Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: July 6, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Wood scores well in Wellness Building Standard

Tree Frog Forestry News
July 6, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Although the environmental benefits of wood are “even more apparent in the latest version of LEED’s green building certification”, architects and builders are increasingly focused on “wellness”, according to a feature story in Architectural Record. Wellness can be measured with the WELL Building Standard and wood solutions score high on acoustics, resistance to heat and cold, biophilia and olfactory comfort.

In thinking about wood, Springfield’s mayor Christine Lundberg was focused on how she could help revive a struggling sector, according to a story that “shines a light on Montana’s mass timber potential.” In Oregon, politicians wanted to make their state the model for CLT development and Timm Locke of the Oregon Forest Resource Institute reports that “in 2015, there were 19 mass timber projects in the US. In 2016, there were 91.

In business news, the Missoulian has a feature story titled “what a difference a president makes”, with a focus on “private property rights and access to public lands”. Bottom line: “the political winds changed when the new sheriff came to town”.

Finally, forest fires in the news include Penticton, BC; Kernville, California; Colorado’s Breckenridge Ski Resort and the Kootenai and Medicine Bow National Forests. 

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Business & Politics

No layoffs expected in Burns Lake area sawmills

Burns Lake Lakes District News
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

…Steve Zika, CEO of Hampton Affiliates – company that owns Babine Forest Products and Decker Lake Forest Products, said he doesn’t anticipate any changes to the company’s operating plans in 2017. “As long as the global lumber market stays strong, we do not expect any layoffs from the trade duties at Babine and Decker Lake,” he said. Zika said Hampton Affiliates might benefit from having operations on both sides of the border. “The Hampton sawmills in the U.S. may benefit in the short-term from restrictions on Canadian lumber, but we support a negotiated agreement that is fair to both Canada and the U.S. and a focus on joint efforts to increase the use of wood products in construction markets,” he said.

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Western Forest Products Found Its Place In The Forest: Niche Product Mix Creates 71% Upside

By Khursheed Brothers
Seeking Alpha
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Western Forest Products has timber operations in Coastal B.C., an area that is not plagued by the Mountain Pine Beetle and an area conducive to international transport. This area also gives Western special access to a niche product mix, like the Western Red Cedar, which commands premium pricing. Western will benefit from the revitalization in the US housing market in addition to increased demand for North American lumber from China and Japan. Three-tiered valuation approach – asset value, earnings power and growth – yields a 71% upside. …By comparison, Western is a relatively small producer, producing 4.1 million cubic meters of timber in FY 2016. Other larger companies include West Fraser, Interfor and Canfor – all of which have the same operating structure in the interior B.C. (with the exception of West Fraser, which has operations in southeast US). What makes Western different? Well, in my initial comparisons, I noticed that Western has much higher returns than all of its competitors.

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Worker killed at Domtar was 37-year employee

Kamloops This Week
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A worker killed at Domtar on June 29 worked at the plant for 37 years, the union representing workers at the Kamloops pulp mill said Wednesday. Unifor issued a statement on the death of Jim G. Macleod, who died in an incident involving a crane at the mill. …Domtar reported two employees were injured in the accident, one of them fatally. It is co-operating with a WorkSafeBC investigation. The union said the injured worker is Ross Thompson, “who was injured in the crane incident and is now healing at home.” …On Tuesday, the union held a flag-lowering ceremony with Macleod’s family, staff, retirees and Domtar officials.

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Unifor mourns member killed on the job

By Unifor
Canada Newswire
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

KAMLOOPS, BC – Unifor mourns the loss of member, colleague, and friend James G. Macleod (Jim), who succumbed to injuries following an incident involving a crane at the Domtar Mill in Kamloops, BC on June 29, 2017.  “Nobody should lose their life while trying to earn a living,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “On behalf of all Unifor members I want to extend our deepest sympathy to Jim’s family, loved ones and work colleagues.” Macleod was 57 years old with 37 years of service in the Kamloops mill. He was an active member of Unifor Local 10-B, serving as a member of the executive, a Local representative on union committees and as a convention delegate. Macleod was a dedicated leader who faithfully represented his fellow members in the best possible manner.

