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WoodWire is retiring in July. Content will be integrated into the Random Lengths Price and News Service.

Do you have information that should appear in Daily WoodWire? Send it to Jeff Redd, WoodWire editor, by fax at 1-800-874-7979, or email to

COVERAGE NOTE: Changes proposed for Price Guides in Random Lengths, Random Lengths International
Random Lengths is seeking industry feedback on several changes or additions to the Random Lengths and Random Lengths International lumber and panel price guides. If carried through, these changes would take effect with the October 4, 2019, issue of Random Lengths, and the October 2, 2019, issue of International.

First, Random Lengths is considering adding the Canadian Spruce Plywood 3/8-inch delivered Toronto price to the structural panel section of Midweek. This is an addition widely requested by the industry since Random Lengths and Crow’s merged in April of this year.

Also under consideration is a change in Canadian OSB delivered prices on page 13 of the 14-page weekly report. Current regional prices delivered Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Atlantic would change respectively to Regina, Winnipeg, and Moncton, N.B. Added to the guide would be delivered prices for Halifax, Nova Scotia. These changes would make the price grid for Canadian OSB delivery points consistent with that of Canadian plywood sheathing.

Another proposed change is the retirement of footnoted deduct prices for Western S-P-F Std&Btr 2x4 random dimension found in footnotes on pages 5 and 6 of the 14-page weekly newsletter. The deduct is from the published #2&Btr price. Industry feedback to date indicates there are no longer any Western S-P-F mills grade stamping 2x4 random dimension as Std&Btr.

For Random Lengths International, changes in production over the years may necessitate a change in the description of Douglas Fir 4-1/8x4-1/8 baby squares from green to kiln-dried stock. Industry feedback collected to date indicates al-most all production of baby squares is now kiln dried.

For comments and queries regarding these changes, please send email to: Comments must be submitted by the end of the business day August 12.

For other Random Lengths Coverage Notes please see:

For more information on Random Lengths assessment methodology, please see:

Western Forest Products, union disagree over mediator
Western Forests Products and the union representing about 2,600 striking forest workers in British Columbia say both sides want to begin negotiations but can't agree on a mediator. The strike began on July 1 and involves hourly employees and contractors, affecting the company's six mills and its timberland operations in the province. For more, click here...

What's a Hoo-Hoo?
The International Order of Hoo-Hoo: The Fraternal Order of the Forest Products Industry, is one of the longest standing industry service clubs in the world. Professional associations may provide valuable networks, but the men and women of this historic fraternal order share a bond that goes far deeper. If you work in the forest and lumber sector, you’ve likely heard of this enigmatic club. Perhaps you’re a member. But do you know the history of the club and the origin of its name? For more, click here...

Western Forest Products strike heats up
Striking forestry workers on Vancouver Island are turning to a tactic that hasn’t been used in British Columbia in 10 years to make sure trees cut down for Western Forest Products won’t get to market. A large local of the United Steelworkers is calling on other B.C. union members — particularly the 6,500-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) — to refuse to transport what they say are millions of raw logs felled on Vancouver Island. For more, click here...

This week (July 12) in Through a Knothole
Log prices in the Pacific Northwest are on the decline at the same time lumber prices have risen, giving relief to lumber producers in the region -- Imported panels from Brazil are down roughly 9% through May of this year, but Southern Pine plywood traders say products from South America have had more of an impact on domestic sales this year compared to last -- Twice within the past year, prices of 1/8-inch wide Douglas Fir 54-inch veneer have been a model of stability. Twice within that same period, prices have been unstable -- Retailers' sales expectations for lumber and structural panels over the next three months showed little change on the whole, but seasonal influences led to stark changes in projections by region. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. fire season off to slow, wet start
After two consecutive record forest fire seasons, B.C. emergency officials are seeing a slow start to the 2019 B.C. wildfire season, with wet conditions in the south and high fire risk only in the remote northwest. This summer has started with the old normal, weather unpredictability. After a second straight cold winter with lower than average snowpacks, a dry spring has given way to heavy rain across the more populous parts of B.C. For more, click here...

