Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: May 5, 2016

Business & Politics

Global Forest, Paper and Packaging Industry: Market fundamentals continue to improve

Industry merger and acquisition activity increases in 2015
Canada Newswire press release
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, – Mixed prices and demand for commodities, as well as currency volatility continues to affect the performance of the global forest, paper and packaging industry. However, the building product sector fundamentals remain optimistic, with steadily improving US housing starts up 6% in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the annualized starts in December 2014. “What we saw in 2015 is the markets starting to stabilize. If we look ahead, the US housing market continues to improve, which has resulted in stronger lumber prices in the first quarter of 2016,” said Kevin Bromley, Partner and PwC Canadian Forest, Paper and Packaging Leader. “Pulp and paper have remained stable in the first quarter of 2016, although significant new global production is coming online later in the year.” “

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BC’s Logging Associations Convene In Vernon To Defend Contractor Sustainability

Truck Loggers Association
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Concerns over the viability of small business logging companies have prompted two forestry trade organizations to work together to seek solutions. The Truck Loggers Association (TLA) board will meet with the Interior Logging Association (ILA) board to discuss contractor sustainability and what must be done to build contractor sustainability in BC’s forest industry. The meeting comes in advance of the ILA’s 58th Annual Conference & Trade Show amid growing financial pressures on independent contractors and communities across BC as a result of tenure consolidation.  David Elstone, TLA Executive Director says “tenure consolidation has allowed major tenure holders to squeeze timber harvesting contractors, their workers and suppliers to the verge of bankruptcy.” 

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Former Emmett sawmill owner paid fines following 2015 loss-of-limb accident

Idaho Statesman
May 4, 2016
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West


Gem Forest Products paid $10,800 in fines following an accident in July 2015 that left an employee without an arm. An OSHA investigation resulted in six serious safety violations for failing to prevent the accident. At the time, the mill operations manager told the Statesman that the 24-yar-old male employee put his hand in the head of a moving conveyor for unknown reasons. The sawmill, which has had a rocky history of closing and reopening, closed in December 2015 before Woodgrain Willwork of Fruitland purchased it the following month. The mill is scheduled to reopen this year. END OF STORY

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Forestry

Forest week kicks-off Alberta Special Weeks in the month of May

Peace River Record Gazette
May 5, 2016
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Peace River is welcoming Alberta Forest Week from May 1-7, a part of province-wide celebrations in celebration of Alberta’s Special Weeks 2016. “During this time of celebrating our forest, Agriculture and Forestry will deliver close to 70,000 tree seedlings to Grade 1 students throughout the province,” said Crystal Burrows, area information coordinator for the Peace River Forest Area. “(This is) a long-standing tradition to teach the value of trees and their contribution to the Alberta way of life.” Burrows will be presenting and working with Environment and Parks to present Alberta Forest week in the Peace River area.

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Forest Fires

Alberta Forest Fire Halts Shell Oil-Sands Operation

By CHESTER DAWSON
Wall Street Journal
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

CALGARY, Alberta—Raging forest fires in Canada’s oil-rich province of Alberta forced the evacuation of nearly 80,000 people, devastating the remote town at the hub of the country’s oil-sands industry and threatening to further burden a sector already plagued by low energy prices. Some 76,000 people evacuated from Fort McMurray, 270 miles north of Alberta’s capital Edmonton, to shelters hundreds of miles north and south of the town, officials said, revising an earlier estimate of 88,000. “We had a devastating day yesterday and we’re preparing for a bad day today,” said Darby Allen, the town’s regional fire chief, at a news briefing Wednesday. He said there were no known casualties or injuries. The uncontrolled blaze shut down one major oil-sands mining operation on Wednesday and forced another to curtail production. 

