, Saanich and Sidney were instrumental in saving several lumber mills around Williams Lake stocked with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of logs. The mills employ hundreds of people.

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Forest fire in Glacier national park now at 1100 hectares

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
Revelstoke Mountaineer

The Mountain Creek fire in Glacier national park has grown to about 1,100 hectares in size as of Wednesday, July 19. It’s one of nine fires in the park touched of since July 10. Parks Canada spokesperson Shelley Bird said that crews are managing the fire with fire, using helicopters to light new fires around its perimeters to burn up fuel and slow the spread of the fire and eventually contain it. The fire is within the boundaries of the park and is not threatening any infrastructure at this point. Cool air in recent days has aided the fire suppression efforts, but the mass is expected to lift tonight, but potential lightning storms are in the forecast, causing concern about new fire starts.

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The 'Postmen' ship supplies to communities impacted by wildfires

By Tara Sprickerhoff 

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
BC Local News

...Kristopher Mercer got to work mobilizing a network of organizations and volunteers who fall under the banner "The Postmen" in order to start shipping food and supplies towards the Cariboo. The group started in 2016 in response to the Fort McMurray fires. Mercer, who hails originally from Fort McMurray, got a call from his brother saying people were on the highway needed fuel. Mercer made his way up, putting a message onto social media that he was on his way. By the end of the trip, he says, there was a convoy of people passing out donations to those stuck on the roads. From there the group expanded, helping evacuees across Alberta. When Mercer saw the need in B.C., he volunteered his and the group's experience and network to aid wildfire victims throughout the province.

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Bulkley Valley joins wildfire effort

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
BC Local News

Even though the wildfires are many hours away by road, local resources are being used to help battle the raging forest fires in B.C.'s Interior. Smithers firefighters are currently battling the flames in the Interior. The team of four firefighters were deployed last Thursday evening to Cache Creek along with a firetruck and pickup truck. The four men who volunteered to help in the effort are Ian Smith, Sean Rowell, Kasper Green and Nathan Combs. ...The Salvation Army's Smithers' location is helping out in Prince George, offering evacuees support. "We're providing emotional, spiritual care and … they're helping out with food services. They're giving out clothing vouchers," said Tim Sharp, director of the Bulkley Valley Salvation Army. ...The Red Cross is asking for cash donations to help it organize relief such as cots, blankets, family reunification and financial assistance for food, clothing and personal needs. ...Smithers Fire Rescue released instructions on how to prepare for an emergency should something happen locally. 

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Nature Conservancy of Canada closes access to lands due to fire risk

By Ezra Black

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
BC Local News

In response to the extreme fire situation, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is suspending public recreational access to all its lands in the province, including two in the Fernie area. The organization announced the precautionary measure on July 18 to minimize the chance of human-caused wildfires, said Lesley Marian Neilson, the organization's engagement manager. "We hope this is a short term suspension of access," she said. "But we'll have to wait and see what happens with the situation on the ground."

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Okanagan Centre fire evacuation order lifted

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
BC Local News

The last Lake Country residents impacted by Saturday's wildfire are heading home. The Okanagan Centre fire evacuation order was rescinded for 58 properties on Nighthawk, Long and Tyndall roads at 8 a.m. Wednesday. ..."They should be prepared to leave on short notice," states COEO. Ground crews will continue extinguishing spot fires and conducting danger assessments and falling trees in fire impacted areas throughout the day Wednesday. The public must stay out of fire-affected areas for their own safety and obey all warning and hazards signs. Parks, trails and public and private lands in the area of the fire remain closed, including Jack Seaton Park and trails.

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'Get out there, get 'er done and, of course, be safe': Tiny Riske Creek, B.C., fights the fire

By Briar Stewart

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
CBC News

In the tiny central B.C. community of Riske Creek, logging and ranching are a way of life, but in recent days, many of the 90 or so residents have found themselves on the front line of one of the largest fires in the province. "It's just a nightmare," said Evan Fuller, a logger who is used to working with heavy equipment but has spent the past week and half learning the ropes of fighting wildfires. "Long nights and tiresome days." Even though Riske Creek is under an evacuation order, many residents have stayed behind, and Fuller says those who didn't "got their butts back here to help stop the fire." Equipped with water bladders, pumps and hoses, the residents have been defending houses and bolstering fireguards.

