The wildfire season in the Northwest this summer is unprecedented. Eighteen large fires have burned 900,000 acres in Washington and Oregon, including the largest single wildfire in Washington state history. The Carlton Complex Fire has raged across north-central Washington since July 14, burning more than 250,000 acres and destroying 300 homes. The fire, burning for 11 days, is still only 55 percent contained and threatens an additional 1,100 homes.
The human impacts of the Carlton Complex Fire are wide reaching, like the man who died from a stroke while trying to protect his home, much of the city of Pateros being burned to the ground and fruit farms being destroyed.
The fires also rage as Congress is considering two different bills that would increase the amount of money the U.S. Forest Service has to fight wildfires.
The momentum behind the rise of tall wood buildings around the world is impossible to stop. The positive developments just keep coming. A Yale University study showing the massive environmental benefits behind wood construction. The U.S. federal government spending $1 million to train architects and developers about the benefits of large wood buildings, and another $1 million on a design competition to "demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability" of using wood for high-rise construction.
Tall wood buildings going up around Europe and Canada. One of the world's leading architecture firms, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, saying that even larger wood buildings - hundreds of feet tall - are technically possible, environmentally friendly and financially competitive. The Pacific Northwest becoming a potential hub for wood buildings in the U.S., with an Idaho timber company becoming the first to sell cross-laminated timber (the key component in large wood buildings) in America.
But what hasn't happened until now is the construction of a tall, modern wood building in the United States.
We already know that the private forest land in Washington State plays a vital role in the carbon cycle. Now with biomass fuel we can make use of these working forests for another carbon positive process, power generation. Biomass boilers use harvest and milling by products to generate steam as an alternative to fossil fuels.