Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: September 5, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

September begins with — more forest fires!

Tree Frog Forestry News
September 5, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Hot weather proved challenging over the long weekend as new fires were reported across Canada and the US. In fact, so many we had to limit our coverage. Ontario confirmed 16 new fires, Maine reported four and several new fires were reported in BC. Existing fires gathered steam and caused havoc near Peachland (BC), Crystal Mountain (Washington), Hood River (Oregon) and  Billings (Montana). Even Yosemite’s redwoods are under threat (California).

BC failed to reduce wildfire risk, despite warning, communities say. The amount of fuel management to protect communities “was minuscule relative to the scale of the challenge,” said Bob Simpson, Quesnel mayor. In Montana, GOP lawmakers are arguing that lawsuits halting logging projects are elevating wildfire dangers. Critics counter that the lawmakers are at fault for not recognizing climate change and failing to properly fund federal agencies.

In business news, Globe and Mail columnist Barrie McKenna has a piece on how blocking Canadian lumber is a tax on [hurricane] Harvey’s victims and Random Lengths reports that OSB prices were mixed last week while SPF lumber prices rebounded following four weeks of decline.

Finally, the new US Forest Service Chief, Tony Tooke, was sworn in last Friday in a ceremony in Albany, NY.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

 

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Business & Politics

The Continuous Digester – what we learned last week

By Paul Quinn and Charan Sanghera
RBC Capital Markets
September 4, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Random Lengths reported that W. SPF rebounded $10 to $395/mfbm following four consecutive weeks of declines. Following a slow start to the week, trading picked up by Wednesday as buyers digested the final CVD duty extension. …OSB price moves were a bit mixed this week. Benchmark North Central prices were unchanged again this week at $414/msf, and Eastern Canada prices were up $5 to $375 as order files remain long. Western Canada markets saw the strongest activity, but prices still fell $15 to $365 in order to coax buyers off the sidelines.

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Blocking Canadian lumber is a tax on Harvey’s victims

By Barrie McKenna
The Globe and Mail
September 3, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

As the floodwaters recede on the U.S. Gulf Coast, attention is shifting to rebuilding. Harvey left behind a trail of epic destruction. At least 100,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by wind and water from the storm. The mounting financial toll is now estimated at an eye-popping $190-billion (U.S.), making it the priciest natural disaster to hit the United States. Americans will need a lot of lumber for the reconstruction, including lumber from Canada. The bad news is that the U.S. trade fight against Canadian softwood lumber will make that rebuilding a lot more expensive. …This puts the Trump administration in an awkward spot.

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Northern Pulp moves forward with plans to replace Boat Harbour facility

By Sueann Musick
The New Glasgow News
September 1, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

While the province moves forward with their promise to clean up Boat Harbour and to shut down the controversial Boat Harbour treatment facility by January 2020, Northern Pulp is taking steps to replace it.  The company cost shared with the province to hire a consultant, KSH Solutions, to come up with a replacement facility. …Kathy Cloutier, communications director for Northern Pulp said the new system would be different from the old although using a similar method of having micro-organisms break down the effluent. … The new system – like the current system – will not be in an enclosed building, Cloutier said. Construction needs to be completed by January 2020 when the Boat Harbour facility closes, but no exact date has been set for starting the project.

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Local trade unions strive to ensure safety, benefits

By Greg Stiles
Mail Tribune
September 3, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

When Gary Bradshaw signed on at Timber Products 46 years ago, he didn’t think much about joining the union a few weeks later. It was what employees did at his mill, and at many of the other wood products plants that populated the Rogue Valley in the early 1970s. As the years passed, Bradshaw discovered there was more to his union membership than dues. There were tangible aspects that drew him closer to the center of activity at his International Woodworkers of America local. …As the timber industry went into decline a generation ago, the International Woodworkers of America merged into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in May 1994. Even though membership has dwindled along with the wood products industry, the survivors are on solid ground.