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Steep terrain and underground fires hinder containment of Green Mountain wildfire

By Wil Fundal

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
CBC News

The steep terrain, high winds, tinder dry conditions and deep root systems have made life difficult for crews fighting the Green Mountain wildfire, roughly 25 kilometres southeast of Quesnel, B.C. Officials believe dry lightning sparked this 520 hectare fire. Despite aerial attacks and ground crews, the forest fire remains only 60 per cent contained. Jordan Mack and his crew are part of the 140 fire rangers from Ontario helping B.C. fight the fires. "It's very challenging. The fire can hide underground and you can't see it at first sight a lot of the time," said Mack. He says his fire axe is one way to check the root system for fires. But Mack says he and his crew are often on their hands and knees checking the ground. "If you smell smoke, you kind of know something's [underground]. Another technique we have is feeling the hot spots. It's a slow, slow process." Mack says the British Columbia backcountry is challenging.

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Verdant Creek wildfire in Kootenay National Park within 2 km of Sunshine Village

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
CBC News

A forest fire raging in Kootenay National Park is about two kilometres away from Sunshine Village ski resort, but there are no plans at this point for an evacuation. There are about 150 guests and 100 staff at the lodge, which stays open during the summer for hikers, says chief operating officer Dave Riley. Riley says he's in touch with Parks Canada officials a couple times a day for updates on the fire, which was sparked on Sunday by a lightning strike in the Verdant Creek area. "At this time, we're just standing by. We are in full operation with the hotel and restaurants, but the hiking trails are not open," he said.Riley says there are sprinklers and pumps in place to protect the buildings if that becomes necessary.

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Editorial: Hot times

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada East
Jul 19, 2017
The Telegram Newfoundland and Labrador

What a difference a day makes. Monday, there was only one area of the province where the provincial forestry service was forecasting “very high” forest fire risk in its new forest fire index. By Tuesday morning, 12 regions — including almost all of central Newfoundland and a good chunk of the area monitored in Labrador — were forecast to soon be at “very high” and three regions in Labrador were forecast as “extreme.” The only area left in the province expected to remain at “moderate” was a section of the Great Northern Peninsula. The recently introduced web-based service — you can find it here http://www.faa.gov.nl.ca/forestry/forest_fires/ — is a great idea, because you can see at a moment not only what the risks are, but where active fires are burning. But the current fire forecast is only part of the story. With the most recent changes to the weather forecast for many parts of the province, reducing the chance of rain showers and forecasting continued high temperatures, it’s likely the fire risks will continue to rise.

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Northwestern Ontario's biggest forest fire still burns

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: Canada; Canada East
Jul 19, 2017
TB Newswatch

THUNDER BAY -- The largest forest fire of the year in the Northwest continues to burn in a remote area about 300 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. Dubbed Nipigon 09 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the fire has burned across an area of more than 10,000 hectares since it was sparked by a lightning strike on July 1. The fire is located about 28 kilometres northwest of Eabametoong First Nation (Fort Hope). A ministry spokesperson told Tbnewswatch there are no logging operations in the area. No waterbombers are currently assigned to the fire but there are fire rangers on the ground. According to a ministry news release, the ministry has employed what it calls "a modified response with limited suppression being performed on sections of the fire."

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The Latest: California wildfire destroys 50 homes

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 20, 2017
Associated Press in The Washington Post

MARIPOSA, Calif. — The Latest on the wildfires burning in the west (all times local): State fire officials say a huge wildfire in foothills west of Yosemite has now destroyed 50 homes and 49 other structures. The California Department of Forestry and Fire protection confirmed the new destruction near the Gold Rush town of Mariposa late Thursday. The blaze has also damaged 11 homes and five other structures. It was not clear whether the homes were newly burned or just newly discovered as firefighters work on the blaze that started Sunday. The fire’s size has not significantly changed, remaining at about 109 square miles (282 square kilometers) with 10 percent containment.