Thousands strike at Western Forest Products in B.C.
About 3,000 forestry workers are on strike in coastal British Columbia after negotiations between Western Forest Products Inc. and the United Steelworkers failed to produce a new contract. Western Forest Products said about 1,500 of the company's hourly employees and 1,500 employees working for its timberland contractors and operators walked off the job Monday. For more, click here...

This week (June 28) in Through a Knothole
Conventional wisdom dictated to traders in the non-structural panel industry that as new capacity expansion in the South and Upper Midwest ramped up, prices would fall. That outlook has shifted dramatically in recent weeks -- Many traders expected that European Spruce imports to the U.S. would increase as Canadian shipments to the U.S. eased, but that transition has moderated through April -- Price spreads between grades of Southern Pine lumber have shifted significantly with market volatility in the past year, but the gap between #2 and #3 2x6 on the westside swung dramatically and narrowed to single digits last month -- Almost two months since the U.S.-China trade war escalated with tit-for-tat tariffs more than doubling on billions of dollars worth of goods shipped between the two countries, softwood lumber exporters are searching for alternatives with no resolution on the horizon. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

This week (June 21) in Through a Knothole
Although a far cry from production cutbacks seen recently in framing lumber markets, a couple OSB curtailments announced last week have caught the attention of traders -- Softwood lumber traders will begin the third quarter trying to determine whether the mid-June breakout in prices was driven by a true increase in seasonal demand, or simply the result of supply-side production cutbacks -- Across the U.S., a drawn-down labor pool is affecting a broad swath of the economy, with the logging industry experiencing its own employment problems -- U.S. housing starts slipped in May from an upwardly revised April reading. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.269 million units last month was down 0.9% from the updated total for April -- The lifting of tariffs on U.S. plywood sales to Canada have led to increased interest in CCX-grade panels. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. imposes interim ban on resource development to protect caribou
The British Columbia government plans to sign a caribou protection strategy while it imposes an interim moratorium on new resource development in areas of the South Peace region where the animals are struggling for survival. Premier John Horgan says a report on caribou recovery recommends the pause to allow for consultation with communities, industries and First Nations. For more, click here...

New evacuation orders due to 'aggressive' Alberta wildfire
Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as gusting winds stoke wildfires burning across northern Alberta. A swath of new evacuation orders were issued Monday, with residents across northern Alberta being told to gas up their vehicles and be ready to leave in a hurry. New evacuation orders were issued at around 11 p.m. for communities in and near Mackenzie County. For more, click here...

This week (June 14) in Through a Knothole
It's been said for the past two decades that "days of reckoning" were coming for the British Columbia forest products industry as the mountain pine beetle ravaged swaths of Interior forests. Those days have arrived -- A push to establish modular homes as a viable alternative to on-site construction is taking place -- Canadian softwood lumber exports to China in April posted a sixth consecutive monthly increase compared to year-ago volumes -- Prices of green Douglas Fir 4-inch dimension have risen for six consecutive weeks after falling for a year straight -- North American lumber production in the first quarter fell 3.7% to 15.017 billion board feet compared to the same period of 2018. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. braces for more closures as forestry sector continues to struggle
The B.C. government is struggling with a diminished wood supply, leading to job losses and mill closures across the province. Norbord Inc. announced on Tuesday its intention to indefinitely curtail production in 100 Mile House, B.C., in August, 2019. The announcement comes after a string of closures and curtailments across the province. For more, click here...

Vietnam to crack down on Chinese goods relabeled to beat U.S. tariffs
Vietnam has said it will crack down on goods of Chinese origin illegally relabeled "Made in Vietnam" by exporters seeking to avoid U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs on Chinese imports. Vietnamese customs have found scores of such cases amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute, the department said in a statement posted to a government website on Sunday. For more, click here...

Pinkwood, Eastern Engineered Wood Products announce distribution agreement
Eastern Engineered Wood Products, a wholesale distributor of structural wood products used in residential and light-commercial construction, and Pinkwood, manufacturer of the patented WEBshield panel, announce a distribution agreement to regional wholesalers, pro lumber dealers and component manufacturers in New England and through the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. WEBshield panels are designed to provide code compliance for fire performance when using I-Joists in unfinished basements.