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Wastewater problem vexes papermakers again

By Marissa Luck
Longview Daily News
September 2, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Another problem at Nippon Dyanwave’s wastewater treatment plant has reportedly triggered paper machine shutdowns at the Longview mill and other nearby businesses. The extent of the problem isn’t clear, but employees said the issue first arose on about Thursday. It’s unknown when the industrial wastewater treatment plant will be running normally again. It was not clear Saturday how much paper production has been affected by the wastewater trouble. …The treatment plant services Nippon itself as well as other industrial sites nearby, including Weyerhaeuser Co., Norpac, Axiall Corp. and Solvay Chemicals. So the treatment problem likely will have ripple effects on those businesses too.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Construction Corner: Researchers look for ways to design earthquake resiliency

By Korky Koroluk
Daily Commercial News
September 1, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Structural engineering researchers from a number of American universities gathered in San Diego for a week in late July to put a two-storey wooden structure through a series of powerful earthquake simulations. Their goal was to gather the data required to design wood buildings as tall as 20 storeys that do not suffer significant damage during large earthquakes. The research team is headed by Shiling Pei of the Colorado School of Mines. The tests were funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and a variety of industry sponsors. Tests were done on a shake table at the University of California, San Diego. Pei says the research is going beyond simply designing buildings that are safe during large earthquakes.

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How tall wood buildings can grow economy

Letter by Cam Crawford, President, S.C. Forestry Association
The State
September 2, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Cam Crawford S.C. For. Assoc.

While wood is one of the oldest building materials around, wood buildings in the United States rarely are taller than four stories. Due to innovation with forest products manufacturing, this may soon change. The demand for green building materials, along with improvements in the structural integrity and fire resistance of wood products, has led Europe and Canada to encourage construction of tall wood buildings. These buildings are more than 85 feet tall and built with cross-laminated timber and other flexible products that make them a safer option during earthquakes and high winds. South Carolina is a good place for cross-laminated timber manufacturers to consider locating, with nearly 13 million acres of forest and timberland, a strong right to practice forestry law and the recent investment in transportation infrastructure.

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Forestry

B.C. failed to reduce wildfire risk, despite warning, communities say

By Laura Kane
The Canadian Press in The Globe and Mail
September 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The fire in Logan Lake started like so many others in British Columbia’s worst wildfire season on record – a smouldering campfire, not fully extinguished, sparked flames that spread across the forest floor. But unlike other blazes that have grown catastrophically, engulfing homes, forests and farmland, the Logan Lake fire in June was kept to a half-hectare. The reason, a local official says, is because the town has conducted extensive wildfire mitigation, in spite of a provincial system he describes as under-funded, burdensome and unfair. …”The amount of fuel management to protect communities was minuscule relative to the scale of the challenge,” said Bob Simpson, Quesnel mayor and a former NDP forestry critic in the legislature.

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Weyerhaeuser concerned with caribou recovery plan

By Kevin Hampson
Daily Herald-Tribune
September 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Weyerhaeuser shares the County of Grande Prairie’s concerns that a new caribou recovery plan will undermine industry, councillors heard last week. Two of the company’s representatives gave a presentation to council on Monday about how the plan will affect the Weyerhaeuser’s forest management area, Reeve Leanne Beaupre said. “Their concern is that it could have a substantial effect on their sustainable amount of timber they have into the future and their opportunity for market share, and whether that would make the saw mill here in Grande Prairie even a viable business for Weyerhaeuser,” she said. The province has until October to develop a strategy for caribou range protection in north and central Alberta, which is intended to implement the federal Species at Risk Act. Ottawa will approve or reject the plan.

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Residents don’t want Youbou bypass road

Letter by Donna Macdonald
Cowichan Valley Citizen
September 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

TimberWest’s solution for Youbou truck dust is to create more dust and log our mountainside! The Youbou town meeting on Monday night was planned, supposedly, to inform the local residents of TimberWest’s plans for dealing with the ongoing truck dust on Youbou Road.  Mr. Iannidinardo, TimberWest VP of Forestry and Sustainability began by enlightening us as to what great corporate citizens TimberWest are. …Next he outlined their second option for the road dust — a bypass gravel road running behind the town and all along the North Arm, parallel to the existing Youbou Road. …To this idea, the residents showed unanimous dissent; voicing concerns about the new dust that would be generated all along the mountainside, slope destabilization, and the impact on spawning streams, the watershed and the community.