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Bird may have caused large fire at Surrey sawmill

By Amy Reid
Peace Arch News
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

SURREY – Thirty firefighters were called to put out a large wood chip pile fire at a Surrey mill on Tuesday night. …“You know wood,” he told the Now-Leader Wednesday morning. “There were two huge piles of wood chips and the wind was blowing quite heavily so it spread from on chip pile on the other.” Though Jerome said it wasn’t entirely clear what caused the fire, it may have been a bird. “There was a power outage and a loud bang the owner heard just before,” he revealed. “So there’s speculation that a bird could’ve touched the power lines.”

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Alberta Forest Products Association Welcomes Pinnacle Renewable Energy as New Member

The Alberta Forest Products Association
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) is pleased to announce that as of July 1, Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. has joined the Association. Pinnacle is a manufacturer of wood pellets with seven manufacturing facilities in Alberta and British Columbia and shipping capacity through the Port of Prince Rupert. The company’s new plant at Entwistle, in Parkland County, represents an $85 million investment in Alberta’s economy. “I am very pleased that Pinnacle has chosen to join our Association,” said Paul Whittaker, President and CEO of the AFPA. “Their investment in Alberta will help to diversify the economy and create jobs. Additionally, Pinnacle manufactures a sustainable product that makes use of residual materials and provides customers around the world with an environmentally-friendly heating solution.” “

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Advocates evaluate NDP’s top 3 B.C. priorities

CBC News
CBC News
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Education, softwood lumber and the opioid crisis are at the top of its list, NDP says. …John Horgan has said the primary way he’ll help with the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber negotiations is by making sure B.C.’s voice is heard at the table. …Horgan also expressed admiration for B.C.’s current softwood lumber trade envoy, David Emerson, saying he hoped he would stay on. Susan Yurkovich, the president of the B.C. Lumber Trade Council, said she appreciated Horgan’s commitment although she also acknowledged the leadership of Premier Christy Clark during her tenure. “Softwood lumber is a non-partisan issue which impacts communities and workers around the province. It’s critical to continue to have a strong voice for B.C. and we look forward to working with him on this important issue,” she said.

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Skeena Sawmills spending millions to modernize

By Jackie Lieuwen
Terrance Standard
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

SKEENA Sawmills is spending $10 million for the first phase of modernizing its sawmill here in Terrace , a move that will poise the mill to shift into the harvest of second growth timber. The upgrade has already started, with the mill buying a high-speed canter saw for small logs, equipping it to process that second growth timber which is smaller in size. “This is part of a complete overhaul of the plant,” said Roger Keery, vice president of operations at Skeena Sawmills, explaining that a complete project will take several years to finish. “It’s one step… and the first step has got a budget of $10 million,” Keery said of immediate improvements. A complete modernization of the mill could cost as much as $100 million, but the exact amount will depend on how many changes Skeena Sawmills decides to do.

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What a difference a president makes

By Terry L. Anderson, Senior Fellow, PERC, Bozeman, and Hoover Institution, Stanford University
The Missoulian
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

For the eight years that President Barack Obama reigned in Washington, environmentalists cheered his agenda. …With President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, conservatives in favor of less government regulation are cheering. …The public access debate will continue to be a political football, punted back and forth by those in power, until we recognize that property rights are based on the rule of law, not the whims of men and women. The rule of law recognizes easements obtained by purchase or grant, and for those there is no conflict. Rather than encouraging trespass and fighting to establish continuous open, notorious, and hostile use of trails, we would all be better served by recognizing property rights and cooperating with private landowners to get access. In other words, return to the former mantra of Fish, Wildlife and Parks: “Ask first. It’s the right thing to do.” 

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Southern Forest Products Association Announces 2016 Sawmill Safety Awards

Southern Forest Products Association
July 5, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Seven Southern Pine sawmills – all members of the Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) – are recent recipients of the 2016 Sawmill Safety Award. SFPA lumber manufacturer members are considered for the award based on information submitted regarding occupational injuries and illnesses. Safety performance is judged by how each mill’s safety record stacks up against facilities with comparable lumber output throughout the year. Division I includes sawmills that produce 50 million board feet or less; Division II covers facilities that produce 51 to 150 million board feet; and Division III includes mills that produce more than 150 million board feet annually. 