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Fire burning near East Entrance to Yellowstone growing

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 20, 2017
The Billings Gazette

A fire burning near the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park has grown to an estimated 2,000 acres. The June fire spread quickly on Wednesday, boosted by gusting winds, hot and dry conditions and low fuel moisture in dense beetle-killed tree stands. The fire started about 1.5 miles south of Highway 14/16/20 — in the North Fork Shoshone River drainage west of Cody, Wyoming — and has now spread throughout the June Creek drainage. Firefighting resources battling the blaze included two heavy (Type 1) helicopters, one light helicopter, two single engine air tankers, two fire engines and approximately 100 personnel.

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Will Colorado Communities Adapt to Climate-Driven Wildfire?

By Josh Schlossberg

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 20, 2017
Boulder Weekly

...Wildfire is a natural and vital component of forest ecosystems and crucial for the various species of mammals, birds and other wildlife that have adapted to these landscapes. However, more and more humans moving into forest-edge communities have predictably resulted in a large number of homes destroyed and lives lost. What’s more, over the last four decades, the Western U.S. has experienced a “dramatic increase” in wildfires “tightly correlated” to climate change, according to Tania Schoennagel with the Department of Geography and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at CU. The study, “Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in February, blames climate-driven factors such as “rising temperatures, increased drought, longer fire seasons, and earlier snowmelt” for the uptick in fires.

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New fire evades Lincoln initial attack

By Rob Chaney

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
The Missoulian

Several small wildfires added acreage Wednesday as warm and gusty conditions returned to western Montana. A lightning strike from Tuesday night’s storm ignited the Arrastra fire on the Lincoln Ranger District. It’s now consumed 150 to 200 acres. A 30-person volunteer crew responded to the initial report of smoke on Wednesday morning and nearly had the fire surrounded by ground line, but windy conditions allowed it to escape containment. Forest Service officials plan to fully suppress the fire as soon as resources can be assembled. A community meeting in Lincoln’s Hooper Park is set for 7 p.m. Thursday. About 25 miles southwest of Philipsburg, the Meyers and Whetstone fires are 69 and 374 acres respectively. Both were started by lightning and are completely uncontained. Three 20-person hand crews assisted by two helicopters are on scene.

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Santa Barbara County firefighters progress with wildfire containment

By Joe Payne and Kasey Babnash

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
Santa Barbara Sun

Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Peterson had some good news to share with the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors at its July 18 meeting—the Alamo Fire near Santa Maria was 100 percent contained, and significant progress had been made against the Whittier Fire. At 62 percent containment, that blaze continued to burn in the Santa Ynez Mountains south of Lake Cachuma after charring more than 18,000 acres, destroying 46 structures, and damaging seven others. The threat to neighborhoods, infrastructure, and businesses prompted California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County on July 16.

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Wildfire Roundup For July 19, 2017 MTPR

By Eric Whitney

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
Montana Public Radio

A lightning strike near Lincoln grew into a nearly 200-acre blaze today. The Arrastra Fire is burning in very steep terrain a few drainages west of the 1,800-acre Park Creek Fire. Peri Suenram, public information officer for the Park Creek Fire, says the new blaze is on a steep, heavily timbered hillside burning through beetle-killed trees. "It's still initial attack," Suenram says. "There are 30 people up on the hill and they are using a helicopter on it doing bucket work." Local Forest Service officials decided to fully suppress the fire, given the predicted weather for the next couple of days and other fire activity in the region. Suenram says more lightning is expected to move into the area tomorrow and Friday. A public meeting about the Arrastra Fire is planned for tomorrow (Thur 7/20) at Hooper Park in Lincoln at 7PM.

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Missoula man, 19, dies while fighting forest fire

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
NBC Montana

MISSOULA, Mont. - Grayback Forestry said an employee was killed Wednesday while fighting a forest fire at the Lolo National Forest. "It is with sadness that on July 19 an employee was killed in the line while fighting a forest fire," a news release said. The man, who has not been identified, was 19 years old and lived in Missoula. He died after being struck by a falling tree, the company said. He was part of a 20-person attack crew fighting a fire on the Seeley Ranger District of the national forest, according to the company. No other details surrounding the incident have been released.