This week (June 7) in Through a Knothole
The supply of softwood lumber to the U.S. during the first quarter edged up a preliminary 0.8% to 11.640 billion board feet compared with the same period of 2018 -- 2019 has disappointed and frustrated most Southern Pine lumber traders, but reported prices suggest the South has actually fared relatively well compared to the broader North American market -- Two longtime mainstays among Oregon mills recently announced they were shuttering their facilities, and log costs and availability were cited by both companies -- Western Red Cedar trading has picked up in recent weeks, but some traders believe historically higher prices have done long-term damage to market share -- The stark contrast between current wood products markets and year-ago levels were readily apparent in the Random Lengths monthly retail survey. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Bank of Montreal: Lumber market can't be fixed with Band-Aids
Lumber companies curtailing near-term production to fix weak pricing is like "medics treating battlefield wounds with Band-Aids," according to Bank of Montreal analyst Mark Wilde. Cuts have so far amounted to about 0.8% of annual production, but it is not enough, Wilde writes in a note. "They won’t stanch the bleeding in a horrible market" as the lumber "market is ugly -- very ugly," due to higher supply and weaker-than-expected demand, he said. For more, click here...

This week (May 31) in Through a Knothole
Lumber capacity expansion in the Southern Pine region is expected to peak this year following last year's significant increase and prior to an easing of growth in 2020 -- It has been a year since sawlog prices in the Pacific Northwest hit lofty, historic highs. The picture is quite different this spring, with log prices softening amid weaker lumber demand -- Demand for cross-laminated lumber (CLT) is expected to increase dramatically in the next decade, evidenced in part by the number of manufacturers entering the fledgling North American market. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Wildfires put Alberta town on evacuation alert
A wildfire has prompted an eight-hour evacuation alert for a northern Alberta town that saw parts of it destroyed in a 2011 fire. The alert says Slave Lake is not in imminent danger, but residents should be prepared to evacuate on short notice. The town is the latest community to be put on evacuation alert, as several fires rage out-of-control in northern Alberta and blanket areas to the south in an acrid haze. For more, click here...

Fire reported at G-P particleboard plant in Georgia
Firefighters are working to extinguish what's being called a "major fire" at the Georgia-Pacific particleboard plant on Harrison Road in Thomson, Ga. Fire agencies from McDuffie County, Warren County, Augusta, Avera, and Wilkes County are all on scene to help fight the fire. Rick Campbell, spokesman for the company, says company officials don't know how the fire started, but said it began in their raw material storage building. For more, click here...

Alberta wildfire grows, but away from High Level
A fire burning near a northern Alberta town has grown slightly, but officials say firefighters are making good progress. The Chuckegg Creek fire, currently the largest in the province, is about three kilometres southwest of High Level, where crews have been creating a fire break to protect the town. For more, click here...

Warmer summer expected in Western Canada spells bad news for forest fires
With the wildfire season already underway in British Columbia and Alberta, Environment Canada is predicting a long, hot summer to come. The wildfire threat has already forced evacuations in northwestern Alberta and central British Columbia, and the preliminary outlook for this summer points to worsening conditions, said David Phillips, Environment and Climate Change Canada’s senior climatologist. For more, click here...

Feature film, "The Lumber Baron," premiers May 24
“The Lumber Baron,” a full-length movie that was filmed in the Chippewa Valley, will have its premiere on Friday in three cities, including Eau Claire. “The Lumber Baron,” set in Wisconsin in 1910, portrays the lives of the Upper Midwest lumber barons and jacks. The story involves Daniel Rimsdale Jr., who leaves medical school and returns home to the Chippewa Valley to try to salvage the floundering family lumber business and save his family from financial ruin. For more, click here...

