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Future unclear for Montana mill
More than a month after the SK Fingerjointer, Inc. burned to the ground, officials in Libby, Mont., say it’s still too early to tell what will happen at the old Stimson Lumber Co. site. Tina Oliphant, executive director of the Lincoln County Port Authority that was leasing the finger jointer facility to SK Fingerjoint, says the company is still evaluating its options moving forward and has not decided if it will rebuild. “No decisions have been made yet,” she said. For more, click here...

This week (December 8) in Through a Knothole
The U.S. International Trade Commission voted 4-0 that the U.S. lumber industry was injured by imports from Canada, finalizing the countervailing and anti-dumping duties -- Lumber mills in B.C. and the Pacific Northwest are battling tight log supplies and escalating prices that are holding them back from increasing output -- Softwood lumber manufacturing in the U.S. is linked to an estimated 775,674 jobs with a payroll topping $46 billion, according to a recent report from Forest Economic Advisors -- Seasonal influences continue to control sales expectations for retailers, as survey respondents adjusted levels sharply lower in a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

ITC affirms duties on hardwood plywood imports from China
Today, the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued its final determination, activating significant tariffs on the imports of Chinese hardwood plywood, voting 4-0 that the domestic industry is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of these dumped and subsidized imports. Earlier this month, the Department of Commerce also made final determinations against Chinese hardwood plywood and set an anti-dumping duty of 183.6%, as well as countervailing duties ranging up to 194.9%.

Congress gears up for fight over mass timber legislation
The battle over the 2017 Timber Innovation Act is gaining momentum in Washington, D.C., where two new Senate sponsors and four new Congress members have signed on to it since this past May. The pending legislation would provide funding for research into innovative wood materials and mass timber structures above 85 feet. The bill’s proponents are hoping that it will be an impetus for transforming cities and towns across the country with a bevy of mid-rise and high-rise mass timber buildings. For more, click here...

Moody's predicts 2018 lumber prices will outweigh cost of duties
Sustained high lumber prices in 2018 will cover the cost of final duties imposed by the US government on Canadian lumber imports, benefiting North American producers and timberland owners, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report. "The continuation of tight lumber markets will allow the estimated $1.2 billion of duties to be collected in 2018 to be passed on to the U.S. consumer via elevated lumber prices," says Ed Sustar, a Moody's Senior Vice President. "This is credit positive for our rated Canadian and U.S. lumber producers, as high prices will outweigh the cost of the duty." For more, click here...

Softwood Lumber Board touts demand growth
Lumber is an integral part of your business and how America builds its housing. The Softwood Lumber Board’s (SLB’s) mission is to make it much more than that. Our unique programs are showing what is possible when building with wood across residential, commercial, mid-rise, appearance, and even tall building segments. In doing so, we are supporting and expanding the healthy, vibrant markets you need to grow sales. So far since 2012, our investments have resulted in 2.59 billion board feet of new demand—reflecting a fivefold increase through 2016. For more, click here...

Oregon veneer plant back online after fire
Workers displaced by a disastrous fire at Freres Lumber Co.’s Plant 4 on June 26 are now back at work in their usual capacities in the veneer production facility in Lyons, Ore. Freres crews and contractors worked at lightning speed and, in a remarkable four months’ time, brought the plant back online, producing its dry veneer used internally and sold all over the Pacific Northwest. “After four months and a lot of hard work, we’re up and running again,” says Kyle Freres, Freres Lumber Vice President of Operations. “It has not been without trial and tribulation, however. We had hoped to be online last month, but a large-scale electrical failure held us up. On November 2, the electrical problem was resolved and we are now, thankfully, operating again.” For more, click here...

Oregon senators criticize bill's wildfire provisions
Following the Senate Appropriations Committee’s release of its draft 2018 Interior and Environment bill, Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden on Tuesday called the bill’s wildfire provisions insufficient to prevent a repeat of 2017’s funding squeeze, reiterating their call for a full, long-term fix to wildfire suppression and prevention funding. Currently, the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies must raid funding from other programs to pay for wildfire suppression during bad wildfire years when suppression costs exceed the budgeted cost for fighting fires. For more, click here...

