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Oregon forest fire prompts evacuations
Residents in a Douglas County community were evacuated from their homes Wednesday night as wildfires scorched over a thousand acres near the Umpqua National Forest. Fire officials issued level 3 evacuation notice for the Dry Creek and Illahee area. They urged residents to leave immediately as the Umpqua North Complex fires burned across 1,410 acres Wednesday evening. For more, click here...

B.C. nearing worst wildfire season on record
British Columbia is poised to face its worst wildfire season as flames scorch thousands of hectares of land and costs rise to deal with the devastation. BC Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said an estimated 8,450 square kilometres of forest, brush and grassland has been burned since the start of the wildfire season on April 1. That compares with a record loss of 8,550 square kilometres in 1958. "(It's) safe to say we are on track for this to be the worst season on record for that area burned," Skrepnek said. For more, click here...

Oregon wood chip mill fire could burn for days
Firefighters from 11 midvalley fire agencies rushed to a predawn fire Sunday at the Wood Recovery Lumber Mill near Highway 99N at 29229 Milliron Road in Junction City, Ore. The fire was reported at 1:49 a.m. Sunday. A log deck and warehouse were among the parts of the business burning when crews arrived. Lane Fire Authority Chief Terry Ney predicted that the fire probably would burn for days. Nicol said equipment at the mill and some fire department equipment also were damaged. Several online business data­bases said the mill operator, Goshen Inc., was founded in 1992 and is a single operation in Junction City that is more commonly known as Wood Recovery. It manufactures wood chips. The business, which reportedly is sited on 30 acres, has $1.4 million in annual revenue and employs 13 people. For more, click here...

B.C. considers closing wide swath of Cariboo backcountry
A mix of dry conditions and forecast lightning has officials in British Columbia considering closing access to a vast section of its backcountry to mitigate the wildfire risk. Restrictions on access to all Crown land in the Cariboo fire centre would go into effect at noon on Friday as the province continues to battle what Premier John Horgan has said is the worst fire season since the 1950s. A final decision was scheduled to be made Friday morning. There were 148 fires burning in the province on Thursday with the majority of new starts in recent days attributed to lightning. For more, click here...

This week (August 11) in Through a Knothole
Unless strong compromises are made in the next few days, the prospects of a new U.S.-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement being reached before NAFTA talks begin August 16 appear slim -- The Southern Pine board market continues to trend away from its more volatile past as prices advance toward historically high levels -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore reached 432 million board feet in the first half, up 38% from the 2016 pace. All this and more, available only in the full weekly report.

Fire damages Idaho mill
ATHOL, Idaho – Fire erupted at a sawmill along U.S. Highway 95 Wednesday morning, sending plumes of black smoke into the air and suspending operations as firefighters arrived. There were no reports of injuries. Employees were on break when the fire started in the planer mill building at about 10 a.m. One worker said damage appeared to be significant. The mill site includes a fingerjoint mill owned by Merritt Bros. Lumber Co. Inc. and the planer mill that is being leased from Merritt by Vaagen Brothers Lumber Inc. out of Colville. For more, click here...

No end in sight for B.C. wildfires
Wildfires are continuing to tear through British Columbia one month after the provincial government declared a state of emergency. Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says the province has seen 904 fires since April 1 and most of the major blazes wreaking havoc are ones that prompted the state of emergency declaration July 7. That includes the massive 1,100-square-kilometre Elephant Hill fire near Ashcroft, B.C., that is believed to be human caused and remains under investigation. For more, click here...

This week (August 4) in Through a Knothole
Analysts have pared their midyear outlook for new housing construction in the U.S., citing sluggish overall first-half growth, including lower output in the multifamily sector -- Southern Pine #2 and #3 2x6 have traded in a historically narrow price range in the last three months, which has prompted widespread substitution between grades -- Duties, tough spring breakup conditions, and wildfires in the B.C. Interior have propelled prices of Fir&Larch 2x4 to record highs in both #1 and #2&Btr -- After a brief pullback in optimism last month, retailers have renewed their high expectations for sales of lumber and panels, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, available only in the full weekly report.