This week (May 24) in Through A Knothole
Sales of new homes in the U.S. fell in April, but from a markedly elevated reading in March -- Random Lengths is published this week in an abbreviated format, which is customary for the issue preceding the Memorial Day holiday. Midweek will not be published Tuesday, May 28. Our normal schedule resumes with the May 31 issue.

Evacuation ordered for High Level as wildfire approaches
People living in and near High Level, Alberta have been ordered to leave their homes because of danger posed by an out-of-control wildfire. The Town of High Level issued an evacuation order at 4 p.m. MT Monday, telling residents to secure their residences and take their personal belongings. The evacuation will be done by zones, and residents have been told to be prepared to be away from their homes for at least 72 hours. For more, click here...

Wood tornado shelter provides safe, affordable storm protection
USDA Forest Service researchers have developed a tornado shelter made of wood that provides powerful protection at an affordable cost. With safety and security in mind, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) engineers designed the residential tornado shelter to resist the high wind pressure and debris impacts generated by high-wind events. For more, click here...

This week (May 17) in Through a Knothole
U.S. exports of Southern Pine and most other species of softwood lumber, panels, and logs to China are subject to tariffs ranging from 20-25% as the ongoing U.S.-China trade war escalated in early May -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore suppliers cooled in the first quarter after posting six straight annual hikes and soaring in 2018 to the highest volume in more than a decade -- U.S. housing starts in April rebounded as many analysts had expected from disappointing levels in February and March -- Some North American wood products companies reported modestly improved financial results during the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Canadian fire officials update forecast for wildfire season
This year’s fire season forecast is normal across the country for the month of May, but the hazard is expected to increase for much of Western Canada this summer. Natural Resources Canada’s Northern Forestry Centre in Edmonton, one of five research centres with the Canadian Forest Service, provided the update on Wednesday. For more, click here...

Trudeau offers Canadian lumber, steel to help rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral
Canada is offering softwood lumber and steel to help with the reconstruction of Paris’s famed Notre-Dame Cathedral, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday after touring the iconic monument that was partially destroyed by fire in mid-April. Not long after arriving in Paris, Trudeau visited Notre-Dame alongside the cathedral’s rector, Patrick Chauvet, and French Culture Minister Franck Riester. For more, click here...

U.S. Interior announces payments to western Oregon counties
U .S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced today the issuance of $30.1 million to 18 counties in western Oregon as a part of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Community Self-Determination Act extension. The funding will go directly to the counties, supporting investments in education, infrastructure, public safety, health services, and other critical expenditures made by these jurisdictions. For more, click here...

Southern Pine lumber included in new tariffs
Southern Pine lumber exports to China will face a 20% import tariff, rising from the current 10%, effective June 1st. Other species as well as OSB and softwood plywood will face a 25% tariff. The measure comes in retaliation to the U.S. raising tariffs on Chinese imports after trade negotiations between the two countries reached an impasse last week. The talks, centering on unfair trade practices and protection of intellectual property rights, are expected to continue among high-level officials before a meeting between President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping in June. For more, click here...

This week (May 10) in Through a Knothole
With poor weather no longer a reason for holding back wood products markets in most regions, traders remain pessimistic that a strong pickup in sales is in store -- Russian softwood lumber production will jump 26% by 2028, according to forecasts outlined in a Fastmarkets RISI report released in February -- Prices of Western Red Cedar #4 boards reached all-time highs in late 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. The yearlong period following those record levels, however, has been one of persistent softness. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

U.S.-China talks continue despite tariff increase
It appears the U.S. – China trade negotiations will continue in Washington, D.C. this week (May 7) as scheduled despite concerns that President Trump’s Sunday night tweet had derailed the process. Although reports over the last few weeks indicated that negotiations had been proceeding in a positive direction with an agreement anticipated in the near future, the President’s tweet indicated that China had begun to walk back on important commitments made over the past week, triggering the President’s threat to increase tariffs. For more, click here...

AWC launches Fire Service Advisory Council
The American Wood Council (AWC) has launched its Fire Service Advisory Council, a national group of fire service experts that will provide AWC and the wood products industry with broad-based advice and guidance on fire safety strategies and tactics regarding wood construction, wood products, and the wood products industry’s engagement with the fire service. For more, click here...