Canfor announces expansion at Georgia sawmill
Canfor Southern Pine announced today that it will make a $28 million expansion to its Moultrie, Ga., facility. Formerly Beadles Lumber Co. Canfor, a Canadian-based firm, purchased 50% of the Beadles operation in Moultrie and Thomasville in 2014 and now owns 100%. Cantor chose Moultrie for its expansion and has already begun installing new equipment. For more, click here...

Report: Strong global earnings at softwood mills in 2017
WOOD MARKETS’ (FEA-Canada) 8th biennial global benchmarking survey has once again placed the U.S. South at the top. The U.S. South was the highest margin sawmill region in North America – a place it has held since 2008 – as well as the top global earner again in 2016 and for the second quarter of 2017. All regions covered in the global sawmilling industry in 2016 and in 2017 showed good results; the average global earnings (EBITDA) at “average” sawmills actually dipped slightly from US$21/m3 (US$34/Mbf – nominal) in 2014 to US$18/m3 (US$29/Mbf) in 2016 but improved to US$24/m3 (US$39/Mbf) by 2017-Q2. For more, click here...

This week (November 17) in Through a Knothole
With the final countervailing and anti-dumping duty amounts now set in the U.S. softwood lumber case against Canada, the final leg of the yearlong affair is just weeks away -- With many prices at record levels, Cedar buyers are beginning to make purchases for the first quarter of 2018 -- Canadian housing starts in 2017 are on pace to finish solidly above their 2016 level, but a cool down is in store for 2018 -- Housing construction in the U.S. bounced back sharply in October after a severe hurricane season slowed the market in September -- Publicly traded wood products companies in North America reported some of the best quarterly earnings in recent memory during the third quarter. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Tolko commits to rebuild fire-damaged sawmill
Tolko Industries Ltd. said it is committed to rebuild its Lakeview Division sawmill where a fire damaged offices in the building earlier this month, but confirmed the sawmill could remain closed until next May. “It’s hard to say exactly how long the mill will be down for at this time as the engineering for the rebuild has yet to be completed,” general manager Troy Connolly stated in an e-mail Wednesday. “It could be as long as six months.” For more, click here...

China's focus on green building opportunity for B.C.
Forest Minister Doug Donaldson provided an update yesterday on the forestry trade mission underway in China and Japan. Donaldson says talks have been efficient, with China trying to focus on carbon emissions reduction by increasing proportion of prefabricated construction in new structures to 30 percent in the next 10 years. China has a ban on harvesting wood and the need for more product has gone up. For more, click here...

Teton West Lumber shutting down
Teton West Lumber, a remanufacturer and office wholesaler in Cheyenne, Wyo., has announced that the company will be closing. An announcement to their customers says, "After 43 years, Teton West Lumber finds itself in the unenviable position of having no workable plan to transition our company to the future. We regretfully announce that the companies will be liquidated over the next few months, beginning December 1."

Fire destroys Alabama planer mill
Grayson Lumber's planer mill in Houston, Ala., was destroyed by fire November 11. The company is uncertain how long it will take to rebuild.

Commerce announces final duties on hardwood plywood imports from China
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced Monday the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of hardwood plywood products from the People’s Republic of China (China). The Commerce Department determined that exporters from China sold hardwood plywood products in the United States at 183.36% less than fair value. Commerce also determined that China is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of hardwood plywood products at rates ranging from 22.98 to 194.9%. As a result of today’s decisions, Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collect cash deposits from importers of hardwood plywood products from China based on the final rates. For more, click here...

This week (November 10) in Through a Knothole
Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S. plummeted to a two-year low in the third quarter as the most severe fire season in history disrupted production in British Columbia through much of the summer -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore soared to the highest three-month total in more than nine years in the third quarter -- A new California fuel tax that will tack on a projected 32 cents per gallon on diesel went into effect November 1. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Fire destroys small mill in Montana
A fire has destroyed a lumber mill in Libby that officials say employed 30 people and was one of the last lumber companies in town. Two structures are a complete loss after a fire broke out Sunday. Lincoln County Undersheriff Brandon Huff said they got the call just after 2 p.m. for a fire at SK Fingerjoint, Inc, a mill with 30 employees. For more, click here...

