Support continues in D.C. to fix wildfire funding

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We wrote last week about how there seems to be wide support in D.C. to change the way the federal government pays to fight wildfires. Leaders from both parties agree that the U.S. Forest Service should not have to raid its own budget to fight massive wildfires, a practice known as “fire borrowing.” Instead, the Forest Service should be able … Read More

Wildfire funding reform heats up in Congress

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As fires continue to burn in forests around the West, most people seem to agree that we need to change the way the federal government pays to fight wildfires. The Forest Service is now spending most of its budget on firefighting, and that leaves little room for fire prevention, including forest thinning. From a report this week: In a new … Read More

Washington’s raging wildfires are a cause for reform

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Washington state officials recently confirmed what many people suspected: this is the worst drought in the state’s modern history. “We have never experienced a drought like this,”  said Maia Bellon, director of the state Department of Ecology. “It is remarkably worse than the drought of 2005 or 2001… and there is no end in sight.” The Methow Valley News put … Read More

Cross-laminated timber advances in the Northwest

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The cross-laminated timber (CLT) industry in the Pacific Northwest received a couple huge boosts this month. First the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it will help Washington and Oregon become a center for the manufacturing of CLT and its use in the construction of tall wood buildings. While there isn’t any money yet attached to the federal government’s announcement, … Read More

Barred owl killing plan continues but with uncertain results

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While the federal government considers revamping the Northwest Forest Plan and uplisting the spotted owl from threatened to endangered, there was another development recently in the spotted owl saga. Say what you will about the feds’ plan to kill the competing barred owl, but it’s at least an acknowledgement that the real threat to the spotted owl is its larger … Read More

Washington wildfire season is off to a blistering start

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The forest fire season in Washington has got off to such a terrible, destructive start that even a rain forest is burning. Before July had even begun, the Sleepy Hollow fire burned down 29 homes near Wenatchee. Several other wildfires still burn across Central and Eastern Washington, scorching hundreds of acres of forests. The Los Angeles Times commented that the … Read More

Exploring the nuances of forest collaboration

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Jim Petersen, the co-founder of the Evergreen Foundation, is a longtime and respected advocate for Northwest rural communities, forest landowners and timber professionals. His opinions have appeared on this blog several times before (here, here and here), and his Evergreen Magazine is still an invaluable resource for timber leaders after nearly three decades. Collaboration has also been a popular concept … Read More

Washington leaders tackle fish passage barriers

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Fish passages – those culverts you see underneath roads – are critical in allowing Washington fish to migrate both up and downstream. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that tens of thousands of these passages around the state don’t work correctly. Perhaps the culvert was built too small, too shallow, too high off the surface of the … Read More

Mill closures impact Washington rural communites

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The closure of sawmills and paper mills is always impactful to the small, often rural, communities in which many of them are located. As we saw with the final closure two years ago of the Harbor Paper mill in Grays Harbor County, Wash., the effect on people’s jobs and livelihoods is deep and wide-ranging. The closures put at least a … Read More

Alaska Airlines to complete flight powered by biomass

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It was just a few years ago that a coalition of aviation companies and other stakeholders were banding together to figure out a way to fly jetliners on fuel made from woody biomass generated by Northwest forests. And it was also a few years ago that Washington State Forester Aaron Everett said at the annual meeting of the Washington Forest … Read More