Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: August 7, 2018

Today’s Takeaway

Trade war fallout spreading to more forest products and more consumers

The Tree Frog Forestry News
August 7, 2018
Category: Today's Takeaway

There’s more fallout from last week’s tariff decision by the US Dept. of Commerce. Headlines include: Trump’s trade war is hurting BC pulp mills and US newspapers; US newspapers see tariffs pushing them off a cliff; and Unifor says BC’s pledge to protect pensions won’t be enough. In other tariff news: Resolute’s CEO isn’t optimistic on softwood lumber; and China’s response on hardwood will affect everything from oak wood to veneered panels.

In Forestry / Fire news: one expert says private insurance companies could bare some of Canada’s high fire suppression cost; Ontario fires may have a long-term environmental impact; California’s timber industry can help reduce fire risk by thinning; and fire more than logging is causing forest degradation in the Amazon.

Finally—a heads-up, the Frogs need to recharge their pads and unless there’s breaking news, the Tree Frog News will publish on Monday only next week. Until tomorrow.

–Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Froggy Foibles

Ole Time Woodsman, a Maine fly dope from the 1880s, is back

By Aislinn Sarnacki
Bangor Daily News
August 7, 2018
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: US East, United States

Ole Time Woodsman, a fly deterrent with a story that spans back to Maine logging camps in the 1880s, has been resurrected and is now available for purchase online. With a pungent scent that is meant to mask the natural odor of a ripe lumberjack, the dark brown liquid is made from the same recipe as it was more than 100 years ago. “It’s a mixture of pine tar, petroleum distillates — like mineral oil and stuff like that — and essential oils,” Ken “Skip” Theobald III said. An angler, hunter and businessman from Prospect, Theobald purchased the company from his father and has recently worked with the Environmental Protection Agency in Maine to get it back on the shelves after a two-year hiatus. The story goes that a logging crew learned of the effectiveness of the “human scent camo” and placed an order, the rest is history.

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Business & Politics

Donald Trump’s trade war hurting B.C. pulp mills, U.S. newspapers

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News
August 6, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

The U.S. government’s latest trade attack on the B.C. forest industry is not only threatening jobs in B.C.’s pulp and paper business, it’s pushing struggling U.S. newspapers to make further cuts. B.C.-based Catalyst Paper is moving away from supplying U.S. newspapers and other customers due to continued border duties imposed at the request of a single pulp mill competitor in Washington state. The punitive duties, like those on B.C. lumber, have had their greatest impact on U.S. consumers of the product. …David Chavern, CEO of the U.S. News Media Alliance, said the latest decision… is hurting the newspapers he represents. He notes that the International Trade Commission (ITC) can still reverse the duties in a vote expected Aug. 29. “There is strong evidence before the ITC that it is the decades-long shift from print to digital – not pricing from Canada”.

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Newspapers caught up in trade war see tariffs pushing them off cliff

By Mehr Nadeem
Bloomberg
August 6, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Newspapers in the U.S. are caught up in the fine print of President Donald Trump’s trade war, as less attention grabbing tariffs on paper imports squeeze margins at struggling media outlets. …While the duties haven’t attracted the same level of attention as Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods and global metal imports, they encapsulate the burden U.S. trade policies can impose on American businesses. The paper tariffs helped push newsprint prices in June to the highest in more than nine years, just as a number of well known publications fired workers to reduce costs. The department in its final ruling last week cut the rate of duties. …“The lower tariffs help but in no way eliminate the threat that these tariffs present to the newspaper industry,” Sam Fisher, president of the Illinois Press Association, said in a statement.

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Paperworker union boss says B.C.’s pledge to protect pensions isn’t enough in light of U.S. tariffs

By Alex McKeen
The Star Vancouver
August 3, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER—Employees at B.C.’s Catalyst pulp operations are reeling Friday after learning the U.S. Department of Commerce has upheld its decision to impose 20.26 per cent anti-dumping duties on their newsprint products. The duty amount is eight per cent lower than the department initially planned, but Catalyst and its employees hoped they would be removed entirely. The company adamantly denies accusations from North Pacific Paper Company in Longview, Wash., that it’s injuring the American industry. Mike Rumley, president of Unifor Local 76, which represents workers at the Powell River mill location, said the tariffs spell uncertainty, especially for new employees.“We’re still in a bit of shock that they upheld and had the tariffs at all,” he told The Star Friday.

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Maibec is selling its two lumber sawmills to Groupe Lebel inc.

