Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: September 15, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

New international alliance dedicated to tall wood buildings

Tree Frog Forestry News
September 15, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Six internationally renowned  research centres joined forces to create the WOODRISE Alliance, an international body dedicated to lower-carbon buildings and the development of tall wood buildings. Wood’s attributes are also on display in these headlines today:

  • Testing the wind: Clemson engineers work to make buildings stronger in face of storms
  • New Edition: Raised Wood Floor Foundation Guide (in flood-ravaged areas)
  • Seeking greener construction, Chinese delegates visit US wood construction authorities
  • Environment-friendly ‘plyscrapers’ blocked by red tape
  • An Innovative Collaboration in Affordable Ownership Housing in Toronto
  • The past, present and future of structural wood in Canada

Although RBC reports that hurricane rebuilding will be more gradual than assumed, a Global and Mail story says—as demand for construction materials rise—the US is facing increased pressure to cut a softwood deal. In related news, Canada’s ambassador to the US says he’s prepared to pursue a softwood deal through NAFTA.  

On the fire-front, the US Forest Service spent a record $2 billion battling forest fires and rain provides relief in the Waterton Lakes and Lincoln, but new wildfires were spotted in Western Oregon.

— Kelly McCloskey Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Take a Ride on the First Bike Made From Whiskey Casks

By Mike Pomranz
Food & Wine
September 14, 2017
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: United States, US West

Thanks to generations of tipsy writers and boozy musicians, whiskey is undeniably cool. As a result, making things out of old whiskey barrels is pretty cool too, be it a badass guitar, a snuggly dog bed, or as Glenmorangie has done in the past, sunglasses. Now, in what is being proclaimed as a “world’s first,” the Scotch brand has teamed up with the Oregon-based Renovo Hardwood Bicycles to create a bicycle frame built with staves from old Glenmorangie whiskey casks. Already known as “the original performance wooden bicycle company,” Renovo is a logical collaborator for this “Glenmorangie Original” bike. Each bicycle is handcrafted from 15 Glenmorangie cask staves… In giving a new life to the material this partnership creates a supremely functional machine with a history; and a future, of creating enjoyment.”

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Business & Politics

Hurricane rebuilding will pressure US to cut softwood deal: Carr

By Shawn McCarthy and Adrian Morrow
The Globe and Mail
September 15, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The U.S. government is facing increasing pressure to reach a deal with Canada on softwood lumber, as demand for construction materials is expected to spike higher in Texas and Florida in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While the U.S. lumber industry is dug in on its demand for tariffs, its customers argue that domestic supplies cannot meet their needs, which will drive up the cost of reconstruction in the states that sustained many billions of dollars in storm damage in recent weeks. The Canadian government is hoping the added domestic pressure resulting from the hurricanes will help pave the way for a deal, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said on Thursday. “We know that [the looming reconstruction] has an influence on markets and on demand,” Mr. Carr said after speaking at the Council of Forestry Ministers meeting in Ottawa.

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Canada open to adding softwood lumber deal to NAFTA

By Alexander Panetta
Associated Press in Global News
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

David MacNaughton

WASHINGTON – Canada is prepared to pursue a permanent settlement in softwood lumber within the North American Free Trade Agreement if the U.S. lumber industry keeps blocking a deal, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. suggested Thursday. David MacNaughton expressed frustration at the industry using what is effectively its veto power to block any deal between the national governments and he raised the possibility of working around it to achieve a long-term solution. …“I’m prepared to look at anything that’s going to resolve it. I just think it’s going to be difficult to put another thing – another contentious element into NAFTA. I think we’re better off to resolve it outside of the NAFTA framework.” The reason the U.S. industry has veto power over any deal is that part of any softwood agreement would require it to sign away its right to launch trade actions against Canada.

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Community Forest beating forecasts

By Sean Eckford
Coast Reporter
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Sunshine Coast Community Forest is in the black after projecting a loss to start the year, as operations continue to recover from a 2015 forest fire, according to its second quarter financial results. Glen Bonderud, president and chair of Sechelt Community Projects Inc. (SCPI), told Sechelt councillors Sept. 6 that all the timber that could be recovered from the burn area has been removed and most of the higher value logs have now been sold. He also said much of the burn area has been replanted. As of June 30, SCPI’s timber sales had brought in about $2.4 million and the company is showing a profit for the year-to-date of just over $749,000. SCPI went into the year anticipating possible losses of $273,000. “The quality of the logs [from the burn area] was better than we thought,” Bonderud said.