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Feds Examine Military Flares In Mysterious Oregon Wildfires

By Tony Schick

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
Oregon Public Broadcasting

Federal and state agencies are investigating a string of wildfires in southeastern Oregon with a potential link to military training exercises. Seven small fires ignited across state and federal lands on July 11, all attributed to human activity — a suspicious pattern that indicates they could be connected, according to federal officials. “The thing that’s a little bit different with this is the number that occurred simultaneously,” said Brett Fay, Assistant Regional Fire Management Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ...A remnant of a military flare was found at one of the areas burned, triggering a call to the Air National Guard, which uses flares in self-defense training exercises over those same areas that burned. Flares are deployed in air combat to draw heat-seeking missiles away from their targets.

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'Extreme And Aggressive' California Wildfires Force Thousands To Evacuate

By Laura Wamsley

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
Oregon Public Broadcasting

A wildfire in the foothills near Yosemite National Park has already consumed eight structures – and is threatening 1,500 more in tiny Mariposa, Calif. The town’s 2,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate, due to the blaze known as the Detwiler Fire, and Gov. Jerry Brown has issued a state of emergency for Mariposa County. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, posted on its website that “firefighters experienced extreme and aggressive fire behavior” on Tuesday. “Firefighters on the ground as well as aircraft are actively working to contain and suppress the fire.” ...Wildfires have been especially prevalent this year. Fires have burned 4.4 million acres so far in 2017, compared with 2.7 million acres over the same period in 2016, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Large fires are currently reported in 12 states, all in the western U.S.

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Forest fires engulf 24,000 hectares in Siberia and Far East

Categories: Forest Fires
Region: International
Jul 21, 2017
TASS Russian News Agency

MOSCOW -  Forest fires in Siberia and in the Far East have grown by 1,000 hectares in one day, covering a total of 24,000 hectares, the Federal Aerial Forest Fire Center reported on Friday. "Total area of wildfires raging in Yakutia has grown by over 1,000 hectares, covering a total of 18,500 hectares. There are also blazes in the Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Buryatia and Krasnoyarsk Regions. The total area of fires is 24,000 hectares," the center reported. The Yakutia Forestry Agency has reported 17 blazes, eight of them in the Vilyisky District (16,500 hectares). "The fires might have been sparked by lighting. Reserve forces of the Federal Aerial Forest Fire Center’s, specialists from aviation departments and forest and chemical stations from eight districts have been deployed to fight fires, as well as the local residents. More than 600 people are combating fires in the region," the agency reported.

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Company & Business News

NAFTA: Donald Trump’s wish list and closing the book on Chapter 19

By Adam Frisk

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; United States
Jul 19, 2017
Global News

U.S. President Donald Trump released a long list of his administration’s objectives in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Monday and among the United States’ goals is the elimination of Chapter 19; the trade dispute panel that has favoured Canada in the past. ...NAFTA’s Chapter 19 dispute panel has heavily favoured Canada in past rulings, including the ongoing softwood lumber dispute. Riyaz Dattu, a lawyer with Osler International Trade and Investment, has been involved in several Chapter 19 review cases. He suggests Canada’s success rate is part of the reason Trump is reviewing the issue. ...“The pivotal industry at this point in time that relies on Chapter 19, because it’s a perennial case that keeps cropping up every few years, is softwood lumber,” Dattu said. “The U.S. on the other hand says that NAFTA is the only agreement where we agreed to this financial panel process, it’s an aberration, it’s been misused, abused and that U.S. courts are the proper venue to review decisions of the Department of Commerce and the U.S. ITC and therefore they want Chapter 19 to go away."

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NAFTA revamp talks will start next month in Washington

By Vicki Needham

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; United States
Jul 19, 2017
The Hill

The first round of negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are set for next month in Washington, D.C. ...John Melle, assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere, will serve as chief negotiator for the NAFTA negotiations. ...Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, on Monday called the administration's negotiating objectives "hopelessly vague" in how the changes would benefit the United States on issues such as intellectual property, investment, currency manipulation and government procurement. ...The Trump administration said a main focus... is to reduce trade deficits among the nations. Trade experts have said that the Trump administration is too preoccupied with imbalances. ...The newer issues reflect Trump's skeptical approach to trade that include eliminating the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism, a move applauded by U.S. Lumber, which is in a long-standing dispute with Canada over the lumber trade. 

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What if there were an election on?