Tolko updates fire at B.C. mill
The fire at Williams Lake proved itself stubborn as flare-ups continued over the weekend and into early Monday morning. The fire, located largely in the offices' section of the sawmill, continued to burn between the ceiling and roof. Given the location of the fire, it was difficult to get at from the outside and hard to safely access the inside of the building to fight the fire. The Williams Lake Fire Department attended the scene several times to aide in extinguishing flare-ups and monitor the location of the fire. As of this evening, the area is smoldering but under control. For more, click here...

Fire reported at Tolko sawmill in B.C.
Emergency crews continue to battle a fire at Tolko’s Lakeview sawmill in Williams Lake, B.C., Friday morning that erupted Thursday evening around 6:30 p.m. The 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department arrived Thursday evening to assist the Williams Lake Fire Department, already on scene. At around 10:30 p.m. Thursday the company’s communications advisor, Janice Lockyer, confirmed in a written statement that there was an active fire, but that no one was injured and the safety of the employees was the top priority. For more, click here...

This week (November 3) in Through a Knothole
The U.S. Department of Commerce issued its final determinations in the countervailing and anti-dumping duty cases, with the final rates averaging 20.83% -- The 2017 market left an indelible mark on the memories of nearly all traders, but the key question moving forward is whether this year's record-setting price run changes the way buyers approach the market in 2018 -- Chinese softwood lumber imports cooled moderately in the third quarter from the record-setting second quarter, but hovered at historically high levels amid steady to strong overall demand -- Retailers have trimmed their sales expectations for the late-fall and winter, but they are still more optimistic than year-ago levels, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

B.C. fires impacting exports
Damage that the worst forest-fire season in B.C. has done to the province’s forest industry is showing up in trade statistics that show overall exports down 14% to the end of August, according to B.C. Stats. Understandably, the fires that raged across B.C.’s Interior and consumed 12,158 square kilometres of forests, pushed timber companies out of the woods, diverting their employees to fight forest fires instead of harvesting logs for processing. For more, click here...

This week (October 27) in Through a Knothole
Prices of Western S-P-F #2&Btr 2x4 and 2x6 are in the midst of an historic run, but they still have a ways to go to hit or top their all-time highs -- Demand for Southern Pine MSR has surged since the middle of September, and producers are scrambling to keep pace with a sharp hike in new inquiries -- Nearly two months after hurricanes struck the Gulf Coast, many residents in Texas and Florida are still waiting for inspectors to assess damage to their homes so they can potentially receive federal assistance -- Eastern White Pine lumber producers have found it increasingly difficult to discard residual chips, and the effects are being felt across the supply chain. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

B.C. man files lawsuit over logging impact on sasquatch habitat
A sasquatch tracker from Golden aims to take the provincial government to court to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt (or a guy in a gorilla suit) that the legendary creature roams the B.C. wilderness. In a civil lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, Todd Standing accused the B.C. Ministry of Environment and B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch of “dereliction of duty pertaining to the interests of an indigenous wildlife species.” The Bigfoot researcher said he will provide physical evidence, video and eyewitness accounts to prove the hairy primate’s existence and asked the court to require a government biologist to accompany him into “known sasquatch habitat” for three months to further prove his claims. For more, click here...

Wildfire fight brings Northwest Democrats and Republicans together
The four Democratic senators from Oregon and Washington have found common ground with Idaho’s two Republican senators in a bill to reduce wildfire risks near communities. The legislation directs federal land managers to focus tree-thinning and brush-removal projects in areas where wildfire would pose the most risk to people, homes and businesses. It also allocates $100 million to help local governments and tribes in high-hazard areas prepare for fires. For more, click here...