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Mr. Zimmer goes to Washington

By Chris Newton
Energetic City
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

MP Bob Zimmer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP and Parliamentary Outdoor Caucus Co-Chair Bob Zimmer was in Washington yesterday to meet with several members of the Trump Administration. Zimmer said he made to trip to the U.S. capital to speak with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about a number of issues… he also discussed the ongoing softwood lumber dispute with the two members of U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

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How will Winter Harbour survive?

By Hanna Petersen
North Island Gazette
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A small northern Vancouver island community is in peril after an almost 90-year-old logging company is being forced to shut down. W.D. Moore Logging, founded in 1928, is closing its doors this month. …“Bill Moore was a character and a well-known supporter of the forest industry,” said David Elstone of the Trucker and Logger Association… “It’s sad we have a business that has been around for almost 90 years, they have been through thick and thin booms and busts, but now that legacy is no longer,” said Elstone. In the 1960s Moore founded a non-profit organization called Festival of Forestry in Vancouver, with the goal of educating urban teachers about forestry practices and it’s place in BC society. …Moore was also a poet and avid jazz musician.

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Regional District of East Kootenay Fire Departments Manage Fire Overnight at Galloway Lumber Mill

Summit107.com
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

It was a busy night for the Elko, Baynes Lake and Jaffray Fire Departments as all three were on scene at Galloway Lumber Co. Wednesday night to tend to a fire, along with the help of local residents nearby. The Regional District of East Kootenay reports the fire broke out on the south side of the sawmill, prompting response from all those available. According to the South Country RDEK Fire Service, the blaze was sparked due to machinery and quickly spread to nearby chip piles and eventually a brush area. The RDEK says the BC Wildfire Service were stationed nearby and were able to assist the local firefighters contain the blaze. In total, 60 personnel responded and helped action the fire. 

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Hefler Forest Products commits to adding jobs

By James Risdon
September 15, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Jobs are coming back to Hefler Forest Products’ sawmill starting next month, says Stan Mason, the iconic forest products company’s president. “Given that Hefler has been such an integral part of the community since 1866, it was important for us to explore every option possible for re-opening the sawmill,” said Mason in a statement late Thursday afternoon. “After careful consideration, we have developed a solution that will allow the mill to operate safely and return jobs to the local community.” That solution is the production of specialty wood products, including 12-foot and 16-foot lengths and deck boards. Mason, who mused about a foray into the value-added, thermal wood business earlier this year, said Thursday no decision has yet been made about a thermal wood kiln.

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Hurricane rebuild likely to be more gradual than assumed

By Paul Quinn and Charan Sanghera
RBC Capital Markets
September 15, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Across the array of companies we chatted with, everyone was largely spared from major direct impacts, although the aftermath of Harvey/Irma introduces some new factors to take into account but primarily on the wood products side. …As we have noted previously, insurance coverage, labour availability and other factors will govern the pace of home rebuilding. While prices are likely to see an uptick, near-term consumption may be limited, particularly as debris removal and planning will be first priority. In addition, near-term US housing start figures may see some weakness and the already tight construction labour availability is likely to be further exacerbated. That said, higher repair and remodel spending is likely to offset new home construction weakness.

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Oregon wood products companies relieved to see end of forest fire season in sight

By Ed Russo
The Register-Guard
September 15, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

As Oregon’s wildfire season wanes, Lane County wood products companies are tallying the damage from the fires and related logging restrictions — burned trees, depleted log inventories and temporary plant closures. Both Eugene-based Seneca Jones Timber Co. and Springfield-­based Roseburg Forest Products lost thousands of trees last month in the Horse Prairie Fire in Douglas County, which has burned through private and federal Bureau of Land Management forests. Fires throughout the state and extremely hot and dry conditions prompted authorities to impose complete or partial restrictions on logging and other work on public and privately owned lands, hampering timber output. With recent cooler weather, however, complete bans have been lifted, allowing loggers to return to work.

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Congressman DeFazio fights for Oregon softwood

By Nicholas A. Johnson
Coos Bay World
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Congressman Peter DeFazio

WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, Oregon’s fourth district congressman Peter DeFazio testified on behalf of the U.S Lumber Coalition at a hearing with the U.S International Trade Commission about softwood lumber trade with Canada. The U.S Lumber Coalition believes that the importing of subsidized Canadian softwood lumber floods the market and makes it extremely difficult for domestic softwood lumber mills to compete. At the hearing DeFazio said, “As someone who represents a very substantial portion of Oregon’s softwood lumber production, I know how devastating under-priced imports and unfair trade practices can be on vulnerable timber dependent communities … for many of the timber communities I represent, the local lumber producer is the single largest, and potentially only source of employment.”