By Neil Godbout

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Prince George Citizen

...The fires would have certainly presented an opportunity for Clark to play the strong leadership card. It would have also given John Horgan and the NDP a golden opportunity to lay blame for the forest fires right at Clark's feet. In 2015, the Forest Practices Board put out a report highly critical of the B.C. Liberal government's efforts at protecting communities from wildfires. The report said the province had done a good job of working with larger municipalities like Prince George to reduce the threat but not nearly enough for smaller communities, like, say, Cache Creek or Ashcroft or 100 Mile House or Williams Lake. ...In 2009, Bob Simpson, the Cariboo North MLA and NDP forestry critic (and now the mayor of Quesnel) complained bitterly that the Liberals were putting communities in danger by not implementing the recommendations from the Filmon report with more urgency. "Bob Simpson frankly should do his research," scoffed the forests minister of the day, Rich Coleman. "He's just throwing out provocative comments."

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West Fraser Announces Second Quarter Results

By West Fraser

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Canada Newswire

VANCOUVER - West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. reports second quarter 2017 results: Second Quarter Highlights:

  • Record sales and operating earnings for the quarter.
  • Earnings up 19% from previous quarter and 49% from the second quarter of 2016.
  • Strong product pricing across operating segments.
  • Quarter ending net debt to capital ratio of 6%.

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Newbie Lloyd would be wise to watch the Wright way

by Vaughn Palmer

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
Vancouver Sun

VICTORIA — When incoming premier John Horgan announced Don Wright as his choice to head the public service, the responses were invariably positive. Deputy minister with NDP and B.C. Liberal governments. Forest industry executive. CEO for the credit unions. Harvard-educated economist. BCIT president. There was no challenging the Wright resume. More than that, were the assurances from the New Democrats that his main task would be to preserve the professionalism of the provincial public service, not preside over a partisan housecleaning. One thing to say it, another to pull it off. ...Tim Sheldan stays in forests where he worked with Steve Thomson and lately John Rustad and, as of Tuesday, New Democrat Doug Donaldson.

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Coast Forest Products Association Congratulates New BC Government

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 19, 2017
Coast Forest Products Association

Coast Forest Products Association would like to take this opportunity to congratulate British Columbia’s 36th premier, John Horgan and his newly sworn in cabinet. Our Association would also like to give special acknowledgement to Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser, Minister of Environment & Climate Change Strategy George Heyman, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training Melanie Mark and Parliamentary Secretary for Trade George Chow. These ministries are significant to the coastal forest sector in that they strongly influence the sector’s ability to continue to be innovative, expand and find new ways to partner with Indigenous Peoples and ever improve the sustainability of our world class forest management and products.

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Regulators asked to weigh in to ensure fair vote on Tembec takeover

By Barry Critchley

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
Jul 20, 2017
National Post

For a prospective buyer, Rayonier Advanced Materials, and for a prospective seller, Tembec, July 19 wasn’t a great day. Indeed it’s a continuation of a number of bad days as market participants weighed in on their planned US$807 million transaction, a deal that’s supposed to be put to Tembec’s shareholders at a meeting next week. As for bad news, Tembec’s two largest shareholders — Oaktree Capital Management and Restructuring Capital Associates which between them own about 37 per cent — have said they won’t support the transaction which requires backing from two-thirds of shareholders. The transaction has also raised the issue of empty voting where a shareholder, in this case Fairfax Financial (at one stage Tembec’s largest) was indicated to support the transaction even though it now has no economic interest in the outcome. 

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Tembec sale? Sounds far from a done deal

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
Jul 19, 2017
Northern Ontario Business

One of the Tembec’s largest shareholders, Oaktree Capital Management, is coming out against the proposed US$320-million sale of the regional forest products giant to Rayonier Advanced Materials, a Florida cellulose maker. The Los Angeles-based investment firm announced July 17 that they intend to line up Tembec shareholders in opposition to the proposed transaction announced on May 25. ...A special meeting of Tembec shareholders is scheduled for July 27. ..."We have held shares in Tembec for almost a decade and are highly supportive of management and the board of directors,” said James Bennett, founder of RCA, in a statement. ...“They have done a terrific job in turning around the company into a profitable and growing enterprise. While they support the Rayonier merger, we are not prepared to vote for the transaction unless Rayonier responds more appropriately to the points made by Oaktree.