By Maibec
Cision Newswire
August 6, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

LEVIS, QC — Maibec is happy to announce that it concluded a transaction with Groupe Lebel of Rivière-du-Loup for their acquisition of the Maibec lumber mills located in St-Pamphile, Quebec and Masardis, ME. The 315 employees of Maibec that are concerned by this transaction will maintain their employment with Groupe Lebel. As both companies are privately owned, the details pertaining to this transaction will not be made public and no additional comments will be provided. Maibec will now focus on growing its pre-stained exterior siding’s systems based on lap sidings and shingles manufactured with solid wood or wood-based engineered material.

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Lumber Producer Sees Canada-U.S. Tussle Over Trees Dragging On

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg
August 2, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The odds of settling a long-running dispute between the U.S. and Canada over lumber are looking pretty bleak, according to a key producer. There’s been no progress to settle the Canada-U.S. fight over softwood lumber as governments have been more focused on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, said Yves Laflamme, chief executive officer of Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products. The company is currently paying about $80 million a year in tariffs, and it’s likely Canada’s legal battle to fight the U.S. restrictions through the World Trade Organization will drag on for another four years, he said. “I’m not optimistic at all on lumber,” Laflamme said Thursday in an interview following the company’s second quarter earnings call. “I’m not expecting any settlement.”

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China’s Tariffs on U.S. Hardwood Exports Deliver ‘Painful’ Blow

By Jen Skerritt
Bloomberg
August 3, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

China’s plan to slap tariffs of as much as 25 percent on U.S. shipments of hardwood means a “very, very painful ” blow from the top customer, the American Hardwood Export Council said. Everything from oak wood to veneered panels of laminated wood has been ensnared in China’s $60 billion escalation of the trade battle with the U.S. Half of U.S. hardwood production is exported, and the bulk goes to China, Michael Snow, executive director of the Sterling, Virginia-based council, said Friday in a telephone interview. “This could be, I don’t want to say ‘catastrophic,’ but very, very painful for the industry,” Snow said. Last year, shipments to China included $1.6 billion in hardwood lumber, $800 million for hardwood logs and $260 million for veneer, Snow said.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Minnesota looking to attract wood building material producers

By Jack Nissen
The Brainerd Dispatch
August 6, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

DULUTH—A burgeoning industry based on a relatively new type of material may be coming to Minnesota. Known as mass timber, the material is an alternative to steel in building construction. While dozens of buildings constructed with the product are dotted around the country, the majority stand in the Pacific Northwest. …Now, local groups and governmental agencies are working on a plan to bring that industry to the Midwest. But before a production facility can set up shop in Minnesota, officials need to know if the right kind of raw materials can be produced in the region. “This is a feasibility study where we’re taking a closer look at if the Midwest has the lumber production capacity and softwood lumber supply chain in place,” wrote Kristen Bergstrand, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, in an email.

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Construction Scotland Innovation Centre produces “first ever” hardwood cross-laminated timber in UK

By Fraser Rummens
Project Scotland
August 6, 2018
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

CONSTRUCTION Scotland Innovation Centre has the produced a hardwood cross-laminated timber, which will be used to construct the London Design Festival pavilion. The timber, which CSIC has described as the “UK’s first ever”, is to be used to construct the flagship pavilion of the London Design Festival in the Sackler courtyard of the V&A. The 9-metre high pavilion, named MultiPly, is a collaborative effort between Waugh Thistleton Architects, the American Hardwood Export Council and engineering firm Arup, with support from CSIC, Glenalmond Timber Company and the Centre for Offsite Construction & Innovative Structures at Edinburgh Napier University.

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Forestry

Metro Vancouver braces for ‘extreme’ impact of white nose syndrome on bats

By Larry Pynn
Vancouver Sun
August 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Burvilla [1905-era heritage home at Deas Island Regional Park in Ladner] is home to about 1,900 pregnant females — little brown and Yuma bats — that arrive in spring to give birth, rising to more than 3,250 bats with their young. “It’s the biggest colony that we know of in B.C.,” said Robyn Worcester, a natural resource specialist with Metro Vancouver. “They’re an incredible resource in this park.” … A lactating female bat consumes her body weight in insects every night. That’s a total of about 13 kilograms of insects consumed daily at Burvilla alone. All that could change. An introduced disease — white nose syndrome, first identified in North America in 2007 — could descend upon the colony any day now. …The disease is knocking on B.C.’s door after turning up in neighbouring Washington state in 2016, just east of Seattle.