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Rebuilding of Paddington Station underway in Langley City

By Dan Ferguson
Surrey Now-Leader
July 5, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A construction crane was lifting roof trusses into place on Tuesday as crews began building a new fourth floor on the Paddington Station building … in Langley City that was destroyed by a fire experts said would have done far less damage if the building had balcony sprinklers. It was not clear if the rebuilt structure will have balcony sprinklers, which will be required under new provincial regulations that were approved in the wake of the Dec. 11 fire. Those regulations will take effect July 20. …While the building had sprinklers, there were none on the balconies or in the attic because provincial building code regulations did not require them in four-storey wood-frame buildings. “If this building (Paddington) had sprinklers on the balconies and in the attic, this fire likely would not have spread into the attic space,” a report by Langley City fire chief Rory Thompson said. Once a fire penetrates the balcony ceiling, it is directly into the attic space, Thompson said.

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National Association of Home Builders’ Log and Timber Homes Council Kicks off Month-Long Celebration

Wood & Panel
July 6, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Members of the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Log and Timber Homes Council (LTHC) are celebrating National Log Home Open House Month in July for the sixth consecutive year. This month, LTHC members will honor log homes, an American icon, by hosting home tours, holding log raising demonstrations, giving mill tours, sponsoring seminars and much more. “It’s worth noting that the log and timber home industry emerged entirely because of consumer demand for this unique style of construction,” said Log and Timber Homes Council Chairman Josh Beasley of Honest Abe Log Homes in Moss, Tenn. “Buyers can research and discover anything they need to know to make their dream log home become reality.” Members of the NAHB Log and Timber Homes Council hold themselves to a high standard of business and construction practices to ensure they are building the highest quality log homes. 

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For Wellness and Green Building, Commercial Wood Systems Win

Architectural Record
July 5, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

The recent trend in building innovation is unmistakable: Being green means being healthy. Not only do thought leaders want buildings meeting top sustainability ratings, but a clear majority also wants to achieve new standards for wellness, too. And this confluence of environmental and health-focused design has opened the door for more wood structures, systems, and finishes. Driving the parallel growth are long-understood design and operations benefits of wood materials and engineered wood products, on the one hand, and on the other hand, increasing knowledge of how buildings shape health outcomes. Bottom line: Architects and building owners want greener places that also boost occupant comfort, productivity, and enjoyment.

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Tacoma Train Station Using Cross-Laminated Timber

By Dees Stribling
Bisnow
July 5, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Portland recently approved the country’s first all-wood high-rise, but cross-laminated timber is being used in a wide variety of construction projects. In Tacoma, the nation’s first train station using CLT is nearing completion. CLT consists of three, five or seven layers of lumber oriented at right angles to one another and then glued to form structural panels with exceptional strength. The new Amtrak station, built by Garco and scheduled to open this fall, is part of the $149.9M Point Defiance Bypass high-speed rail project, which will reroute passenger train traffic through DuPont, Lakewood and Tacoma, creating a faster travel route. The CLT, provided by SmartLam, will be used as a structural roof deck. It will be exposed on the underside (a 20-foot ceiling) and supported by exposed Douglas fir glulam (glued laminated timber) beams.

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SmartLam Shines a Light on Montana’s Mass Timber Potential

By Dillon Tabish
Flathead Beacon
July 5, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

COLUMBIA FALLS — When Christine Lundberg was elected mayor in her hometown of Springfield, Oregon, a timber town that depended heavily on the wood-products industry and the largest local employer, Weyerhaeuser Company, she focused on how she could help revive the struggling sector. That’s when, a few years ago, she was introduced to cross-laminated timber, or CLT. …“We made CLT a catalyst,” Lundberg said. …Listening to the delegation of experts and elected officials from Oregon, it’s easy to see why Casey Malmquist wants Montana to join the CLT revolution. It was only five years ago when Malmquist founded SmartLam in a warehouse attached to Western Building Center in Columbia Falls and became the nation’s first manufacturer of CLT.