Oregon using drones to aid firefighting efforts
As drone technology improves, firefighters are taking advantage of the features by using them more and more on wildfires. In 2018, the state of Oregon saw the most drone flights on federal wildfires out of any other state. For more, click here...

B.C. cautious to sound alarm on fire season
After two record-breaking wildfire seasons, officials in B.C. say 2019 could be another busy year but are cautious to say whether it will measure up. That’s despite warnings from U.S. counterparts that last year’s deadly fires that decimated the West Coast could be repeated. For more, click here...

This week (May 3) in Through a Knothole
Wood products traders have experienced a market of extremes from last year's record highs to this year, when prices are bouncing along a bottom -- Many commercial traders are still studying the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's amendments to lumber futures trading hours, price limits, and settlement procedures that take effect this month -- Wood products industry managers are in agreement that 2018 was unprecedented, but expectations for compensation in 2019 are mixed, results from Random Lengths' annual survey indicate -- A heavy snowpack and April rains lowered the severity of drought across the U.S., easing the potential for an early 2019 fire season, according to a U.S. National Interagency Fire Center report -- According to Random Lengths' monthly retail survey, sales expectations flattened in April, as the effects of wet weather kept loads from shipping smoothly to job sites in most parts of the country. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Forecast calls for busy wildfire season along West Coast
Most of the country can expect a normal wildfire season but residents along the West Coast of the United States should be ready for another busy season, the National Interagency Fire Center said Wednesday. For more, click here...

Sawmill profits fell substantially in second half of 2018
Lumber prices in North America continued their decline from the 3Q/18 with another quarter of substantial reductions, according to Wood Resources International. For more, click here...

Nature Conservancy of Canada receives $1 million gift from J.D. Irving
In celebration of National Wildlife Week earlier this month, the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s national Landmark Campaign has received a donation of $1 million from J.D. Irving, Ltd. For more, click here...

This week (April 26) in Through a Knothole
Retail managers' income increased modestly in 2018 despite significant price erosion in wood products during the latter half of the year, according to the Random Lengths Compensation Survey -- Green Douglas Fir prices have fared better than most other species in recent weeks, but sales have still fallen short of most traders' expectations, especially following two recent mill closures -- Inland lumber production through the first quarter lagged the year-ago pace by more than 8%, according to data compiled by the Western Wood Products Association -- North American structural panel production in the first quarter edged down 0.4% compared to the same period of 2018, APA -- The Engineered Wood Association reported. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Sodra investing in new CLT facility in Sweden
Södra has decided to invest in an additional CLT facility at Värö, Sweden, and aims to become a leader in the Nordic region. “Society’s driving forces for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are strong, and the interest in sustainable construction is growing in the market. A higher rate of timber construction is playing a key role in the growing bioeconomy. It is also an important step in our mission to process the wood raw material delivered by our 52,000 forest-owning members,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO. For more, click here...

Saskatchewan wildfire triggers state of emergency
Saskatchewan’s fire commissioner is urging people across the province not to have open fires as a wildfire near the town of Biggar sparked a state of emergency and some evacuations. Duane McKay said crews are assessing what impact a change in wind directions might have on the grass fire but that smoke has been moving away from the community about 90 kilometres west of Saskatoon. For more, click here...

New bargaining dates set in B.C. labor dispute
Contract negotiations for local forestry workers may come to a head next month as new bargaining dates have been set following a deal struck by a union shop in northern B.C. United Steelworkers (USW) and the Interior Forestry Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) will meet in Kelowna from May 15 to May 17 to discuss a new contract for workers who have gone without a new deal for nearly a year. For more, click here...

CME announces amendments to lumber futures contract
Effective Sunday, May 19, 2019, for trade date Monday, May 20, 2019, and pending all relevant CFTC regulatory review periods, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. ("CME" or "Exchange") will amend the Daily Settlement Procedure Document and Rule 20112.D. For more, click here...