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B.C. student helps design bracelet to measure poison air from wildfires

By Travis Paterson
BC Local News
August 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A group of high school students from Vancouver Island have come up with a carbon monoxide bracelet that could save lives in the face of a wildfire. It’s only a prototype, but the design, theory and potential for it was enough to win the top prize at the SHAD program at the University of P.E.I. …Matias Totz of St. Michaels University School (Victoria) was on the team that came up with the invention… The beauty of the bracelet is how simple it is. If you breathe on it, it changes colour to show the user much of the poison is in their body. “Our team learned through research that 80 per cent of deaths related to wildfires are carbon monoxide poisoning…,” Totz said. “We wanted a solution you could have with you at all times.” 

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Who foots the bill for forest fires? One expert argues there’s a simple way to save taxpayer money

CBC News
August 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

As forest fires rage across North America, one expert argues that Canada needs to rethink who foots the bill once the flames have been stamped out. “In Canada, the same-old, same-old basically is that taxpayers pick up the bill,” Glenn McGillivray, the managing director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, told The Current’s guest host Megan Williams. The B.C. Wildfire Service announced it is battling more than 450 fires, while Ontario has called in retired forest firefighters to help battle Parry Sound 33, the largest of more than 100 blazes currently burning in the province. The cost of fighting these fires is high, McGillivray said. “It’s really not uncommon to have a billion-dollar year in Canada, when you add all the provinces and territories in.” But, he said, “there’s a way in which we can pass these expenses, or at least part of them, off to the private insurance or reinsurance sector.”

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Trudeau dogged by pipeline protesters as he visits B.C. forestry centre and markets

Canadian Press in CBC News
August 4, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Justin Trudeau mingled with hundreds of friendly people at two family-focused events on Vancouver Island, but the prime minister was also reminded of the strong opposition his government faces over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.  At an outdoor news conference Saturday at the Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan, B.C., Trudeau acknowledged there are people opposed to the government’s decision to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan, however, he said it won’t stop the project or Liberal plans to fight climate change.  “There are people out there who think there is still a choice to be made between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy. I don’t,” he said. 

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Quesnel to host job training program for First Nations youth

By Heather Norman
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
August 2, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

The First Nations Youth Training Program will be taking place in Quesnel this year, running from Aug. 7 to Sept. 7. The five-week program, which is run by Blue Collar Silviculture, is designed to give indigenous youth the skills and experience they need to be employed in the natural resource and hospitality sectors. It aims to help solve indigenous youth unemployment. Blue Collar Silviculture partnered with Quesnel Employment Services to fund the project, with funding provided from the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. Youth aged 18-25 from First Nations communities across B.C. are eligible to apply for the program.

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Forest fires like ones in Ontario can take long-term environmental toll, experts say

By Gabriele Roy
Canadian Press in Global News
August 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO – Forest fires like the ones currently burning in Ontario can have long-term impacts on the environment, experts say, noting that increasingly warmer and drier weather conditions are making such blazes more common. …“We are seeing the manifestation of climate change happening in real form right now,” said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo. “It is bad now and it is only going to get worse.” …The way in which forest fires burn the ground has also changed in recent years, said Turetsky, noting that in the past, fires left patches of surviving vegetation and organic matter behind. “Now when we go in and survey these severely burned plots, we literally feel like we are walking on the moon,” she said. “This is a totally different ball game for the vegetation to re-vegetate.”

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Trump Inaccurately Claims California Is Wasting Water as Fires Burn

By Lisa Friedman
New York Times
August 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

In his first remarks on the vast California wildfires … President Trump blamed the blazes on the state’s environmental policies and inaccurately claimed that water that could be used to fight the fires was “foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.” State officials and firefighting experts dismissed the president’s Twitter comments. “We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency. …William Stewart, a forestry specialist… said he believed Mr. Trump was referring to the battle over allocating water to irrigation versus providing river habitat for fish. …Mr. Trump raised another issue when he wrote that officials “must also tree clear to stop fire spreading.” Scientists and forest experts said the president was referring to a valid and continuing debate.

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Forest Service releases draft management plan for Chugach

The Associated Press
August 7, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

KENAI, Alaska — The U.S. Forest Service is seeking feedback from the public on a draft revision to a management plan for a national forest in Alaska. The draft management plan and environmental impact statement were released last week for the Chugach National Forest, which covers the eastern half of the Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta, the Peninsula Clarion reported. The Forest Service revises the plan every decade to take in new data from monitoring, research and the public. The agency has been reevaluating the plan enacted in 2002 since 2012. The drafts include a climate change assessment and consideration of the changes to the area’s economy and to the forest’s physical condition and recreational use.