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Weyerhaeuser’s smelly wood problem will cost up to $250 million

By Mike Rosenberg
The Seattle Times
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Weyerhaeuser’s problems with a formaldehyde-based product on some of its wood joists is turning out to be much a much bigger issue than previously disclosed, and could ultimately cost up to a quarter-billion dollars. In July, the Seattle-based company said some homebuilding customers had complained about an odor emitted by wooden I-joists outfitted with a new Flak Jacket coating, which prevents the wood from burning. …At the time, Weyerhaeuser said it would spend $50 million to $60 million to replace framing in the homes…. But in an SEC filing Wednesday, the company said it now expects the fixes to cost $225 million to $250 million.

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Maine lumber headed for China

WAGMTV.com
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

This the first step on a long journey from a small town in Maine to a province in China. “Shipped nine containers of three different individual homes over to the Chengdu province in China.” David Gordon is president of Katahdin Cedar Log Homes. Five years ago his company was contacted by someone in China who wanted to build log homes. “They don’t have the wood resource, not even close to what we have here. What they do have is fairly well protected.” This began a relationship between the group over there and the company here. “Last time we actually sent one of our dealers over from South Carolina to supervise the construction. So this time hopefully they know. They’ve asked a lot of questions so I think they do, they sound pretty good about it. Hopefully they know, but if not we can certainly walk them through any part they don’t understand.”

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Increasing demand for softwood lumber worldwide

By Wood Resources International LLC
Wood Business – Canadian Forest Industries
September 14, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International
International trade of softwood lumber is on pace to a new record high in 2017 if the trend from the first six months of 2017 continues in the second half of the year. Of the 10 largest lumber-exporting countries in the world, Russia, Finland, Austria and Ukraine increased shipments the most year-over-year during the first half of 2017. Russia alone, has accounted for 22 per cent of global lumber trade so far in 2017, which is up from 15 per cent 10 years ago, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. Canada’s seven consecutive years of expanding shipments may reach an end this year with export volumes having declined 2.2 per cent during the 1H/17.

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Heyfield timber mill to be saved as Victorian Government signs deal to buy struggling business

By Richard Willingham
ABC News, Australia
September 15, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Taxpayers are forking out at least $40 million to buy the beleaguered Heyfield timber mill in Gippsland, with the existing management becoming a shareholder along with the Victorian Government. The Government has finally signed a deal to buy the business, after Premier Daniel Andrews made the extraordinary decision to buy the mill in July. Under the arrangement, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods will continue to operate under the ownership of the Government and a shareholder group made up of the mill’s management. The Government has not said how much taxpayers have paid to buy the business but it is understood at least $40 million has been paid.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

The past, present and future of structural wood in Canada

By Peter Caulfield
Daily Commercial News
September 15, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

New and creative ways of making and using structural wood mean the material is becoming familiar even to observers from outside the construction industry. “With more CLT [cross-laminated timber] and other mass timber products becoming available, wood will certainly be used in more applications in the near future,” said Ian Boyle, principal of Fast + Epp, Vancouver-based structural engineers. But the growing enthusiasm for wood should be seen in perspective. “Wood construction is a tradition in Canada that goes back centuries,” said Michael Green, principal of Michael Green Architecture in Vancouver. …There is an increasing us of structural wood being used in institutional-commercial-industrial (ICI) construction, says Lynn Embury-Williams, executive director of WoodWorks BC, one of five programs of the Canadian Wood Council.

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An Innovative Collaboration in Affordable Ownership Housing in Toronto

The Daniels Corporation
Canada Newswire
September 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO – In a transformational private/public collaboration of city building in Toronto, The Daniels Corporation, together with their partners Diamond Corp., broke ground on a new 3.6-acre condominium community at 5131 Sheppard Ave. East called Daniels FirstHome™ Markham Sheppard. …Changes to Ontario Building Code in 2016 mean that the three mid-rise condominiums will be built utilizing wood-frame construction, making this the first community in the GTA to have mid-rise production, wood-frame residences that will provide a more cost-effective construction methodology. 