B.C. wildfire season worst in six decades
This year’s wildfire season has become British Columbia’s worst in six decades, and a provincial spokesman says the action is far from over. Kevin Skrepnek of the B.C. Wildfire Service said Thursday that 4,910 square kilometres of forest, bush and grassland have been torched, making 2017 the second worst in recorded history in terms of land destroyed. “I think it’s important for everyone to remember we are only in early August at this point,” Skrepnek told reporters during a daily wildfire conference call. For more, click here...

Extreme heat could fuel more fires in B.C.
Fire officials were hoping for a reprieve but as temperatures are set to soar, it doesn’t look like that’s coming. More than 150 wildfires are still active in the B.C. province, and the Cariboo Region has been hardest hit with more than 200 fires this summer that have resulted in 325,000 hectares being scorched. Fire officials are concerned the extreme dry heat could fuel more fires across the region. For more, click here...

Canadian officials to view Williams Lake fire damage
Crews fighting wildfires across British Columbia are once again preparing for challenges brought on by sweltering, windy weather as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to see fire damage for himself. Trudeau, Premier John Horgan and several federal cabinet ministers are set to visit Williams Lake on Monday. About 10,000 people from the Interior community were forced from their homes more than two weeks ago as flames threatened to cut access to highways. The group is to meet with military and RCMP members from a command centre in Williams Lake before visiting the fire centre and having a look at the fire zone from the air. Residents of Williams Lake have been returning home for the past few days, but others in the region are still under evacuation orders. For more, click here...

This week (July 28) in Through a Knothole
To the surprise and frustration of various parties, the U.S. Department of Commerce has yet to grant an extension to the deadline in the final decision in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty cases -- Even before wildfires broke out in British Columbia, structural panel prices were strengthening. Although only a few panel mills shut down because of the fires, those closures helped fuel another surge in prices -- North American structural panel production totaled 16.710 billion square feet (3/8-inch basis) during the first half of 2017, the highest level for the period since 2007 -- Chinese softwood lumber imports hit a record 7.05 million cubic meters in the second quarter, fueled primarily by a sustained surge in shipments from Russia -- Random Lengths has mailed out questionnaires to those companies listed in the 2017 Big Book for updating their listings in the 2018 edition. All this and more, only in the full weekly report.

Weather extends evacuation order in B.C.
Thousands of residents from Williams Lake, B.C., who hoped to be heading home soon after being displaced by wildfires nearly two weeks ago will have to be patient a while longer. Hot, dry weather in the foreseeable future for southern parts of the province prompted officials to say Wednesday that the wildfire crisis will likely get worse through the summer. Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said crews are still monitoring the situation around Williams Lake but because of weather conditions, the B.C. Wildfire Service is likely to recommend a delay in lifting the evacuation order. For more, click here...

Thousands of evacuees return to Williams Lake, B.C.
Thousands of people who rushed out of their homes as a wildfire neared Williams Lake are being allowed to return to the Interior British Columbia city, but with a warning that they could be forced to leave again. Mayor Walt Cobb said he couldn’t be happier an evacuation order that went into effect on July 15 was being lifted on Thursday. “The wildfires near our community are not 100% contained and due to the changing weather conditions an evacuation could happen,” he said. “So welcome home and please be as orderly in your return as you were during the evacuation.” For more, click here...

Fire evacuees await clearance from B.C. officials
The mayor of Williams Lake, B.C., says the city is ready to welcome thousands of residents home, as soon as fire officials give the okay. About 10,000 residents of the Interior city were forced to leave more than a week ago when flames from several wildfires threatened to cut highway access. Chris Duffy with Emergency Management BC says the hope is for Williams Lake residents to return "early to mid-week." For more, click here...

B.C. wildfires stabilize; 30,000 still evacuated
Wildfire crews in British Columbia continue to keep a close eye on the weather, but despite predictions of strong winds and lightning, conditions remained relatively stable over the weekend. The B.C. Wildfire Service website shows 18 new fires were reported Sunday, most of them in the Kamloops and southeast fire centres. All those fires remain small, with about half believed to have been sparked by lightning. The wildfire service lists at least four fires as human-caused. Evacuation orders for areas around 100 Mile House and Princeton were downgraded to alerts over the weekend, allowing many people to return home. More than 30,000 are still displaced by about 150 wildfires in the central and southern Interior. For more, click here...