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Regulators asked to scrutinize voting for Tembec takeover

By Nicolas Van Praet

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: Canada; Canada East
Jul 19, 2017
The Globe and Mail

A U.S. investment management firm is turning to securities regulators in Ontario and Quebec to address some of its concerns about Rayonier Advanced Materials’ proposed takeover of Tembec Inc., saying there are disturbing questions about the role of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. in the deal. ...The complaints come amid souring prospects for the $807-million (U.S.) transaction. Oaktree and Restructuring Capital Associates, another Tembec shareholder, have both confirmed they oppose the friendly agreement. They say the offer is too low, a view supported by proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis & Co., which is recommending Tembec investors vote against the deal. Oaktree’s appeal to regulators centres on the declaration, made by Tembec and Rayonier when they announced their friendly merger May 25, that Fairfax, a major Tembec shareholder, “is supportive of the transaction.” Fairfax subsequently sold its position in Tembec in the days that followed. 

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US pellet industry increases production by 5.4%

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States
Jul 21, 2017
EUWID

Over the course of the first quarter, a total of 1.727m t pellets were produced by pellet plants in the USA. This represents a 5.4% increase vis à vis the comparative period of the preceding year. According to figures of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) at the U.S. Department of Energy, production of pellets for the heating market and of industrial pellets developed along contradictory lines. Whereas production of industrial pellets increased by 11.5% to 1.364m t in the first three months, production of high quality pellets for the heating market decreased by 12.6% to 362,590t. Contradictory development is also seen in terms of regional distribution of production of pellets for the heating market.

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Trump tariff contributes to lumber price rise

By Tim Silfies

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States
Jul 19, 2017
WFMZ Allentown

The price of lumber is going up. "Drastically," according to Bob Butz, the general manager of People's Coal & Supply Co. in Stockertown. "From early spring until now, approximately 20-25%." The company buys lumber from vendors and sells it. When they pay more, customers pay more. The question is, why are prices rising? For one thing, Mother Nature is not helping. "The fires in British Columbia," said Butz. "These mills are being shut down." But there's also another reason. In April, President Trump put a tax of up to 24 percent on Canadian lumber coming into the United States.

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Housing starts jump as construction, home buying get back on track

By Andrea Riquier

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States
Jul 19, 2017
MarketWatch

Builders broke ground on more homes in June, and figures from a prior month were revised up, allaying fears that the housing recovery had stumbled in the spring. Housing starts were at a 1.22 million seasonally adjusted annual rate, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, 8.3% higher than in May and 2.1% higher for the year. The MarketWatch consensus of economists called for a 1.16 million annual pace. May’s data, originally reported as the lowest in eight months, was revised up to a 1.12 million annual pace. Builders also applied for more permits to construct homes, a good signal of increased activity ahead. Permits, at a pace of 1.25 million, rose 7.4% for the month and 5.1% for the year. Single-family starts were 6.3% higher than in May, a sign builders are prioritizing construction of homes to be purchased, rather than rented.

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Soaring lumber prices a problem for home builders, buyers

By Chris Isidore

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States
Jul 19, 2017
CNN Monday in Binghamton.com

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The price of lumber is soaring, and home builders are worried. Lumber in June cost 17 percent more than it did just a year earlier, and it's even more expensive than during the building boom last decade. ...Strong demand is one reason for rising lumber prices. Housing starts are up 3 percent this year compared with the same period last year, according to the Census Bureau. And building permits are up twice as much, showing more building plans in the pipeline. But the Trump administration has also proposed a tariff of up to 24 percent on Canadian lumber. The administration says the Canadian government creates an unfair advantage by subsidizing the lumber industry. The trade group believes such a tariff could drive up the price of an average home by $3,000. 

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Senate Fails to Override Veto of Jackson Bill to Support Maine’s Loggers

By Ben Ezzy

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: United States; US East
Jul 20, 2017
WAGM

The Maine Senate on Thursday upheld a veto by Gov. LePage of a bill that would have supported Maine loggers by giving preference in state contracts to timber harvest in Maine by in-state contractors. The bill —LD 1573 "An Act To Encourage Development in the Logging Industry by Requiring State and Local Government Agencies To Give Preference to Timber Harvested in the State" — was sponsored by Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, a fifth-generation logger whose family still works in Maine’s forests to this day. A 14-16 vote to override the veto fell short of the two-thirds threshold necessary to enact the law over the governor's objection.The bill is now dead.