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Environment-friendly ‘plyscrapers’ blocked by red tape

By Lee Harding, Frontier Centre for Public Policy
Troy Media
September 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

If a tree falls in the forest, can a tree-hugger cheer? Yes, believe it or not. Felled trees can now replace concrete and steel in high-rise buildings, saving their weight in carbon emissions. Engineers and environmentalists are both rightfully excited by the new innovation in building high-rises. Unfortunately, a recent competition south of the border shows that governments are as likely to offer red tape as they are to roll out the red carpet. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a combined $3 million to two winners in its Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. The goal was to get the winners past the design stage – and municipal building codes – to build America’s first “plyscrapers,” which are high-rise buildings made of cross-laminated timber. Also known as mass timber, these modular sheets are glued or pinned together in layers. They’re stronger than concrete and resist earthquakes and even fire, charring instead of burning like typical lumber.

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Seeking greener construction, Chinese delegates visit U.S. wood construction authorities

By Bill Esler
Woodworking Network
September 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, International

TACOMA – A delegation from China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) visited  Tacoma, Washington-based APA-The Engineered Wood Association and toured wood-framed building projects in Seattle on September 11, 2017. The delegation, led by Director General Yu Binyang, was the highest level foreign government group to visit APA in recent years. In addition to APA, the trade visit was hosted by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Lab (FPL), located in Madison, Wisconsin. …The visit comes as China begins to formulate the nation’s timber structure construction development plan as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development. In a meeting held at APA headquarters in Tacoma, Director General Yu Binyang and other MOHURD representatives discussed opportunities and challenges around building with wood in China.

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Nonprofits to collaborate on patient lodging project in Coeur d’Alene

By Mike McLean
Spokane Journal of Business
September 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Community Cancer Fund, Kootenai Health, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Inland Northwest are collaborating to develop and operate lodging for adult and pediatric patients receiving medical treatment at Kootenai Health, says Jerid Keefer, Community Cancer Fund’s executive director. …The two-story facility will have 14 suites for adults and six suites for pediatric patient families, he says. The hospitality center also will have kitchen, laundry, and recreational facilities. …Katerra, which was the presenting sponsor of the event, says on its website that the Kootenai Health Hospitality Center will be constructed with cross-laminated timber panels. “We’re going to fund the project and work with Katerra to build it,” Keefer says. “Upon completion, we will gift it 100 percent to Kootenai Health.”

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Testing the wind: Clemson engineers work to make buildings stronger in face of storms

By Clinton Colmenares
Clemson University
September 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

CLEMSON, South Carolina — In a nondescript industrial steel building not far from Clemson University’s main campus, civil engineers fire two-by-four lumber out of an air cannon and test model buildings in a 50-mph wind tunnel to study the damaging effects of high-speed winds, like those created by tornadoes and by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  …One of the materials being tested at the Wind Load Test Facility is cross-laminated timber, layers of lumber oriented at right angles to each other and glued together. The material could be a much lighter, cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to concrete, Ashman said. For his doctoral research, Ashman uses models to study if cross-laminated timber can be used to construct balconies on low-rise hotels.

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New Edition: Raised Wood Floor Foundation Guide

Southern Forest Products Association
September 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA) has published an all-new, 2017 edition of its popular booklet “Raised Wood Floor Foundations – Design & Construction Guide”. This 16-page publication is aimed at homebuilders, architects, engineers and specifiers. It explains how to build to a higher standard, outlining the many advantages offered by building a wood floor system above grade, including long-term durability and trouble-free performance. Enhanced curb appeal and energy efficiency are added features. …“Here is a concise and very helpful guide to the workings of a raised wood floor foundation system, with options to meet various site and soil conditions,” explained SFPA’s Richard Wallace, vice president of communications. “This guide will become a timely tool as rebuilding gets underway in flood-ravaged areas,” he added.

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FPAC and the Canadian Wood Council Applaud the New WOODRISE Alliance

Forest Products Association of Canada
September 14, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) applaud the announcement of WOODRISE Alliance, a new international body dedicated to the development and promotion of tall wood buildings. This morning, at the inaugural WOODRISE 2017 World Congress in Bordeaux, France, six internationally renowned Research and Innovation Centres joined forces to ensure that wood can support lower-carbon buildings and be a solutions provider as we transition to a lower-carbon global economy. Canada’s FPInnovations joins organizations from Brazil, Finland, France and Switzerland as part of this ground-breaking initiative. …“Canada is a world-leader in how we sustainably manage our forests and in our experience and expertise when it comes to building with wood,” said FPAC CEO Derek Nighbor. 