Oregon reman plant burns
A fire at a Creswell, Ore., mill lit up the night sky Sunday as firefighters from the South Lane, Goshen, Pleasant Hill and Eugene Springfield departments rushed to a location in the 82000 block of Butte Road. Creswell Forest Products’ office and warehouse went up in flames as well as a 40- to 50-foot evergreen tree out front. The fire burned the office’s computers and supplies in the warehouse, including a forklift, said Capt. Aaron Smith of South Lane Fire and Rescue. For more, click here...

NAWLA helps get wheels under traveling forest exhibit
A while back, NAWLA was approached by the folks from Truth About Trees (who’ve had a steady presence at the Traders Market and Leadership Summit over recent years) and the Omaha Children’s Museum about a unique partnership opportunity. “Forever Forest” is a traveling children’s museum exhibit that will be weaving its way across North America over the next ten years. For more, click here...

This week (October 20) in Through a Knothole
Attempts to negotiate a new Softwood Lumber Agreement appear to be stuck in neutral -- Chronic truck shortages and widespread uncertainty surrounding delays in shipping are key factors in negotiations among Southern Pine lumber traders -- North American structural panel production rose 0.9% in the third quarter, according to APA -- The Engineered Wood Association -- Market factors were different when hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, but composite prices for structural panels soared then to similar levels experienced this year following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma -- Hurricanes hitting the Southeast were cited for September's 4.7% drop in the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in the U.S. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

California mill damaged in fire
Firefighters will be conducting an arson investigation Wednesday morning, to determine the cause of a fire at Thunder Mill Molding in Yreka, Calif. CAL FIRE said they were called to a structure fire on the 500 block of East Oberlin Road in Yreka at approximately 6:45 Tuesday night. When they arrived on scene, they found Thunder Mill Molding engulfed in flames. Fifteen engines surrounded the fire and knocked it down before 8 p.m. CAL FIRE said 50% of the mill was burned down by the end of the fire and that there were no injuries reported. Firefighters remained on scene overnight to mop up and watch any fire spots.

Forest exhibit will travel across the U.S.
The Omaha Children’s Museum is hitting the road. For the first time, the museum has created a traveling exhibit that will appear in select cities throughout the nation. “Forever Forest” opened a six-month run on Saturday in Omaha, and then it will spend the next decade visiting children’s museums and other venues across the country. The exhibit is all about trees, from the forest to your home. It’s designed to help kids learn about where wood comes from, how it’s processed and transported and all the ways it can be used. NAWLA is a major sponsor of the exhibit. For more, click here...

Report: U.S. industry failing to invest in research and development
A group of industry analysts finds the U.S. forest products industry has fallen far behind in producing new things out of wood. “Many traditional forest product markets have matured or declined,” the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities report stated. “Yet the sector’s research and development funding — essential to innovation — has fallen and its R&D capacity has withered.” For more, click here...

This week (October 13) in Through a Knothole
In the second half of 2017, 2x6 has been the hottest dimension item across nearly all North American species -- Traders are scratching their heads over why stud prices are lagging behind gains in random dimension -- Surging post-hurricane demand in Florida has fueled a sharp hike in reported prices of Southern Pine #2 4x4-8s -- Traders of Cedar shakes and shingles have grown weary over battling insurance companies over fire safety of wood roofs. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Fire hits Oregon particleboard plant
Production lines at Timber Products’ Medford, Ore., particleboard plant are silent following a two-alarm fire Tuesday night. Timber Products Vice President David Smith, who was in Medford Wednesday to inspect the damage, wasn’t sure when the plant’s 96 employees would return to action. “It’s too early to tell right now when we’ll reopen,” Smith said. “We’re still evaluating the facility.” The company’s plywood and veneer mills, adjacent to the particleboard facility at the northeast corner of Sage and West McAndrews roads, remained in operation. For more, click here...

Study: Glulam viable option for bridges
Glulam timber bridges are viable and cost-effective options for replacing bridges on low-traffic county and township roads. That’s what South Dakota State University researchers at the J. Lohr Structures Lab concluded after testing a full-scale glulam timber girder bridge. Glulam, short for glued laminated, means the structural members are made of layers of wood strips bonded with glue. For more, click here...