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Log levy still in the mix

By John Jones

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: International
Jul 21, 2017
The Gisborne Herald

CLAIMS that a levy on all logs brought to the port of Gisborne would not work failed to convince the District Council’s Future Tairawhiti Committee yesterday. The idea will be investigated. The levy was one option staff proposed in a report on roading funding, seen as a possible way to fund the $25 million expected to be needed for log extraction over district roads in the next 10 years. Pat Seymour said not enough thought had gone into the levy option and it was simply not going to work. “A levy over the port is not going to capture all the timber that grows in our forests.

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No wider problems behind timber deal, says Lesley Griffiths

Categories: Company & Business News
Region: International
Jul 19, 2017
BBC News

A controversial timber deal has not revealed wider problems at Natural Resources Wales, according to the environment secretary. Lesley Griffiths made her comments despite damning criticism from AMs. They said Natural Resources Wales (NRW) had been "in denial" and showed "arrogance" when criticised by the assembly's Public Accounts Committee. It followed NRW's decision to sell timber to a sawmill company for £39m without a proper business case. The 10-year contract was signed with BSW Timber in 2014, but has now been cancelled after the company failed to open a new saw line as expected. In a Senedd debate, Ms Griffiths said the committee had "highlighted some weaknesses".

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Paying poor landowners not to cut trees a cheap way to save forests

By Chris Arsenault

Categories: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International
Jul 20, 2017
CBC News

As environmentalists debate how best to preserve the world's dwindling forests, a study published on Thursday offered a simple solution: pay land owners in poor countries not to cut down the trees. Deforestation dropped by more than half in Ugandan villages where land owners were paid about $28 per hectare each year if they preserved their trees, according to the study from U.S. researchers published in the journal Science. The benefits of paying land owners to preserve forests were more than two times greater than the cost of the program when it comes to protecting forests and tackling climate change which is exacerbated by deforestation, said the two-year study. ..."When you think of the damage done by climate change, paying people to conserve forests is cost effective," said Northwestern University economist Seema Jayachandran, the study's lead author.

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Wood & Paper Products & Green Building

Building code means Vancouver highrises avoid Grenfell fate

By Warren Frey

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: Canada; Canada West
Jul 20, 2017
Journal of Commerce

Don't expect a repeat of the London highrise fire in Vancouver, thanks to strict building codes and fire protection standards. The Grenfell Tower fire in London, England resulted in a tragic loss of life and created international headlines. In the days after the fire it was determined the building's cladding played a part in accelerating the spread of the blaze throughout the highrise. But according to City of Vancouver officials, measures are in place to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the Lower Mainland. ...For buildings without sprinklers over three storeys in building height, combustible cladding systems are not permitted, according to the provincial government. ...Wood buildings are built differently than traditional structures, but once built are as safe as any other form of building, Ryan stated. "The risk of a fire is during construction, but once drywall is in place and sprinklers are installed, it's no different," he said.

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Hexion Launches New Two-Component Adhesive for Structural Engineered Wood Lamination

By Hexion Inc.

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: United States; US West
Jul 20, 2017
Business Wire

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hexion Inc. has introduced a new two-component adhesive system that reduces waste and cleanup costs, enhances durability and supports indoor air quality. This adhesive system, which includes the Ecobind™ 6500 resin and Wonderbond™ Hardener M650Y, is ideal for applications like cross-laminated timbers for tall wood buildings and glue-laminated wood beams. “To ensure the lasting durability and performance of these sustainable engineered wood materials, we have had this new adhesive tested by multiple third party organizations.” The two components are extruded separately and then mixed when the wood is pressed together. This unique feature provides the user with reduced costs for adhesive waste and cleanup off equipment. 

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Weyerhaeuser will spend millions to fix stinky wood in homes

By Nuoya Zhou

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: United States; US West
Jul 19, 2017
Puget Sound Business Journal

Weyerhaeuser Co. says it will spend $50 million to $60 million to remove or remediate foul-smelling wood in about 2,200 homes. The source of the stink is recent formula change to Flak Jacket coating product that included formaldehyde-based resin. The fire resistant coating was used on wood floor joists in basements. Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser says it has stopped production, sales and shipments of the product and is taking back unused product from consumers. "Most of the houses are not yet occupied," the lumber company said in a news release. ...Formaldehyde can give off a “pickle-like” smell, according to Consumer's Report. ..."We deeply regret the disruption and inconvenience this situation has caused," Weyerhaeuser President and CEO Doyle Simons said in the news release.