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Caribou Fire timber salvage OK’d

By Matt Baldwin
Daily Inter Lake
August 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Another timber salvage project has been approved on the Kootenai National Forest. Forest Supervisor Christopher Savage on Monday signed the decision for the Caribou Fire salvage and restoration project located on the Rexford Ranger District. The decision recovers the economic value of timber damaged in last summer’s Caribou Fire, which burned 24,753 acres north of Eureka. The project will include salvaging approximately 4,075 acres of dead and dying trees on the Kootenai Forest, amounting for an estimated 39 million board feet of timber. …The Forest Service was able to expedite the project under the approved “Emergency Situation Determination,” which determined the Caribou salvage was “an emergency situation based on a need to avoid a loss of commodity value in the trees to be salvaged.”

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New Log Truck Driving Program at Grays Harbor College Creates Next Generation of Drivers

By Kelsey Norvell
Grays Harbor Talk
August 7, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, the familiar sight of giant log trucks rolling through the streets was as common as the clouds in the sky. …Grays Harbor College (GHC) is nearing the end of a long journey to bring a Log Truck Driving Program to the area that will teach the needed skills to participants hoping to join the industry. …One of the driving forces for pioneering the program was the large number of log truck drivers retiring, leaving open gaps for employment for younger generations. While employers seek drivers with experience, the younger generations are not filling these jobs as rapidly due to the lack of training opportunities to gain the necessary experience for the jobs.

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California timber industry may be a ‘piece of the puzzle’ to help reduce state’s raging wildfires

By Jeff Daniels
CNBC
August 3, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As California wildfires rage, politicians, timber companies and environmentalists are debating whether to thin overly dense forest lands that fuel the state’s deadly infernos. About one-third of California is covered by forests, most of it owned by the U.S. government. Last year was the most destructive and deadly wildfire season in the state’s history. And 2018 through July is one-third higher in acreage burned than a year ago, according to Cal Fire. Some believe the state’s timber industry could be part of the solution by selectively thinning forests of trees. Timber harvesting has fallen sharply in California since the 1990s.  Despite opposition from some environmental groups, there’s talk of the need to remove more barriers to logging given that wildfires have become bigger, deadlier and faster moving. California’s timber laws are considered the most stringent in the nation.

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USDA wants help finding invasive beetle in Maine

Associated Press in Bangor Daily News
August 7, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Authorities in Maine and elsewhere in the country are asking residents to be on the lookout for the destructive Asian longhorned beetle this month. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says August is the best time of the year to check trees for the invasive pest, which destroys trees. The beetles can cause branches to drop from trees, and worsen storm damage. Tree deaths related to the beetle have been seen in New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Ohio. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says it needs help from the public to find and get rid of the beetles. The service calls August “Tree Check Month.”

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Natural Resources Research Institute hires silviculturist to inform forestry research

Duluth News Tribune
August 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

John DuPlissis

The Natural Resources Research Institute is pleased to announce the hiring of John DuPlissis in the role of Silviculture Research Program Manager. His previous role was as Rural Forestry Program Leader at the University of Nebraska.DuPlissis received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Science and Masters of Science degree in Forest Resources from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. In his role at NRRI, DuPlissis will coordinate research for ecologically sound forest management, develop and demonstrate practices that maintain or enhance forest productivity, and build collaborative community alliances. The mission of NRRI is to deliver research solutions that balance our economy, resources and environment for resilient communities.

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Fire, more than logging, drives Amazon forest degradation, study finds

By David Klinges
Mongabay.com
August 6, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The shrieking rip of a chainsaw and the muffled roar of fire: both of these sounds are associated with extensive destruction of Amazon rainforest. But is logging or human-caused fire a larger issue for the fate of the Amazon? …A recent study published in Environmental Research Letters explored these questions. …The researchers found that degraded forest stands contained an average of 45.1 percent of the amount of carbon stored in intact forest stands. They compared the impacts of fire and logging, the two most prominent drivers of loss of forest carbon stocks. Fires not only resulted in higher loss of stored carbon than logging, but fire-damaged forests also recovered more slowly than logged forests. Forests subjected to fire remained more impacted after 15 years than forests subjected to logging after the same duration, and neither type of forest recovered to pre-disturbance carbon density.