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Stronger, Lighter Carbon Fiber Longboard Is the Formula One of Longboards

Digital Journal
July 5, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Indianapolis, IN — A stronger, lighter, 100 percent weatherproof longboard, which will provide users with an even better skateboarding experience, is to be created by BlackCraft Longboards. The Carbon Fiber Longboard can be customized in terms of its specific shape and features since carbon fiber material is completely shapeable; yet when it is cured, it is many times stronger than wood. …Traditionally, longboards are made from five to nine plies of wood that are laminated and shaped to form the concave shape of the longboard. Wooden boards are notoriously heavy, making it difficult to perform certain tricks.

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Forestry

Rethink Highwood logging plan Western Wheel

Letter by Jordan Russell
Okotoks Western Wheel
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The logging that is proposed for the Kananaskis area is of great concern to me. Although I understand that logging is a necessity in order to keep up with our currently inexhaustible demand for material goods, as a developing environmental biologist who cares greatly about conservation and the preservation of wilderness, it disappoints me to hear that an area just outside of the protective bounds of Sheep River provincial park is proposed to be logged. Specifically, I am concerned by the chosen logging method of clear cutting that is proposed for the majority of the logging sites. This method will expunge the hillside of every tree, leaving zero natural habitat for the biologically diverse communities of animals occupying this space. In a world where habitat loss poses the biggest threat to all endangered and currently thriving species alike, it is difficult to comprehend that clear cutting is a practice still being carried out today.

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Laval launches pilot project to save ash trees

By Katherine Wilton
Montreal Gazette
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Laval is trying to save its infected ash trees by using traps to lure and kill the emerald ash borer, the beetle that has decimated millions of ash trees since it was first detected in North America in 2002. Fifteen Lindgren funnel traps are being installed in trees in the city’s Centre de la nature as part of a pilot project. Each trap is treated with a scent that attracts the beetle. The cylinder contains a series of funnels that lead to a chamber at the bottom of the trap, which is laced with the Beauveria bassiana fungus. The spores of this fungus are toxic for the beetle.

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Become wildfire competent and end this mess

By Steven H. Rich
Deseret News
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, United States, US West

  …Like 80 percent in Utah, Cedar Mountain’s long-unlogged watersheds, clogged with beetle-killed deadfall, were in “Pre-catastrophic fire condition” (State Forester Report). We cannot now “Light Burn” our way to fire-and-beetle-resilient forests. Escaped Ranger-lit fires have done vast damage. One Park Service fire burned 600 homes and other buildings in Los Alamos, New Mexico, for example. Forests must be made fire-safe through logging, first. There’s no other way. Love for nature led the hardline Center for Biodiversity and Grand Canyon Trust and the Four Forests Restoration Initiative group to work hard opening a way for conservation logging, under careful ecological parameters, in Arizona. It must happen, West-wide.

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Atlantic forestry experts on lookout for arrival of destructive invasive insect

Canadian Press in the National Post
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

HALIFAX — Forestry experts in Atlantic Canada are getting ready for the arrival of a new, invasive species that has destroyed millions of ash trees in other parts of Canada. …Andrew Williams, the urban forestry co-ordinator for the Town of Truro, says the bug is east of Montreal and only a day’s drive from Atlantic Canada but that they are monitoring for it with traps in the community. …Williams tells Global News that the pest could eliminate ash from North America, particularly since there are no natural predators or diseases to keep populations in check.

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Timber harvest plan filed for 146 acres near Felta Creek

By Amie Windsor
Sonoma West
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A timber harvest plan that describes a plan to cut 146 acres of timberland three miles southwest of Healdsburg near Felta Creek has community members and government officials alike concerned about public safety and potential environmental damage to the Creek, a known critical habitat to the endangered Coho salmon. The THP, labeled 1-17-017SON and nicknamed “Fox Meadow” by Cal Fire, the agency in charge of approving such plans, aims to manage the 160 acres zoned for timberland harvest production by harvesting 146 acres in three units; 51 acres will be harvested using transition harvesting, 79 acres will undergo group selection harvesting and 16 acres will be harvested using single selection silvicultural methods.