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Brown spots a sign of changes to come in Halifax’s tree canopy

By Moira Donovan
CBC News
September 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

A fungal infection affecting some of Halifax’s trees is a sign of big changes to come in Halifax’s tree canopy.  Tar spot affects the Norway maple, and while it’s not harmful to trees in the short term, it’s just one of the issues limiting the species’ lifespan. “At the moment we have 35 per cent of Norway maple crown cover on the [Halifax] peninsula. That number has come down in the last five to seven years probably three to five percent,” said Kevin Osmond, supervisor of urban forestry with the Halifax Regional Municipality. “We are losing Norways. They are starting to end their lifespans, but they’re also starting to show these other issues that are causing decline.” 

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Accelerated forest harvest planned

By Brigitte Petersen
The Chronicle Journal
September 2, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Stephane Audet, partner at KBM Resources Group

A tender will soon be issued for tree harvesting on a Thunder Bay property owned and maintained by the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority as part of a new 20-year forest management plan. The conservation group recently hired forestry consultant KBM Resources Group to update Wishart Forest’s forest management plan, which was completed last year and outlines plans for the property over the next two decades. The plan focuses on environmental protection, recreation, education and potential income generation to offset the property’s maintenance costs. KBM wrote the plan, approved by the provincial government’s managed forest tax incentive program, which offers tax incentives to private landowners for sustainable forestry. Located on Onion Lake Road, the site consists of 221 hectares of boreal forest, features a 2.3-kilometre trail, and is a popular spot for snowshoeing.

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New U.S. Forest Service chief sworn in

By Edith Tucker
The Conway Daily Sun
September 4, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

ALBANY — White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner’s last official task Friday before retiring was an unusual one: holding the Bible as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue swore in new U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. The nation’s 18th chief forester now leads more than 30,000 Forest Service employees in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. The ceremony, originally scheduled at the Pemigewasset Overlook on the Kancamagus Highway in the National Forest, was moved to the Russell-Colbath House’s recreational barn after gusty winds kicked up as high as 50 mph, Wagner explained in his welcoming remarks.

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Logging companies lose resources in Horse Prairie Fire

By Emily Hoard
The News Review Today
September 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

CAMAS VALLEY — Private and federal landowners are losing timber and equipment as the Horse Prairie fire burns thousands of acres near Camas Valley. “For us it’s the financial impact directly tied to the loss of resources on our property,” said Todd Payne, CEO of Seneca Jones Timber Company. As of Friday afternoon, he said the logging company had lost about one thousand acres of its 167,000-acre tree farm to the fire, at an estimated value of $3 million to $7 million. …Smith Logging lost logging equipment in the fire. Company equipment was about three-quarters of a mile away from where the fire started, and the fire came through and destroyed the entire logging site. …“There’s a ton of people working on it within the company and from within the private ownership sector and Oregon Department of Forestry,” Folk said. “There’s a great collaboration effort underway to get control of the fire but it’s far from over.”

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Amid Severe Fire Season, Finger Pointing Over Forest Management Heats Up

By Dillon Tabish
Flathead Beacon
September 2, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In the midst of Montana’s severe fire season, a heated debated has reignited over forest management, with a group of Montana Republican lawmakers arguing that lawsuits halting logging projects are elevating wildfire dangers, while critics counter that GOP lawmakers are at fault for not recognizing climate change and failing to properly fund federal agencies. …Daines blames “extreme environmental groups” that have sued the U.S. Forest Service for halting logging and thinning projects that he says could reduce large amounts of fuel and help prevent wildfires. …The comments made by Daines, and similar ones made by Gianforte and Zinke, sparked backlash from others who say the GOP-led Congress has neglected to properly fund the U.S. Forest Service for fire prevention and forest management.