This week (April 19) in Through a Knothole
According to Part 2 of Random Lengths' 4-part Compensation Survey, wholesale/distribution managers' average income fell well short of expectations and declined from 2017's record -- Traders looking for answers as to why 2019 has failed to break out from its early year lethargy have focused on the weather. While the past winter has been a rugged one, warmer and drier weather has not yet brought much response in sales or price appreciation. An analysis of why -- Stringent road regulations in some California cities can exacerbate the impact of heavy rain on shipments to job sites -- U.S. housing starts fell in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.139 million units, about on par with February's downwardly revised pace of 1.142 million units. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

USITC votes to continue investigation of wooden cabinets and vanities from China
The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) today determined that there is a reasonable indication that a U.S. industry is materially injured by reason of imports of wooden cabinets and vanities from China that are allegedly subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value. As a result of the Commission’s affirmative determinations, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue with its antidumping and countervailing duty investigations concerning imports of these products from China, with its preliminary countervailing duty determination due on or about May 30, 2019, and its preliminary antidumping duty determination due on or about August 13, 2019. For more, click here...

Workers recruited from Ukraine to help Canadian forest industry
Svitlana Protsenko's new job represents a new start for her family and an important new hope for the industry that sustains the New Brunswick town the Protsenkos now call home. Protsenko, her husband and their three children came to Saint-Quentin from Kharkiv, Ukraine, 32 kilometres from the border with Russia. They are just one of the families who've make the trip from Ukraine this year to work in the forestry sector, which is suddenly facing a labour crisis. For more, click here...

CN Rail to challenge ruling that it breached service obligations
The Canadian Transportation Agency has determined Canadian National breached its level of service obligations in the Vancouver area late last year, while Canadian Pacific and three other railways did not. The federal transportation regulator says the country’s largest railway breached its obligations by announcing its intention to impose embargoes on wood pulp shipments last September, several months before rail congestion and other challenges emerged in the Vancouver area. For more, click here...

Forest products companies get innovation boost in Maine
A pair of Maine forest products companies is receiving $1.5 million in technology grants to bring innovation to one of the state’s oldest industries. The Maine Technology Institute is awarding $750,000 to GO Lab of Belfast. The other half of the money is going to Biofine Developments Northeast for a project in Bucksport. For more, click here...

Who are America's 20 biggest landowners?
The Land Report, a magazine for the American landowner, publishes a list of the 100 biggest private landowners in the U.S. every year. The top 20 individuals and families each own a minimum of half a million acres. Unsurprisingly, the wood products market claims quite a few names on the list -- many of which are owned by families who've been able to claim their land for generations. For more, click here...

This week (April 12) in Through a Knothole
A World Trade Organization panel issued a ruling April 9 in the anti-dumping duty case that has been described as a split decision, but U.S. officials are lauding the ruling while Canada is mulling an appeal -- A slightly older and more experienced group of mill sales managers were on the job in 2018, according to Part 1 of Random Lengths' four-part annual Compensation Survey -- Canadian softwood lumber exports to China have rebounded sharply since late 2018, stemming the downward tide from recent years. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Workers at four B.C. mills reject deal
Workers at four interior sawmills have rejected a tentative collective agreement with CONIFER. USW Local 1-2017 recently concluded the ratification votes for 13 operations covered by the CONIFER memorandum of agreement reached February 13 in Prince George. For more, click here...

This week (April 5) in Through a Knothole
Traders are in near-unanimous agreement that market activity across species and regions will strengthen, as adverse weather loosens its grip on the continent. Many also believe, however, that increased consumption will be limited by a dearth of available labor -- This week's copy of Random Lengths has expanded from 12 to 14 pages following the merger with Crow's Weekly Market Report -- Coming off one of the most volatile markets in history in 2018, OSB traders weren't expecting this year's first quarter to be the polar opposite -- Reported prices of Southern Pine lumber reversed course during the first quarter, a trend that had occurred only three times before in the last 25 years -- In a monthly Random Lengths survey, retailers reported growing optimism about sales expectations, but inventory levels were flat. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Report on North American mass timber industry available
The Beck Group, in partnership with Forest Business Network, recently completed a first-of-its-kind report about the state of the mass timber industry in North America in 2019. To purchase a copy, click here...