Judge strikes down Menards 4x4 lumber deception lawsuit
A federal judge has struck down Illinois lumber buyers who sued Menards over claims it deceived them about the size of 4x4 lumber boards. The judge said no reasonable consumers would regard Menards' lumber descriptions the way plaintiffs Michael Fuchs and Vladislav Krasilnikov did. The plaintiffs are seeking more than $5 million, saying they were "misled" because boards marketed by their nominal size descriptions such as "4 x 4," were actually 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches in size. For more, click here...

This week (October 6) in Through a Knothole
Wood products markets in 2017 are shaping up to be memorable, with close to 300 of the reported prices of lumber, panels, and veneer at record highs -- Prices of OSB have experienced an historic run that has lasted for most of 2017. As the fourth quarter opens and traders look ahead to prospects for 2018, the onset of new production makes projections more challenging -- Longtime Random Lengths editor Burrle Elmore died October 2 at the age of 74 -- A number of factors dating back to last fall have disrupted the flow of logs to mills across the West, causing wide variance in log decks heading into the fourth quarter -- Market runs fueled by forest fires and hurricanes have kept retailers off balance and unsure of how to proceed with purchasing, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey -- Fir&Larch #2&Btr 2x12 from Canadian sawmills in the Southern Interior of B.C. has been added to the Random Lengths Lumber Price Guide. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

U.S. and China lead lumber price increases worldwide
Increased demand for softwood lumber worldwide has pushed lumber prices upward, particularly in the U.S. and China during the first half of 2017, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...

Production cost margins worldwide outlined
Production cost margins for sawmills in Brazil, Russia, and Finland have fallen during the first half of 2017, while they increased to their second-highest level in 13 years in the U.S.South in the 2Q/17, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...

Weather brings wildfire relief in majority of West
Cool, damp weather has brought relief from wildfires in the northwestern U.S., northern Idaho and western Montana, but the fall fire season is getting underway in Southern California, forecasters said Sunday. The risk of big wildfires will be above average for Southern California through December, the National Interagency Fire Center said in its monthly forecast. For more, click here...

This week (September 29) in Through a Knothole
Lumber and panel traders are assessing a number of market factors arising from the destructive Atlantic hurricanes -- Mills and government officials in B.C. are beginning to quantify the damage done from the worst fire season on record in the province -- As a result of hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean, the spread between Southern Pine and western Fir plywood has closed dramatically -- The price of Douglas Fir veneer CD 1/8-inch 54s is on the cusp of setting a new all-time high. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

New CLT plant planned in Washington
Katerra, a high tech construction firm, will open a new factory in Spokane Valley, Washington, where it will produce mass timber products including cross-laminated timber (CLT) and Glulam. The materials will be used in its modular building manufacturing process. For more, click here...

Fire reported at Maine sawmill
A fire in the basement of the Maibec Lumber Sawmill in Masardis, Maine, early Saturday morning caused some damage to production lines, but should only impact production at the facility for a short time. No one was hurt in the incident. The fire began around 2:30 a.m. Fire departments from Ashland, Masardis, Portage, Mapleton and Presque Isle all responded. The fire was extinguished by 5 a.m. Mill Manager Nathan Whitney said production on one of the lines should be up and running by Monday morning. The line where the fire first began will be down for about a week, as the floor, hydraulics and electrical lines are repaired. For more, click here...

This week (September 22) in Through a Knothole
Softwood lumber production in the South has outpaced the West for several years, but the region may be poised to carve out an even greater share of U.S. output -- Softwood lumber and structural panel traders will spend much of the fourth quarter gauging how their markets adjust to a severe wildfire season in the West and historic hurricane damage in the Gulf region -- Housing starts in the U.S. continued to underperform early 2017 forecasts, with August showing a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.180 million units -- Analysts predict economic growth will continue at a slow pace in the next two years, and as a result, lumber consumption will increase only gradually -- OSB prices aren't at record levels, but traders would be hard-pressed to find a longer upward trend than the one that has spanned the majority of 2017 -- The recreational vehicle industry is in the midst of a record-breaking year for shipments, and composite panel producers are feeling the effects. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

B.C. forest industry assesses wildfire impact
British Columbia's wildfires, still not fully under control, have already scorched the equivalent of the entire year's timber harvest in the province's Interior. The state of emergency was lifted over the past weekend, but uncertainty remains for industry, workers and communities as the province begins to assess where it will find the timber to keep forestry mills running. "What's important for people as they come back to their homes and they want life to get back to normal, they want to go back to work and for many, that means coming back to work in our mills," said Susan Yurkovich, president of the Council of Forest Industries. For more, click here...