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Short-term thinking Long-term problems

By the Editorial Board
Payson Roundup
September 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Here’s the problem with homo sapiens. We have long-term impacts. But we’re short-term thinkers. Just look at our efforts to live in the forest. …We got it into our heads we could manage a couple million acres as a tree farm and feed lot. So the cattle ate off the grass and the loggers took all the big, old-growth, fire-resistant trees. Fifty years of short-term thinking converted the once fire-adapted forest into a fire-prone thicket. Then we built thousands of flammable little houses in the midst of this thicket, without so much as fire-resistant roofs. The succession of mega fires in the past decade has finally alerted us to our folly. …The study has been inching along, with no clear idea yet whether we’ll somehow wind up with a logging industry to actually do the thinning or enough taxpayer money to do the job without industry support.

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DNR’s Yellowwood harvest will be carefully controlled

By Phil Bloom
The Journal Gazette
September 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry has managed state forest lands for more than 100 years, during which time once abused and abandoned land has been restored to nearly 160,000 acres of lush and healthy forests seen in Indiana today. Indiana law dictates that DNR Forestry “protect and conserve timber, water resources, wildlife and topsoil in forests owned and operated by the division of forestry” and use “good husbandry” to remove timber that has substantial commercial value “in a manner that benefits the growth of saplings.” There are those who object to this public policy and repeatedly demand DNR Forestry stop doing its job.In contrast, a Purdue University public opinion survey of Indiana residents found that 95 percent of Hoosiers approve of removing trees to protect woodlands from disease and fire.

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Stung by setbacks, wood suppliers seek new markets and products to survive

By Tux Turkel
Portland Press Herald
September 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

CHESTER — Making lumber is a bit like peeling a banana. The peels, in this case 16-foot lengths of bark-clad hemlock, are stacked beside a small sawmill here at Treeline Inc., a diversified forestry operation on the access road to Lincoln. But that waste wood has value. Last fall, Treeline could turn the slabs into chips and truck them an easy 17 miles along the Penobscot River to feed a biomass power plant in West Enfield. Maine lawmakers had recently approved a $13.4 million taxpayer subsidy that allowed a new owner to restart the unprofitable facility. …Over the past decade, paper mill closures and shifting markets have diminished the industry to a point where the rural Maine forestry businesses most dependent on pulp and paper – the loggers, truckers, sawmill operators – have been forced to envision a new future.

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Clemson’s Gering wins national forestry teaching award

By Jonathan Veit, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences
Clemson University
September 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Lawrence “Larry” Gering

CLEMSON — The Society of American Foresters awarded Clemson University’s Lawrence “Larry” Gering with the 2017 Carl Alwin Schenck Award for a career of excellence in the field of forestry education. The Schenck Award is the nation’s highest teaching award in forestry education. Gering earned the award for his “innovative approach to teaching, mentoring and experiential learning,” according the selection committee. “I am honored to receive the Carl Alwin Schenck Award,” Gering said. “I have been lucky to have been influenced by many outstanding faculty members over the years, including Leon Pienaar and Jerry Clutter (University of Georgia), Bill Shaine, Al Marsinko and Larry Nix (Clemson), and Fred Knight and Ralph Griffin (University of Maine). To the extent I have been an effective teacher over the years, I owe much to them.”

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Push pause on Indiana’s backcountry logging

By the Editorial Board
IndyStar
September 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Logging companies may soon spoil one of the most beautiful, pristine areas of Indiana, and they’re set to do so with the state government’s permission. The lucrative business of harvesting timber in Indiana’s state forests isn’t new. The Department of Natural Resources has for years allowed companies to build roads and cut down trees in forests under the state’s protection. But the current plan to destroy century-old trees on 300 acres of Brown County backcountry is especially egregious because of the forest’s rich diversity of species and the state’s shrinking reserves of unspoiled wilderness. State officials say the timber harvest is a necessary part of forest management, but many conservationists question that assertion. “There is a question of what is legal and what is right,” Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust, told IndyStar’s Sarah Bowman.