This week (July 21) in Through a Knothole
B.C. Interior communities affected by scores of wildfires had only a slight reprieve this week, and continued uncertainty of supply drove lumber and panel prices higher -- Just over halfway through the year, 2017 has been a winner for most framing lumber producers. At the leading edge of that price resurgence has been green Douglas Fir -- U.S. housing starts rebounded in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.215 million units. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. premier extends state of emergency for wildfires
B.C. Premier John Horgan extended the provincial state of emergency for wildfires by an additional two weeks and boosted aid payments to those who were forced to evacuate their homes. Horgan emerged from his new government’s first cabinet meeting at the legislature to announce additional payments of $600 for each household for every 14 days evacuees are unable to return home due the wildfires raging in the province’s interior. More than 45,000 people have been forced from their homes as more than 150 wildfires continue to burn in B.C.’s Interior. For more, click here...

B.C. officials assess evacuation orders
More than a week after out-of-control wildfires sparked a mass exodus of about 40,000 people in the B.C. Interior, some residents who fled their fire-stricken communities learned they could be going home. Residents of the Village of Cache Creek — one of the first communities ordered to leave their homes and businesses — were told Monday they would be allowed to return to their homes on Tuesday afternoon. For more, click here...

Wildfires in B.C. an ongoing threat
Wildfires sweeping across British Columbia, the world’s biggest exporter of softwood lumber, sent timber prices surging and forced the closure of two copper mines in the western Canadian province. More than 375 fires have swept across the province, burning forests, displacing an estimated 37,000 people from their homes, and forcing sawmills and mines to shut down or evacuate. Lumber futures on Monday jumped by the exchange limit in Chicago to the highest in more than two months. For more, click here...

This week (July 14) in Through a Knothole
Wildfires burning across the B.C. Interior have halted logging operations and forced curtailment of numerous mills, tightening supplies and driving up lumber and panel prices -- Rumors have circulated that Canada and the U.S. are close to a new SLA, but sources are divided on the validity of the reports -- Preliminary duties on Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S. have failed so far to spur an increase in Canadian exports offshore -- Traders of Southern Pine plywood and framing lumber have mixed views on why the sales pace in that region has been sluggish lately -- Retailers have tempered their sales expectations after reporting a 2017 high the previous month. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. evacuation alerts could last for weeks
There are approximately 10,000 people in B.C.'s Cariboo Regional District under evacuation orders, and 10,750 under evacuation alert, including all of Williams Lake. Those alerts and orders may be in place for some time to come. Al Richmond, chair of the Cariboo Regional District, said they could be in place for weeks because of a lack of precipitation in the forecast for B.C.'s Interior, where crews are battling over a dozen large wildfires. For more, click here...

Fire testing completed on mass timber building
Five full-scale mass timber fire tests in a multi-story apartment building have been completed with promising results. The International Code Council Ad-hoc Committee on Tall Wood Buildings provided the five fire scenarios that were tested in each of the two one-bedroom apartments constructed using mass timber. The test scenarios included various arrangements of exposed and unexposed cross-laminated timber (CLT) with open doors between living and sleeping areas. Additionally, automatic sprinkler systems' effectiveness was evaluated. For more, click here...

BC firefighters brace for lightning, wind
Firefighters on the front lines of British Columbia’s raging wildfires are bracing for expected lightning and wind today, with all eyes on Williams Lake where more than 10,000 people are under an evacuation alert. Residents of the Central Interior community have been told to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, with municipal officials warning that today’s ominous weather forecast could push fires toward the city at a rapid pace. More than 14,000 people have been displaced by about 200 fires burning across the province, and Bob Turner of Emergency Management BC says the province is preparing for the possibility of mass evacuations. For more, click here...

BC wildfires force further mill curtailments
More than 300 wildfires in British Columbia have forced Canadian lumber mills to shut as hot, dry weather sparked blazes across swaths of western Canada and the U.S. Norbord Inc., the largest North American producer of oriented strand board used in residential construction, suspended production at its mill in 100 Mile House in central B.C. but stressed that, for now, the mill is safe. On Monday, West Fraser Timber Co., one of Canada’s largest lumber producers backed by billionaire Jim Pattison, said it shut three locations in B.C. -- 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Chasm. For more, click here...