Canadian sawmills gain market share in China
Softwood lumber imports in China during January-February 2019 totaled 3.82 million cubic meters (+16% compared to 2018). "This is a new record and the seasonally adjusted trend line for the Chinese import of softwood lumber is increasing at a record high level," says Jenny Wessung, CEO at the analysis company Woodstat AB, which specializes in the softwood lumber market. For more, click here...

Log imports to China reach record high in 2018
China had another record year of softwood log imports in 2018, when over 40 million cubic meters of logs landed at Chinese ports, according to Wood Resource Quarterly. This was the third consecutive year of year-over-year increases, with 2018 volumes being up 37% from 2015. For more, click here...

30 killed fighting forest fire in China
A fire high in the mountains of western China's Sichuan province has killed 30 firefighters and others, the government said Monday. The deaths occurred after a change of wind Sunday as the firefighters were battling the blaze in a rugged area at an altitude of 3,800 meters (12,500 feet), according to the Ministry of Emergency Management and the military. Among the dead were 27 firefighters and three local residents recruited to help fight the blaze, the ministry said. For more, click here...

This week (March 29) in Through a Knothole
U.S. softwood plywood imports from overseas shattered records in 2018, led by a massive surge in shipments from China and strong hikes in deliveries from South America -- As Arauco's new Grayling, Mich., particleboard plant continues to ramp up production, traders are looking at past industry capacity expansions for clues on what to expect in the coming years -- Prices of green Douglas Fir 4-inch dimension have been so depressed that they haven't registered a single uptick in more than a year -- U.S. housing starts in February fell 8.7% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.162 million units, missing analysts estimates. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

World's tallest timber-framed building opens
Worldwide, buildings produce about 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions. While net-zero energy buildings and retrofits can improve those numbers, the construction industry—and, specifically, the materials it uses—has an intrinsic role to play. In Norway, a new high-rise edifice built almost entirely of wood—call it a “plyscraper”—has finally opened its doors. For more, click here...

Votes on sawmill contracts drawing mixed outcomes
The process of ratifying new agreements at northern B.C.'s unionized sawmills has hit some bumps. United Steelworkers Local 2017 business agent Brian O'Rourke named on Monday nine operations where deals have been ratified and another three where votes remain pending. That leaves four where workers have rejected ratification. For more, click here...

USDA invests millions in forest projects
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest more than $12 million this year to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems through targeted projects on both public and private lands in nine states. Since 2014, USDA has invested $213 million in 69 Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership Projects, which focus on areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned lands. For more, click here...

This week (March 22) in Through a Knothole
Markets for lower grades of softwood lumber have thrived across North America amid stagnation that has besieged the more heavily traded #2&Btr -- Single-family home size in the U.S. declined for a third straight year in 2018, indicating the market has shifted from a post-recession trend of larger homes to a move toward smaller, more affordable units -- Shipping loads by truck was a consistent struggle for traders in early 2018, but the frenzied pace of a year ago has subsided along with truck shortages -- After tumbling for most of the second half of 2018, prices of OSB have flatlined so far in 2019 in northern producing regions -- Price spreads between Ponderosa Pine Inland #2&Btr and #3 1-inch boards have widened over the past 18 months. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Global softwood lumber trade fell 7% in 2018
In 2018, global trade of lumber fell for the first time in five years, with total trade down 7% year-over-year, according to Wood Resources Quarterly. The four largest importing countries, the US (-18%), China (-5%), the United Kingdom (-13%) and Japan (-6%) all imported less in 2018 than in the previous year. Much of the decline was the result of weaker economic prospects and reduced housing starts. For more, click here...