This week (September 15) in Through a Knothole
Rebuilding in storm-ravaged areas of South Florida in Hurricane Irma's wake will have little direct impact on demand for OSB, traders say -- Sales of CCX sheathing to Canada helped kick-start this summer's market run in western Fir plywood -- A hearing regarding the injury phase of the CVD/AD case against Canadian lumber imports was held, but a ruling isn't expected until late in the year -- North American lumber production reached 31.514 billion board feet in the first half of the year, a 2.2% gain over the like period of 2016 -- As dealers focus their attention on business prospects in the fall, sales expectations and inventories have been pared, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Demand for softwood lumber growing worldwide
International trade of softwood lumber is on pace to a new record high in 2017 if the trend from the first six months 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% of global lumber trade so far in 2017, which is up from 15% 10 years ago, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...

Oregon wood products companies relieved to see end of fire season in sight
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. For more, click here...

Trucking firms predict tight capacity as loads head to storm zones
Major trucking and logistics firms like XPO Logistics Inc, Daseke Inc and United Parcel Service Inc said capacity will shrink due to a rush of construction and repair shipments to big-box retailers and households across the storm-crippled U.S. Southeast, as analysts warned of higher shipping prices. The demand for lumber, generators, cleaning supplies and appliances for households and home improvement retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas as a result of damage from Hurricane Irma will fill trailers and containers not already claimed by shipments for the holiday shopping season. For more, click here...

B.C. forest industry faces long road to recovery from wildfires
Recovering from a historic wildfire season is expected to take British Columbia's forest industry at least five years, the province's Forest Ministry said on Wednesday. The ministry said in a statement that although wildfires will likely remain active into the fall, plans to help the industry rebound are already underway. For more, click here...

Timberland managers urged to take aggressive action to prevent wildfires
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke directed all Department of the Interior bureaus, superintendents, and land managers at all levels to adopt more aggressive practices, using the full authority of the Department, to prevent and combat the spread of catastrophic wildfires through robust fuels reduction and pre-suppression techniques. This year-to-date, 47,700 wildfires have burned 8 million acres across the country, with the majority of the devastation in the states of California and Montana. High-profile fires in Yosemite and Glacier National Parks have caught national headlines, however millions of acres of forest and grassland have burned in recent months. For more, click here...

This week (September 8) in Through A Knothole
Like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and other storms over the years, Hurricane Harvey's eventual impact on softwood lumber and structural panel markets will manifest itself gradually, take years to unfold, and may never be accurately measured. Lumber supplies to the U.S. market in the first half increased 3.0% from the like period of 2016 to 24.140 billion board feet, the highest level since 2007. North American softwood lumber exports to China rebounded in July after a sluggish first half. All this and more, but only in your full weekly report.

This week (September 1) 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 Labor Day holiday. Our regular 12-page format will resume next week with the September 8 issue.

Wildfires continue to scorch Oregon
Wildfires in Oregon are burning an area roughly equivalent to half the state of Rhode Island, affecting air quality throughout the state and forcing the evacuations of more than 4,500 people, fire authorities said Wednesday. Two dozen fires in southern, eastern and central parts of the state had scorched a total of 571 square miles (1,478 square kilometers). For more, click here...