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Ex-Gunns boss John Gay in firing line amid fresh logging battle

By Matthew Denholm
The Australian
September 2, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

John Gray

John Gay has emerged from the ignominy of insider trading to again become a player in Tasmania’s forest industry — and in a new stoush over logging. Four years ago, the former Gunns Ltd timber boss became the most senior Australian executive convicted of insider trading, and was banned from running companies for five years. A year later, Mr Gay persuaded a court to allow him to run a small family business, Specialty Ven­eers, that now owns two ­others — Corinna Timbers and Somerset Timber Supplies. A recent government report suggests these companies have ­become key drivers of demand for “speciality timbers”, including blackwood and rainforest species, such as celery-top pine and myrtle, behind only one other, Britton Timbers. After decades of waste of rainforest timbers, often burnt after clear-fell logging, and of conservation lock-ups, these timbers are increasingly in short supply.

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Will European supermarkets act over Paraguay forest destruction?

By David Hill
The Guardian
September 1, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

No tropical forests anywhere in the world are being destroyed more rapidly than the Chaco stretching across Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Not the Amazon in Brazil, nor in Indonesia, Malaysia or the Democratic Republic of Congo. At least, that is according to a University of Maryland-led study published in 2013. And the carnage continues today. In July British NGO Earthsight released a report stating that “the latest available analysis [by Paraguayan NGO Guyra], covering January 2017, suggests that the rate of deforestation has kept pace since the Maryland paper. The Paraguayan Chaco is on course to lose more than 200,000 hectares of forest this year: an area the size of Manhattan every fortnight.”

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Forest Fires

Signatured Pioneer logs to become permanent 2017 wildfire legacy

By Monica Lamb-Yorski
Nelson Star
September 2, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Three logs bearing signatures from hundreds of emergency personnel who assisted during the wildfires in the Cariboo-Chilcotin will be on permanent display in Williams Lake, preferably at the museum or the tourism discovery centre. That’s the hope, said Bryan Reid Sr., founder of Pioneer Log Homes of B.C. who donated the logs and came up with the idea for the project. … “This is going to be a bench mark in Williams Lake’s history so to me it was important to record some of this. That way some of these people can come back and visit and see where they signed.” …“To me there are totem poles,” Reid said. “They tell a story forever of who was here and helped in a time of emergency.” Reid is also planning to create a carving of the wildfire that will feature a scene with a fire, animals and a fire engine that says 150 Mile House.

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New forest fire Monday in the Okanagan; air and ground crews respond

By Blaine Gaffney
Global News
September 4, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The BC Wildfire Service is dealing with a forest fire burning about half way between Kelowna and Penticton on the east side of Okanagan Lake. The Grayback Mountain fire started overnight Sunday and by Monday afternoon had grown to about 30 hectares. Air tankers and a bucketing helicopter are dousing the flames from above while 17 fire fighters are on the ground. More crews are being dispatched. It’s considered a Rank 3 fire meaning there is surface flames with a moderate rate of spread.

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Finlay Creek wildfire south of Peachland now estimated to cover 1,500 hectares

By Blaine Gaffney
Global News
September 4, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Finlay Creek wildfire burning between Peachland and Summerland is now estimated at 1500 hectares. That’s up from 1000 hectares even though there was no significant growth Sunday or overnight into Monday. Fire information officer, Heather Rice, says they got a more accurate reading of the fire size in a surveillance flight late Sunday afternoon. Rice describes the fire behaviour Monday morning as “moderate” with calm winds. Eighteen forestry fire fighters and nine pieces of heavy equipment are working the blaze on the ground with more crews on the way. There are also seven aircraft dropping water and retardant. Sprinkler systems have been set up to protect some homes in the north end of the Garnet Valley but Rice says no buildings have been burnt.

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B.C. wildfires to burn into 2018

By Jen Zielinski
Canadian Press in The Northern View
September 1, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A municipal leader in British Columbia’s central Interior predicts wildfires that have chewed through more than 10,600 square kilometres of woodland won’t be fully out until 2018. Chairman Al Richmond of the Cariboo Regional District said hot spots from many of the largest fires likely won’t be doused until the spring, mirroring the Fort McMurray wildfire that Alberta officials said was finally declared extinguished on Aug. 2. “It goes down deep into the roots sometimes and then pops up again in the summer,” he said. “That’s not unusual, so I think the forest service felt we will be out dealing with these fires until well into October. And we will probably be back with many hot spots again come spring.”