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Jungles beat forests for biodiversity, but why? University of Montana researchers find unexpected answer

By Rob Chaney
The Missoulian
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Tropical jungles in Central America host hundreds of different plants while Montana’s forests only support dozens. Isn’t that just because jungles get more rain and sun? What sounds like a simple answer overlooks some really complicated science. University of Montana fire ecologist Andrew Larson was part of a 50-author study to sharpen that understanding. And the result shows plant communities depend on good enemies as much as good resources. …The research also builds support for an old idea, broached in the 1970s by ecologists Daniel Janzen and Joseph Connell. They suggested jungles teemed with rare species not just because there was lots of fertile soil and water and sun, but because it was easier to be rare than common in a competitive environment.

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Ashland controlled fire burns too hot, kills legacy trees

By Mark Freeman
The Mail Tribune
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ASHLAND — A reddish patch of forestland high above Ashland is a scarlet example that, when it comes to burning, foresters still have some learning to do. The 65-acre patch intentionally set off June 6 as part of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project burned hotter than intended, resulting in scorched portions of the forest canopy and an unknown number of dead or dying trees that the controlled burn was supposed to enhance, authorities said. Those dead trees include some large “legacy trees” whose progress has been under study here in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest near Horn Gap, in an area visible to hikers and mountain bikers on Forest Service Road 400 along the No-Candies Trail — and even to motorists on Interstate 5. “We got more scorched trees than we wanted,” said Don Boucher, Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project manager. “Some will live. Some will die.”

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Forest management planning process moves forward

By Holly Kays
Smoky Mountain News
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States


While a draft forest management plan is still nearly a year away, a group of recently released documents gives a glimpse into how the U.S. Forest Service might ultimately manage the 1.2 million acres in the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest over the next 20 years. Maps showing management areas, goals for each type of management area, descriptions of each of the forest’s unique geographic areas and a list of special interest areas are all contained in the documents that the Forest Service put out for public comment. And, while different stakeholders have different opinions on what’s been written so far, opinion on the Forest Service’s process seems to be running high. …“It’s great that the Forest Service is putting a lot of time and energy into setting context,” added Jill Gottesman, conservation specialist for The Wilderness Society’s Southern Appalachian Regional Office and an alternate on the forum.

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Iowa DNR eliminates jobs, dissolves forestry bureau in response to budget cut

By Jason Noble
The Des Moines Register
July 5, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has responded to a $1.2 million budget cut by eliminating several prominent positions and shuttering its Bureau of Forestry. The department this week dissolved the forestry unit, eliminating the bureau chief position and reassigning the state’s foresters to various other bureaus and divisions within the department. It also cut the position of state geologist and ended a federally-aided program for parks improvements. The changes were announced publicly Wednesday, and come days after the beginning of a new fiscal year for the state. The department’s budget was cut by $1.2 million in the spending plan approved by lawmakers earlier this year.

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Forest Fires

Evacuation order lifted at Kaleden fire south of Penticton, B.C.

By Mike Laanela
CBC News
July 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Officials have lifted an evacuation order affecting 18 homes near the wildfire that broke out in the community of Kaleden in British Columbia’s South Okanagan Tuesday. While residents will be allowed to return home, 186 homes remain under an evacuation alert, meaning residents must be ready to leave at moment’s notice should the fire flare up again. One home and a shed were destroyed after the aggressive fire broke out Tuesday afternoon. As residents fled, dozens of firefighters spent the night fighting the fire in the extremely dry conditions and managed to save at least six other homes from the flames, according to Kaleden Fire Chief Denis Gaudry. “The guys were in thick smoke, pushing the envelope where we should be. The crews, and by that I mean everybody, worked together as a team and got the job done.”

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Fire forces hundreds of evacuations near Colorado ski resort

The Associated Press in The ABC News
July 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A wildfire forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes near Colorado’s Breckenridge Ski Resort on Wednesday. The fire, one of several burning across the West, was reported by a mountain biker late Wednesday morning and is consuming beetle-killed trees in the White River National Forest about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from the resort. It had scorched about 80 acres (32.4 hectares) and forced the evacuation of 463 homes that are about a mile north of the resort. All of the homes on Peak 7 were evacuated, and nearby residents have been warned that they might have to leave, according to the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District. The base of the resort, which includes hotels, restaurants and businesses, was not evacuated.