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Forestry

Federal, Provincial Ministers Discuss Softwood Lumber Negotiations and its Economic Effects

By Natural Resources Canada
Canada Newswire
September 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, and his provincial counterparts today renewed their commitment to strongly support and defend the Canadian forest industry. The members of the Federal-Provincial Task Force on Softwood Lumber were hosted by Minister Carr at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, where the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers’ annual meeting is being held from September 14-15. The group discussed the ongoing negotiation of a new Softwood Lumber Agreement with the United States, even as negotiators from the two countries and Mexico renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Ministers received an update on the status of negotiations from Global Affairs Canada and were briefed on the roll-out of the Softwood Lumber Action Plan.

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Forest industry and Canadian Council of Forest Ministers open applications for sixth annual Skills Awards for Aboriginal Youth

Forest Products Association of Canada
September 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) are proud to open applications for the sixth annual Skills Awards for Aboriginal Youth program. Since 2012, the Skills Award for Aboriginal Youth has been recognizing exceptional Aboriginal youth who go above and beyond to support their communities and contribute to the forest sector. In 2015, FPAC partnered with CCFM to expand the program and offer two awards. The two awards, each worth $2500, will honour First Nations, Métis or Inuit individuals with strong academic standing who are committed to their field of study and to pursuing a career in the forest sector. …“The participation of Indigenous youth in the forest industry is paramount to its continued success” says the Honourable James Carr, Minister of Natural Resources.

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Province to review Rapattack

By Martha Wickett
Salmon Arm Observer
September 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The B.C. government will be reviewing the availability of accommodation for crews fighting BC wildfires, a move that bodes well for Salmon Arm’s Rapattack base, at least temporarily. Mayor Nancy Cooper reports that ministry staff have told her accommodation will remain at the local base through 2018. “While this is good news, we’re not going to be giving up on it… We will still be staying on top of it,” she says. “We’ve always said this (the Salmon Arm base) should be the model, they shouldn’t be taking this apart…” In September 2016, staff at the Salmon Arm base, which was established in the 1970s, were told by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations that the room and board option at the base was to be cancelled. A month later, Salmon Arm council was notified that catering at the barracks would end on Jan. 1, 2017 and housing on Jan. 1, 2018.

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Salvage logging anticipated by next summer

By Max Winkelman
100 Mile House Free Press
September 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Mills likely won’t be able to start logging burned crown land, including the Gustafsen area, until next summer, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO). “Areas burned that contain salvageable timber will be planned as salvage timber sales once field assessments, layout, stakeholder referral, consultation and other agency permissions are in place – currently anticipated by next summer.” According to the statement, BC Timber Sales (BCTS) is evaluating options to auction timber impacted by the current wildfires on provincial land. Furthermore, any timber that was cut and decked from fire guard construction is undergoing expedited evaluation/development. The schedule has sparked concerns on numerous fronts, including some burned wood going to waste and the destruction of any regrowth occurring this fall and spring.

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Resolute Puts Onus on Governments to Regulate Clearcutting

By Shelley Vinyard
Natural Resource Defense Council
September 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Several weeks ago, NRDC released new maps documenting continued logging in boreal forest areas that were placed under a voluntary logging moratorium via the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. …Following the release of our mapping analysis, one response surprised us: Resolute Forest Products… spokesman placed ultimate accountability for the activity we noted with the governments that decide the rules of the game. …Unfortunately, the logging industry’s lobbying efforts show they are interested in moving Canada in the opposite direction. The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has asked the federal government to “take a step back and reconsider the processes associated with the recovery strategy,” CEO Derek Nighbor wrote a few weeks ago.

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Sen. Daines talks forestry management at tele-town hall meeting

By David Jay
KPAX-TV
September 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)  R-Mont., focused on fires and forest management during a tele-town hall meeting held on Wednesday night. Sen. Daines says Montana forests have as much as five million of acres of dead or dying timber. “One of two things is going to happen,” Sen. Daines said. “Either we’re going to thin those trees out and take them and use them. Or it’s going to burn. That’s the two choices.” Sen. Daines also says that wildfires can not be eliminated. “We can reduce the risk, the frequency, the severity of them by better forest management practices,” Daines said.  “And it ought to be a layup. It ought to be the easiest thing. If you have dead and dying timber, why can’t we go in and harvest  that timber.”