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September begins with more forest fires in NW Ontario

TB Newswatch
September 1, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

With autumn on the horizon, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry firefighting crews and resources are deployed on fires in northwestern Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. The MNRF confirmed five new fires in the northwest on Thursday, after logging 11 new ones the day before. It said the forest fire hazard remains high to extreme across much of the region, with high winds forecast to come in ahead of a storm system, creating the potential for more extreme fire behaviour. On the positive side, Nipigon district fire 099 in the Kama Hill area has been declared under control. An incident management team posted there is in the process of demobilizing.

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Aggressive firefighting has left our forests vulnerable to dangerous wildfires

By Wes Melo, Vice Chairman, Communities for Healthy Forests
The Oregonian
September 3, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

We westerners are living through yet another smoke-filled summer of extensive and uncontrollable forest wildfires. Millions of trees on thousands of acres have once again been destroyed by wildfire. Isn’t it time to understand what can be done to address this problem? …But humans have interrupted that natural cleaning process by aggressively fighting fires over the past decades. Photosynthesis grows plants and trees every day and that natural activity adds to the fuel loads in wildlands. Over time, without the cleansing action of fire, wildlands build unnatural fuel loads. When these overcrowded wildlands eventually burn — and they will — the result is unnatural fire behavior, which can result in catastrophic outcomes.  

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Yosemite’s redwoods under threat from California fires after Los Angeles homes destroyed

Associated Press in ABC News, Australia
September 4, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The giant sequoia trees that have stood for thousands of years in Yosemite National Park are under threat from a fire that is ripping across the western United States. Several destructive fires have torn through California, driven by strong winds combined with high temperatures and dry conditions. …Outside Yosemite, a fire drove deeper into a grove of 2,700-year-old giant sequoia trees, but officials were not immediately sure whether trees had been killed. Giant sequoias are resilient and can withstand low intensity fires, fire information officer Anne Grandy said. …There are more than 100 giant sequoias in the grove, including the 24-storey-high Bull Buck sequoia, one of the world’s largest.

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Heat spurs surge in California, Oregon wildfires

By Christopher Weber and Ellen Knickmeyer
Associated Press in the Washington Post
September 3, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LOS ANGELES — Smoke filled the sky and ash rained down across Los Angeles on Sunday from a destructive wildfire that the mayor said was the largest in city history — one of several blazes that sent thousands fleeing homes across the West during a blistering holiday weekend heat wave. In Oregon, crews were rescuing about 140 hikers forced to spend the night in the woods after fire broke out along the popular Columbia River Gorge trail. Search and rescue crews airdropped supplies on Saturday as flames prevented the hikers’ escape. Wildfires burned in a 2,700-year-old grove of giant sequoia trees near Yosemite National Park, forced evacuations in Glacier National Park and drove people from homes in parts of the West struggling with blazing temperatures.

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Residents rattled amid smoke, evacuation threat

By Saul Hubbard
The Register-Guard
September 4, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

McKENZIE BRIDGE — The oppressive cloak of wildfire smoke that settled all around this riverside mountain town on Sunday was unlike anything longtime residents could remember. It kept cars off the road and boats off the river on what otherwise would have been a busy Labor Day weekend in this outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise, 50 miles east of Eugene. A string of nearby wildfires — including one roughly three miles southeast of town — and an evacuation preparation order issued Saturday kept some locals on edge. They congregated on Facebook, sharing updates and advice and worrying aloud about their pets and livestock. But others said they felt unperturbed for now, so long as Lane County officials didn’t raise the evacuation warning to a more serious level 2 or 3.