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Firefighters Battle 35-Acre Wildfire Near Rexford

By Justin Franz
Flathead Beacon
July 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Nearly 100 firefighters have been deployed to a remote area on the west side of Lake Koocanusa to battle a 35-acre wildfire 12 miles southwest of Rexford. Bryan Donner, district ranger for the Kootenai National Forest, said the South Fork Hill Fire was first reported late Monday and it quickly burned 35 acres in the Lookout Creek Drainage. As of Wednesday morning, crews had built containment line around most of the blaze, although spot fires remain a concern, Donner said. “Right now our focus is identifying and containing spot fires that are jumping from the main fire,”

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Southern Sierra Forest Fire 17 Percent Contained U.S. News & World Report

Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report
July 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

KERNVILLE, Calif. — A forest fire sparked by lightning last month in the southern Sierra Nevada has grown to more than 13 square miles (34 sq. kilometers) in Sequoia National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service says the fire is just 17 percent contained Wednesday but no structures have been lost. A lightning strike set brush and timber ablaze on June 24 in the Schaeffer Mountain region, about 17 miles north of Kernville. Increasing flow of monsoonal moisture is expected bring a higher chance of thunderstorms and dry lightning on Thursday.

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Breckenridge area dodges a bullet as wind shift keeps intense wildfire from spreading toward homes

By Jesse Paul
Denver Post
July 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SUMMIT COUNTY — A shift in the wind Wednesday afternoon prevented an intense, fast-growing wildfire from moving into the town of Breckenridge. Nevertheless the blaze prompted the evacuation of about 450 homes and led officials to put residents and visitors in the resort town on notice to leave. About 3 p.m., a thick, black plume of smoke rose into the sky from the blaze, which began near a section of the Colorado Trail. But by sundown, only white smoke was wafting into the air from the 82-acre burn, called the Peak 2 fire. “We would like to take credit for that,” said Jim Keating, chief of the Red White and Blue Fire Protection District, “but we’ve got to give credit to the winds. When the wind did shift, it actually pushed the fire back into the burned area and was able to slow it down.”

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Lightning sparks fire on Kootenai National Forest

By Perry Backus
The Missoulian
July 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

EUREKA — Eureka District Ranger Bryan Donner was feeling pretty good going into the fire season this year. That changed Monday when a fire roared to life following a lightning strike that probably smoldered for nearly a week. …On Wednesday, the South Fork Hill Fire burning about 18 air miles north of Libby had grown to 35 acres. The fire was discovered Tuesday on the Kootenai National Forest in the Lookout Creek drainage. It’s burning in an area that was partially harvested and through some old-growth timber that included highly flammable subalpine fir. While the 91 people working the fire have managed to get a line around the main fire, their main challenge now is finding all the spot fires created after the subalpine fir torched and threw embers up to a half mile away, Donner said.

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Fire in the Snowies: Keystone, Rambler, Rob Roy Reservoir area evacuated Monday

By Peter Baumann
Laramie Boomerang
July 4, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A 60-acre fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest caused the evacuation of roughly 25 homes in Keystone and Rambler on Monday. Forest Service Spokesman Aaron Voos said the Keystone Fire was entirely uncontained Monday and located roughly 1.5 miles south and west of Rob Roy Reservoir. Neither injuries nor damage to structures were reported as of deadline Monday. Campers were urged to leave the area roughly 8-10 miles as the crow flies west of Albany, Voos said. People should continue to avoid the area and stay off of Forest Service roads 511 and 512, which are widely used to access the Pickaroon Campground and Savage Run and Platte River wilderness areas.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Australian Paper looks towards diverting landfill to create power at Latrobe Valley mill

By Kellie Lazzaro
ABC News, Australia
July 6, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

A $7.5 million feasibility study will investigate a proposal to burn thousands of tonnes of household and industrial waste to create energy at the Australian Paper mill at Maryvale near Morwell in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. The waste, collected mainly from kerbside municipal bins, would be transported from Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs and Gippsland, either by truck or train. A dedicated railway line connects the Maryvale site to the extended Gippsland rail network. Australian Paper spokesman Craig Dunn said up to 650,000 tonnes of landfill would be burnt to create steam to run machinery at the paper mill. “This is really proven technology used extensively in Europe,” Mr Dunn said. The paper mill is one of Victoria’s largest industrial users of gas, with an annual gas bill of $8 million.

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