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Forest Service spends record $2B battling forest fires

By Matthew Daly and Dan Elliott
Mail Tribune
September 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

WASHINGTON — The Forest Service has spent more than $2 billion battling forest fires around the country — a record as wildfires blacken the American West in one of the nation’s worst fire seasons. Wildfires have ravaged the West this summer with 64 large fires burning across 10 states as of Thursday, including 21 fires in Montana and 18 in Oregon. In all, 48,607 wildfires have burned nearly 13,000 square miles. The fires have stretched firefighting resources, destroyed more than 500 homes and triggered health alerts as choking smoke drifted into major Western cities. The Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is the nation’s primary firefighting agency. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the severe fire season means officials “end up having to hoard all of the money that is intended for fire prevention, because we’re afraid we’re going to need it to actually fight fires.”

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Weyerhaeuser Reopens Western Montana Lands to Public Access

Flathead Beacon
September 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Weyerhaeuser Company announced Thursday that it is reopening its lands to public access across Western Montana. The company closed access Sept. 5 due to high fire danger, but recent changes in weather prompted the ban to end. Predicted rain and cooler temperatures are offering welcome relief to the region’s hot, smoky conditions but fire restrictions will likely remain in place for the immediate future, according to fire officials. Among the restrictions, campfires are still prohibited in the outdoors.

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MP Talk: The deep roots of Finnish sustainable forest management

By Petri Honkonen, Member of Parliament for the Centre Party
Helsinki Times
September 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Petri Honkonen, Member of Parliament for the Centre Party

Finland has had forest policy longer than it has been an independent country. In the late 19th century, the slash-and-burn agricultural policy became illegal. Harming forests without having a legal right to do so also became punishable. The first law that limited foresting was set in 1886. The last time the forest legislation was reviewed was during the last election season in 2011-2015, when it received a strong consensus in the Finnish parliament. Forests are still very close to the life of ordinary Finnish families. In a playful way, Finns say they are “people of the forest”. Finnish forest politics has been carried out with the aim to manage forest resources in a sustainable way, maintain the biodiversity of forests, and ensure the effective regeneration of forests, as well as the overall growth of forest resources.

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Forest Fires

‘Devastating’ damage to Waterton, but rain now providing relief as some evacuation orders lifted

CBC News
September 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

The Waterton area of southwestern Alberta has been hit hard by the ongoing Kenow wildfire, a member of Parliament said. “The damage to Waterton is devastating,” Foothills MP John Barlow said in a Facebook live video Wednesday. “Hard to fathom the damage until you see it.” He says 30 per cent of Waterton Lakes National Park has been severely damaged, 70 per cent of the forested area has been lost and five homes outside of the park destroyed.  There is some relief in sight though. Wet, cool weather Wednesday night provided some relief to crews battling the wildfire in southwestern Alberta which crosses over into B.C.  Parks Canada said Thursday about six millimetres of rain fell overnight on the Kenow wildfire, which has not grown beyond an estimated 360 square kilometres.

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Evacuations lifted on Alice Creek fire near Lincoln

Helena Independent Record
September 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Everyone who was evacuated due to the 29,000-acre Alice Creek fire burning northeast of Lincoln was allowed to return home Thursday. A winter weather system that moved through the area of the Alice Creek fire left measurable precipitation. Fire officials and the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office conferred Thursday morning regarding the evacuation orders that had been issued in the preceding weeks.  …. Firefighters saw moderate activity Wednesday and expect the moisture to allow the lifting of some restrictions. Firefighters will continue to patrol the southern perimeter of the fire from Huckleberry Summit to Sucker Creek Road.

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New wildfires spotted in Mount Jefferson area, while Whitewater and Little Devil fires continue to grow

By Zach Urness
Statesman Journal
September 14, 2017
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Four new wildfires were spotted in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness on Wednesday, making clear that a historically flammable season in Western Oregon isn’t finished yet. The new fires are all located in the area already occupied by the Whitewater and Little Devil fires, which both grew during the past two days.  The active fire made clear that although temperatures are cooling and moisture is expected during the weekend, fire danger remains high, officials said. “This is the worst season we’ve had in Western Oregon, and we’re not over the hump yet,” Forest Supervisor Tracy Beck said. “Even if we get the expected rain on Sunday and Monday, that one storm probably isn’t going to do it by itself.”

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