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Wildfire near Crystal Mountain continues to grow, brings ash to parts of Western Washington

KIRO7
September 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Crystal Mountain resort was under a level 3 evacuation Monday night due to the Norse Peak fire burning north of State Route 410 near Union Creek. As of Tuesday, more than 19,000 acres had burned and containment was at 8 percent.  The fire has been burning to the east of the resort for more than two weeks and the wind has changed direction and is causing smoke to shift to the west, a post on the Crystal Mountain website said.   There have been reports of ash from the wildfire falling in Pierce County, Seattle, Covington, Everett, Issaquah, Kent, Renton Highlands and North Bend.  The National Weather Service Seattle said the ash fall is mainly in Pierce County and the south edge of King County. Easterly winds coming out of the mountains has brought the ash over to those areas. 

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Gorge evacuations, I-84 closure as Eagle Creek Fire grows

KTVZ.COM
September 4, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

HOOD RIVER, Ore. – The Eagle Creek Fire that stranded more than 150 hikers in the Mount Hood National Forest on Saturday grew rapidly late Monday afternoon and evening, prompting evacuations while closing a wider, 45-mile stretch of Interstate 84 Monday night, officials said. The growth of the fire has led to the closure of I-84, the major east-west thoroughfare through the Columbia River Gorge, initially from four miles east of Multnomah Falls to two miles west of Hood River (Exit 35 to 62).  Around 8:30 p.m. came word from ODOT the I-84 closure had expanded, with all eastbound traffic required to exit at Exit 17 in Troutdale and westbound traffic at Exit 62 in Hood River.

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Study: West faces frightening “wildfire deficit”

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
September 5, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Wildfires have risen and fallen with the climate for the past 3,000 years — which means we’re in big, big trouble, according to recent research on fire patterns in the American West. One study of a 2,700-acre chunk of forest atop the Mogollon Rim found frequent, low-severity ground fires burned through the forest every 2-15 years for some 100 years, without ever resulting in the widespread deaths of big trees. However, starting in 1880, the number of fires dropped dramatically — leading to a dramatic increase in tree densities, according to the researchers from the Northern Arizona University Ecological Restoration Institute and other universities.

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Fire burning in southeast Montana doubles in size; air quality unhealthy in nearby town

Billings Gazette
September 1, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

UPDATE as of Saturday, 9:30 a.m.: The Sartin Draw fire grew to 91,000 acres as of Saturday morning, according to an update provided by the Montana DNRC county assist team. It remains 10 percent contained. Resources on the fire include 31 engines, three crews, nine heavy equipment and 190 personnel. On Saturday, local, state and federal firefighers will continue to build and improve fire lines and burn out areas of unburned line. They will also be working to secure the fire perimeter in front of Sunday’s forecasted cold front. Pre-evacuation notice remains in place for residents north of Merchant Cut, west of Highway 59 and south of 674 Road.  Air quality Saturday morning also remained unhealthy for the towns of Broadus and Birney, according to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality.

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Triple-digit heat hampers fight against western wildfires

By Scott Sonner
Associated Press in The Statesmen Journal
September 1, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

RENO, Nev. — Triple-digit heat across much of the U.S. West hampered crews battling scores of wildfires Thursday, including one threatening dozens of structures in Montana and another that temporarily shut down the main travel route to the Burning Man counterculture festival in the Nevada desert. Thousands of people have been driven from their homes amid hot weather in Oregon, Montana and California, where a blaze burned 10 homes and threatened 500 more near a hard-hit community and another kept a popular road to Yosemite National Park closed.

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Windy, dry conditions resulting in wildfires around Maine

By David Gagnon
Bangor Daily News
September 1, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

A combination of windy and dry conditions are partly to blame for nearly half a dozen wildfires across the state on Friday. As of mid afternoon on Friday, Maine forest rangers and their mutual aid partners had been dealing with a forest fire in Columbia Falls that began on Thursday, as well as smaller fires that began Friday afternoon in Bucksport, Winterport and Warren. — About an about an acre burned in Bucksport off Silver Lake Road. District Ranger Peter Pelletier said the fire was extinguished by local firefighters and a ranger and that the cause remained under investigation. — A tree fell on a power line in Winterport near 985 North Main St. around 1:30 p.m. and burned about a tenth of an acre, Ranger Aaron Bailey said.

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