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Evolving construction putting firefighters in greater danger

By Courtney Friedman

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: United States; US East
Jul 20, 2017
KSAT 12

SAN ANTONIO - Firefighting is an evolving career and adapting is essential when someone's life depends on it.  Construction has changed. Buildings are now more efficient and eco-friendly. That is great for many community members, but most people don't realize it puts firefighters in much more danger.  "If you look at the traditional woods, mill wood, lumber, things they used to build houses with, and then they would fill in the gaps with plaster, with lath materials to make it insulated. Those things are still in the city here but the majority of our construction is lightweight modern construction," San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood explained. "You see about 65 percent of homes that are built with lightweight construction, it’s cheaper, it’s more effective as far as energy consumption, it’s really good in harsh environments."

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Artisan knife maker handcrafts knives from 'lost' Tasmanian trees as demand for utensils grows

By Larissa Romensky

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: International
Jul 21, 2017
ABC News, Australia

With cooking becoming an obsession for many people, the demand for utensils has also increased, and one Castlemaine artisan knife maker is meeting the demand. Todd Neale thinks most people will hold a knife at least once a day, making it important that the indispensable kitchen item is made well. ...For the handles, wood is used to create the "personality" of the knife. After starting by using offcuts from a local chopping board maker in Bendigo, he now uses mainly rediscovered Tasmanian timber salvaged from the depths of a lake in west Tasmania. The "lost" buried wood comes from the flooded forest that lies beneath Lake Pieman, a result of the damming of the Pieman River more than 25 years ago to create hydro-electricity. Species of Tasmanian myrtle, sassafras and Huon pine lay preserved beneath the water's surface.

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First look at 16-storey landmark building planned for Bath Road riverside site in Totterdown

ByTristan Cork

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: International
Jul 21, 2017
Bristol Post

Residents of Totterdown have cast their eyes over fresh plans for what could be a landmark location on the Bath Road – a 16-storey tower block development right next to the River Avon. Developer Hadley Property Group unveiled their plans for a derelict former petrol station site between the A4 and the river, right next to the Totterdown Bridge across to St Philips, at an exhibition event in the nearby Paintworks complex. ...He said the new homes would be linked to the Paintworks site next door, and would be made with cross-laminated timber, and be highly sustainable.

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Unassuming buildings lead way on Riba architecture shortlist

By Edwin Heathcote

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: International
Jul 19, 2017
Financial Times

A photographer’s studio, a home in north London and an events building on Hastings pier are all on an intriguing and unpredictable shortlist for this year’s Riba Stirling prize for excellence in architecture. ...One residential building, however, does appear on the list, a slender, gabled apartment house with distinctive wicker balconies. Built in London’s fiercely gentrified Stoke Newington, the brick-clad building is actually constructed from Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), a prefabricated panel that has become a greener alternative to concrete or steel structures. Also built using CLT is a new events space on the rather sorry-looking Hastings Pier.

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Wood be good: Why top Australian architects love timber for building homes

By Paul Best

Categories: Wood & Paper Products & Green Building
Region: International
Jul 19, 2017
Domain

John Wardle Architects readily admits to being “obsessed” with using timber in residential designs. “Every piece is different and unique,” says Diego Bekinschtein, who oversees the Melbourne practice’s residential houses sector. JWA‘s affection for wood reflects the attraction of many to this medium. Even in the face of our love for a more clinical modern aesthetic, we have an on-going attachment to this most ancient of building materials. Sydney architect James Fitzpatrick says this ardour for the arboreal speaks to our affinity for the natural world. “We’re becoming aware of the biophilic nature of timber,” he says. “We just prefer a lovely timber window over aluminum.” Scientific research backs this up – studies have found we feel healthier and happier both physically and mentally surrounded by wood. “Wellbeing is the buzzword with timber,” says Andrew Dunn, head of the Timber Development Association, which oversees the Australian Timber Design Awards. “It makes you calmer.”

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