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Don’t make ‘a political argument out of one particular disaster’: Trudeau refuses to link fire to climate change

By LEE BERTHIAUME
Ottawa Citizen
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned against trying to link the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray to climate change, while pledging that the federal government will do everything possible to help the city and Alberta. …“While the full extent of the damage isn’t yet known, we certainly do know that for those who have been affected, this fire is absolutely devastating,” Trudeau said during a press conference called to talk about his government’s record. “It’s a loss on a scale that is hard for many of us to imagine. …But Trudeau refused to wade into the question of whether climate change was specifically responsible for the wildfires. He said trying to link any specific natural disaster to climate change is not helpful, and the better measure is to identify whether the number and scope of disasters is increasing.

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Fort McMurray’s horrifying experience shows humans can’t stand in nature’s way

By Don Pittis – a forest fire fighter for nearly a decade, studied forestry at Lakehead University before switching to economics and journalism.
CBC News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

In nearly a decade of being paid to fight forest fires, I rarely experienced the intensity of the fire that the people of Fort McMurray witnessed this week. And while I have felt in terror for my life, I have certainly never seen such economic destruction. It’s not because such giant conflagrations are so rare. It’s because firefighters only get that close to the roaring, moving head of a large forest fire when things have gone badly wrong. Canada has thousands of fires every year, but the giant ones seldom come close to communities as big as Fort McMurray. …Firefighters standing in front of the blaze would suffocate as the fire consumes the oxygen and replaces it with smoke. That’s why, despite economic damage, they must be pulled out. 

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Alberta’s aging forests increase risk of ‘catastrophic fires’: 2012 report

Edmonton Journal
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Alberta’s aging forest puts our communities at ever greater risk of wildfires, said the Alberta government’s expert committee on containing wildfires. In 1971, more than half of Alberta’s boreal forest was deemed to be young, with about a third immature, five per cent mature and a small portion deemed “overmature”. By 2011, that had changed to less than 10 per cent young, about a quarter immature, more than 40 per cent mature, and more than 20 per cent overmature. “Before major wildfire suppression programs, boreal forests historically burned on an average cycle ranging from 50 to 200 years as a result of lightning and human-caused wildfires,” the panel found in a report released in 2012. “Wildfire suppression has significantly reduced the area burned in Alberta’s boreal forest. However, due to reduced wildfire activity, forests of Alberta are aging, which ultimately changes ecosystems and is beginning to increase the risk of large and potentially costly catastrophic wildfires.”

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B.C. battling double the number of wildfires seen last year at this time

Province says crews here must focus on B.C. and can’t be sent to Alberta
CBC News
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

There are 85 wildfires currently burning. Seven of them have been classified by the B.C. Wildfire Service as notable and have prompted several evacuation alerts. Since April 1, there have been 203 wildfires with more than 23,000 hectares burned. “Those numbers are unusually high for this time of year,” provincial fire information officer Kevin Skrepnik said. “We’re [at] nearly twice the number of fires that we’ve responded to for this time of year and in terms of hectares we’re almost 20 times above average for where we would normally be for this time of year.”

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Following the Slave Lake fire, Alberta devised a plan to contain wildfires — but is it working?

Edmonton Journal
May 4, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Alberta government is taking the right steps to fight Alberta’s inevitable wildfires, says Tom Burton, one of four experts who led a review panel on the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire. The panel came up with recommendations in 2012 to prevent damage from such infernos. It proposed developing quick-response firefighting specialists, having more widespread fire bans, forest area closures and elevated fines during extreme weather, and also doing more work on fire prevention through the province’s FireSmart committee. The former government took the recommendations “very seriously” and provided more money for prevention, Burton says.

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Forest fire concerns growing in Manitoba

Global News
May 5, 2016
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

WINNIPEG — Manitoba has had half the normal number of forest fires so far this year, but officials worry things are about to change. Gary Friesen, manager of the provincial fire program, says dry weather and winds in the forecast are expected to create some challenges, but nothing on the scale of what is being seen in Alberta. Still, he says, conditions are dry enough that Manitoba is not able to contribute water bombers and other equipment to Alberta at this time. With the season just starting, about 90 firefighters are ready for duty and more are being trained next week.

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