Oregon wildfires prompt air hazard warning
Wildfires are burning thousands of acres across the state, prompting evacuations and air hazard notices in several areas. Northern winds carried smoke from southern Oregon and northern California wildfires as far upstate as Portland, where it blanketed skies in an acrid haze. The metro area was under an air quality alert until 7 p.m. Tuesday. The air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Air quality also suffered in central and southern Oregon. On Tuesday afternoon, air quality in Applegate Valley near Medford was ranked fourth worst in the nation. For more, click here...

B.C. premier: 'No end in sight' to fire season
Premier John Horgan said British Columbians can take comfort that emergency personnel are doing everything in their power to address the absolutely disastrous fire season that has unfolded. But, he did warn that “it’s still August, it’s still very, very hot and no end in sight.” For more, click here...

Fire restrictions prohibit logging in some parts of Oregon
Extreme fire conditions have prompted officials in Oregon to close some sections of the state to all logging activity. On Monday, the Coos Forest Protective Association announced they have upgraded to a Level 4 shutdown in Southwest Oregon, which prohibits use of chainsaws, among other things. Also, some parts of Douglas County in southern Oregon will go to a Level 4 shutdown as of September 1. To view a map from the Oregon Department of Forestry that details various forest closures throughout the state, visit click here...

Wildfire prompts evacuation notice in Oregon
With a Level 1 Chetco Bar Fire evacuation notice issued Thursday for his community, Brookings (Ore.) City Manager Gary Milliman takes some comfort knowing that preparations for this moment already had been made. "The city has been actively engaged in getting prepared for more than a week," Milliman said Friday morning. The growing Chetco Bar wildfire prompted officials to issue a Level 1 warning for Brookings, a city of about 6,500 residents, at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Level 1 means people should be prepared to leave their homes. For more, click here...

Evacuations ordered near Kelowna, B.C.
Evacuations are underway east of Kelowna due to a new wildfire burning in the Highway 33/Philpott Road region. An evacuation order has been issued for the entire area of Joe Rich, from Walker Hill on the Highway 33 western boundary of Kelowna, to Big White Road to the east, and Mission Creek and Joe Rich Creek along the south, according to Central Okanagan Emergency Operations. About 474 properties and 1,100 people are affected, but should conditions worsen, more could be forced to evacuate. For more, click here...

This week (August 25) in Through a Knothole
Framing lumber prices have been eroding in many species, but the market run that lasted for most of the first seven months of 2017 will go down as one of the strongest in the past 25 years -- The recovery from the worst fire season on record in British Columbia will take years, and with it could come further reductions in the province's annual allowable cut -- Many Southern Pine buyers have gradually shifted purchases toward #1 in traditional #2 applications this year to take advantage of higher quality lumber and historically narrow price differences between the grades -- When Congress returns from August recess, a reauthorization of the Farm Bill will likely include numerous provisions relating to the forestry and forest products industries -- Southern Pine radius-edge decking prices have posted nine consecutive monthly average gains since November, the longest string of uninterrupted hikes on record. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Wildfires combine to create largest blaze in B.C. history
Over 400 firefighters are working to contain the largest wildfire in British Columbia’s history. Kevin Skrepnek of the B.C. Wildfire Service said 19 fires merged in an area west of Quesnel in the Interior, creating a single fire estimated to be 4,674 square kilometres in size. Coordinating a response has been a challenge because the fire measures more than 130 kilometres from one end to the other, he said, adding that 25 helicopters and 73 pieces of heavy equipment are being used. For more, click here...

This week (August 18) in Through a Knothole
When prices of framing lumber escalated throughout much of the first half of the year in the western U.S., many buyers anticipated that mills would ramp up production to meet increased demand. However, a lack of labor and logs have kept production flat -- Western S-P-F #2&Btr 2x6 prices have recently been at a premium to #2&Btr 2x4 for the first time since early 2016 -- As summer heat persists across much of the Northwest, the amount of Ponderosa Pine developing blue stain increases. And some traders are embracing a niche market for blue stained lumber -- U.S. housing starts slipped 4.8% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.155 million units. Steady declines in the multifamily sector fueled the drop -- A number of North American wood products companies reported their highest profit margins since the second quarter of 2013 amid the spike in lumber prices. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

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.

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...

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...

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.

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...

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...

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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