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Foreign forestry deal promises to support ‘billion trees’ plan

By Chris Hutching
Stuff.co.nz
August 5, 2018
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A big forest sale to an overseas investment fund was “likely” to advance the Government’s strategy to plant one billion trees over 10 years, according to the Overseas Investment Office. Australian company New Forests set up the fund, and associate director MaryKate​ Bullen expected a further multi-million dollar investment wave from another new fund. New Forests intended to prune more of the trees, “increasing the likelihood that the wood will be supplied to domestic processors”. About half of New Zealand logs are exported and much of the balance goes to pulp and paper. “While all our investments are managed by local firms, we work closely to help with operational efficiencies, and forest certification, which reflects our commitment to environmental and social values,” Bullen said.

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Forest Fires

Campers narrowly escape out-of-control wildfire at Nanaimo Lakes

By Katie DeRosa
Canadian Press in Victoria Times Colonist
August 6, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Campers in the Nanaimo Lakes area faced a harrowing escape from a wildfire on Monday. …The Nanaimo Lakes wildfire has grown to 75 hectares and is burning out of control. It is one of dozens of wildfires deemed out of control as hot and dry weather continues to grip much of the province. The Nanaimo Lakes fire, discovered Sunday, is on Crown land and privately managed forest land. At first, it was about two hectares, but extremely dry and hot weather conditions “preheated the fuel and allowed the fire to burn more easily,” said Natasha Broznitsky, a public information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre. …The fire is the largest on Vancouver Island. It is believed to be human-caused, but the exact reason has not been determined. 

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New evacuation order for northwest BC after intense lightning storm last week

Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
August 6, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

An evacuation order was issued Sunday evening for part of British Columbia’s Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako as a nearby wildfire rages on. Regional Board Chair Bill Miller said an intense lightning storm in the area last week ignited dozens of blazes, prompting the regional district to order the evacuation. He said the fires near Purvis and Nadina lakes that prompted evacuation orders have not put many people or properties at risk, though he didn’t have a specific estimate of how many people were affected. …Kyla Fraser with the BC Wildfire Service said most of the lightning has passed for now, but the long-term effects of last week’s storm may be felt for weeks as hundreds of fires broke out, stretching the province’s resources thin. She continued, saying the out-of-province firefighting aid requested last week was expected to arrive Monday night and will then be directed toward the highest-priority fires.

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B.C. Wildfires 2018: Latest communities evacuated include Telegraph Creek

CBC News
August 5, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Two more communities were ordered evacuated Sunday as wildfires continue to threaten properties in northwestern British Columbia. The B.C. Wildfire Service said 25 fires are currently burning in the Cassiar fire zone, including the Alkali and Elbow Lake wildfires. The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine ordered the evacuation of Telegraph Creek and the surrounding areas due to the Alkali Lake fire, which is now 2,000 hectares in size and growing. Homes in the Elbow Lake area were also ordered evacuated because of the Elbow Creek fire, which covers 450 hectares. Residents of both communities were told to leave their homes immediately and go to a reception centre at the People’s Haven at Stikine Street in Dease Lake, across the street from the Dease Lake Community Hall.

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Fire crews hold Parry Sound 33 perimeter despite hot, windy conditions

CBC News
August 5, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Although the fire known as Parry Sound 33, south of Sudbury, Ont., seems to have grown, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says crews are managing to hold the perimeter of the blaze, despite a combination of high winds and temperatures and low humidity. The MNRF says the fire has been remapped to 11,362 hectares, which it attributes to minimal growth on the southeast edge. Crews are continuing to lay hose lines in anticipation of increased burning conditions due to the hot, dry weather and wind gusts that could reach 50 kilometres an hour. The ministry says crews have been placed in key areas. “We are continuing to suppress that fire and things are progressing well,” Isabelle Chenard, a fire information officer for the northeast, said Saturday.

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19 of 42 forest fires burning in northeastern Ontario out of control

The Canadian Press in The Toronto Star
August 6, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources says that as of Sunday evening 42 forest fires were burning in the northeast region of the province, with 19 of them described as out of control. The Parry Sound 33 fire at just over 113 square kilometres remains the most dangerous of the wildfires.After raging for almost three weeks, it still hasn’t been brought under control.Hot, dry, windy weather this weekend helped fan the flames, however, despite the challenging conditions the ministry says crews made excellent progress in ringing most of the fire’s perimeter with hose lines.Today’s forecast calls for more heat and gusty winds, but with higher humidity and the possibility of 10-to-15 millimetres of patchy rain.