Roseburg announces plans to build EWP plant in SC
Oregon-based Roseburg Forest Products will expand its operations in the southeastern United States with construction of a new engineered wood products plant in Chester, S.C. Roseburg publicly announced the project July 11 at a joint news conference with officials representing the state of South Carolina and Chester County. “This is an exciting strategic growth opportunity in a business that has done well for us,” Roseburg President and CEO Grady Mulbery said. For more, click here...

Thousands flee wildfires in California, Canada
Wildfires barreled across the baking landscape of the western United States and Canada, destroying a smattering of homes, forcing thousands to flee and temporarily trapping children and counselors at a California campground. In California, two major wildfires have sent nearly 8,000 people fleeing to safety. In British Columbia, firefighters were contending with more than 200 wildfires that had destroyed dozens of buildings, including several homes and two airport hangars. The three biggest fires, which ranged in size from five to eight square miles, forced thousands of people to flee. For more, click here...

This week (July 7) in Through A Knothole
Unresolved issues associated with the collection of recently announced preliminary duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. have kept traders in a cautious mode. Western Red Cedar traders will be among the first to deal with the late-August period when countervailing duties come off Canadian lumber exported to the U.S. Some Cedar mills already have order files extending to the fall. Reported prices of Southern Pine random #2 2x4 have fallen more than $100 in all three zones over the past two months. The downward spiral have come as little surprise to many traders. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

This week (June 30) in Through a Knothole
Random Lengths was published this week in an abbreviated 8-page format, excluding the Through a Knothole section. This is customary for the week preceding the Fourth of July holiday. Our regular 12-page format will resume next week with the July 7 issue.

Fire reported at Oregon veneer plant
Multiple fire departments have responded to a fire at a lumber mill in Lyons, Ore. Firefighters from surrounding cities responded to Freres Lumber Co., Plant 4, Monday afternoon after the fire was reported. The company posted on their Facebook page that as of 6:25 p.m., the fire was not yet under control. Everyone was able to get out safely and no injuries have been reported. On Tuesday morning, a Freres source said the fire was in the veneer plant and did not impact the plywood plant. For more, click here...

Norbord acquires wood allocation for curtailed OSB mill
Norbord Inc. (TSX and NYSE: OSB) today announced that the Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks has granted the company a wood allocation for its curtailed Chambord, Quebec OSB mill that will take effect April 1, 2018. "We are very pleased to have secured a wood allocation for our Chambord, Quebec mill so soon after acquiring it in the fall of 2016, and this is an important first step toward restarting production at the mill," said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's President and CEO. For more, click here...

This week (June 23) in Through a Knothole
The chief forester of the B.C. Ministry of Forests has announced a reduced annual allowable cut for one of the key timber supply areas in the province -- In the quarterly Trader's Notebook, key issues affecting wood products traders will include reactions to the combined CVD and AD duties and potential developments in any negotiations -- Prices of Ponderosa Pine shop have surged in 2017 after declining considerably in 2015 and floundering through much of 2016 -- The U.S. Department of Commerce imposed anti-dumping duties on Chinese hardwood plywood imports -- Most regions in Canada and the U.S. will experience normal fire risk this season, forecasters say. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Menards, Home Depot sued over descriptions of lumber size
Menards and Home Depot stand accused of deceiving the lumber-buying public, specifically, buyers of 4x4 boards, the big brother to the ubiquitous 2x4. The alleged deception: The retailers market and sell the hefty lumber as 4x4s without specifying that the boards actually measure 3½ inches by 3½ inches. For more, click here...

Idaho plans to use mass timber for new arena
The momentum for mass timber continues to gain strength and speed, with last week’s announcement that the University of Idaho will build its new $30 million basketball arena from wood. Why? Because Idaho wants, and needs, to stand out from its recruiting season competitors – and the new basketball arena might do the trick. “It ties in with our land grant mission. It ties in with the timber industry. It ties in with our need for a facility. This is really resonating with people,” UI Athletic Director Rob Spear told the Spokesman-Review’s Peter Harriman. For more, click here...

Tolko announces restart of OSB mill
Tolko Industries Ltd. is pleased to announce that the company is restarting its oriented strand board mill, located near High Prairie, Alberta. The mill has been closed since 2008 when North American housing starts fell to a generational low, resulting in a loss of markets for oriented strand board. With markets improving and optimism that housing starts will maintain upward momentum, the decision has been made to restart the mill, with production expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018. For more, click here...

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Thursday, August 17, 2017


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