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Mendocino Complex Fire in California Is Now Largest in Modern State History

By Sarah Mervosh
The New York Times
August 7, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A fire raging in Northern California has become the largest in modern state history, the state’s fire agency said on Monday. The Mendocino Complex Fire, which is burning northwest of Sacramento, topped 283,000 acres on Monday, making it the most sizable California fire in a century of record-keeping. “It’s not a good sign,” said Lynne Tolmachoff, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire. She noted that the state was only in the middle of its fire season, with the worst fires often occurring later in the year, as the land becomes increasingly dry and weather patterns create windy conditions. “We’ve got a long road ahead,” she said. The Mendocino Complex Fire overtook last year’s Thomas Fire, which ate up nearly 282,000 acres.

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Brown asks Trump for wildfire aid as state battles 17 blazes

By Paul Elias
Associated Press in the St. Louis-Post Dispatch
August 4, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday called on President Donald Trump to help California fight and recover from another devastating wildfire season.Brown, who inspected neighborhoods wiped out by a wildfire in the Northern California city of Redding, said he was confident the president he has clashed with over immigration and pollution policies would send aid, which Trump did last year when California’s wine country was hit hard.”The president has been pretty good on helping us in disasters, so I’m hopeful,” said Brown, a Democrat. “Tragedies bring people together.” The National Weather Service forecasts hot and windy conditions to persist in Northern California.There are 17 major fires burning throughout California, authorities said. In all, they have destroyed hundreds of homes, killed eight people — including four firefighters— and shut down Yosemite National Park.

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Major wildfires in Oregon: 20,000-acre blaze near Dufur 60 percent contained

By Jim Ryan
The Oregonian
August 6, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

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Another Greek fire victim dies of her injuries

Associated Press in the Daily News
August 3, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

ATHENS, Greece —Greek authorities say a fifth person injured in last week’s forest fire near Athens has died in the hospital, bringing the total death toll to at least 88. State ERT TV said the woman who succumbed Friday was the 35-year-old mother of a 6-month-old baby that died in the blaze and the wife of a firefighter who helped battle the blaze near the resort area of Mati.Eleven days after the fire, the exact death toll was still unclear, with figures diverging between coroners and the fire department.The fire service, which has been issuing the official death toll, put the number of death at 88 on Friday, including two unidentified, unclaimed bodies. One person is still unaccounted for. Greece’s public order minister has resigned in the aftermath of last week’s deadly forest fires near Athens that killed at least 87 people.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

Thanks to climate change and wetter weather, forest soils are absorbing less methane

By Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Phys.Org
August 6, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Forests can remove methane from the atmosphere through the activity of soil bacteria. But increasing precipitation—a symptom of climate change—is making it harder for forest soils to trap greenhouse gases, creating a feedback loop that exacerbates global warming. So reports a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which concludes that forest soils have been overestimated as methane sinks by upwards of 50% worldwide. Few studies have quantified this process using long-term data. …”This study shows large, long-term declines in the ability of soil to absorb methane,” says Doug Levey, a director of the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research program… “That can explain why the amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, has been increasing in the atmosphere. The results uncover an important link among the soil, the atmosphere, and climate.”

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Biomass power plants sit idle, despite $1.2 million in subsidies

The Associated Press in Electric Light & Power
August 6, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: US East, United States

PORTLAND, Maine — Two Maine wood-fired biomass power plants remain inactive despite receiving approval for $1.2 million in state subsidies. The Portland Press Herald reports a July performance report shows the plants only purchased a small fraction of the wood fuel they promised to buy. The newspaper reports owner Stored Solar has trimmed the plants’ workforce and plans to restart the plants in the fall. The plants make electricity with leftover wood from forestry operations and sawdust from lumber mills. Maine’s Public Utilities Commission this year voted to give Stored Solar $1.2 million out of a state subsidy meant to keep the plants alive.

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The Latest: EU: Wildfires Show Impact of Climate Change

The Associated Press in Bloomberg
August 6, 2018
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Lisbon, Portugal — The Latest on hot weather and wildfires in Europe.  A European Union official says the dozens of forest fires in Sweden this summer “have highlighted once again the impact of climate change.” EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides says, “we are facing a new reality” regarding climate change. He said the 28-member bloc must “collectively learn from these tragedies” and must become “collectively (be) better prepared and stronger in responding to multiple disasters across the continent.” Stylianides said Monday in Stockholm that more than 360 firefighters, seven planes, six helicopters and 67 vehicles were mobilized through the European Civil Protection Mechanism in the past three weeks, calling it the “the single biggest operation” in a decade.

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