This week (March 15) in Through a Knothole
Harsh winter weather has heavily impacted demand across Canada and the U.S. Traders are openly wondering if pent-up demand will lead to a surge in business -- North American lumber production edged up 0.8% in 2018 to 62.3 billion board feet, with U.S. output driving the uptick -- Last year's record price volatility and anomalous trends will remain fresh in softwood lumber traders' minds as they assess second-quarter prospects. Random Lengths' Trader's Notebook explores the key issues -- Spreads between Std&Btr and #2&Btr 2x4 in Inland species are at or near their highest levels since #2&Btr prices in White Fir/Hem-Fir and Fir&Larch debuted in the price guide in April 2012 -- The start of 2019 has been sluggish for panel markets, but Southern Pine plywood has been in a slow and steady upward climb, unlike OSB and western plywood. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

This week (March 8) in Through a Knothole
Supply of softwood lumber to the U.S. market in 2018 totaled a preliminary 48.422 billion board feet, representing a 1.9% gain from the previous year -- Random Lengths Publications and Crow's Weekly Market Report will merge effective April 5, when the strengths of both weekly newsletters are combined into a single publication -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from overseas suppliers soared to the highest volume in more than a decade last year, posting a sixth consecutive annual hike -- U.S. housing starts in January rebounded from a downwardly revised and bearish reading in December -- Despite winter weather holding down lumber and panel markets, retailers are optimistic that sales will pick up in the spring. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance files trade case vs. China
Today, the American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance (AKCA) initiated one of the largest trade cases ever filed against China at the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission (ITC). Filed by Wiley Rein, LLP, the AKCA is standing up for more than 250,000 American workers across the industry in the United States. For more, click here...

U.S., China near trade deal
The U.S. and China are close to a trade deal that could lift most or all U.S. tariffs as long as Beijing follows through on pledges ranging from better protecting intellectual-property rights to buying a significant amount of American products, two people familiar with the discussions said. For more, click here...

This week (March 1) in Through a Knothole
Weather has played an unusually prominent role in Southern Pine lumber markets this winter -- Housing starts closed out 2018 with the weakest monthly showing in more than two years, as the seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts plunged to 1.078 million units in December -- Western Fir plywood has realized limited upward price movement this year, with sheathing gains mostly confined to 1/2-inch 4-ply -- The Canadian forest products industry is hoping that tariff eliminations included in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership will spur increased lumber trade with co-signing member nations. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Union, Canfor come to terms on tentative contract
Just days after coming to terms with Conifer, the United Steelworkers Union hammered out a tentative agreement with its three Canfor Independents in Prince George, Vanderhoof, and Chetwynd. The deal was reached on Monday between both parties, affecting the Plateau and Polar facilities at Canfor. For more, click here...

This week (February 22) in Through a Knothole
Amid recent cuts in production in British Columbia and more anticipated in the months ahead, Western S-P-F output is the focus of industry rationalization -- Prices of many wood products have pushed notably higher through the first two months of 2019. OSB has been a noticeable outlier -- Analysts say conifer chip prices are mostly stable, after divergent trends were on display early last year -- Weak fourth-quarter financial results capped a historically volatile 2018 for North American wood products companies. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Tentative labor agreement reached in northern B.C.
A tentative agreement has been reached between Conifer and the United Steelworkers Union representing sawmill workers across Northern BC. Brian O’Rourke, the President of Local 1-2017, says a deal was struck in Prince George late last week after three days of talks. For more, click here...

This week (February 15) in Through a Knothole
A seasonal supply-driven run in Southern Pine #2 2x12 prices is relatively common during the winter, but the current surge is especially strong by historical standards -- Prices of most framing lumber items have bounced off a bottom since the turn of the year. In the Coast region, nothing has been hotter than #2&Btr 2x12 -- U.S. Fir plywood producers are again selling CCX panels to Canada, despite a 10% tariff -- Housing Indicators for the fourth quarter of 2018 are highlighted. This and more, available only in your full weekly report.

U.S., China attempt to strike trade deal
Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday as both sides pursue a trade deal before an early March deadline, the South China Morning Post reported. The report, which cites sources close to the matter, said Xi "is scheduled to meet" with key members of the U.S. trade delegation that's in Beijing, including Lighthizer and Mnuchin. For more, click here...

Mississippi State develops smartphone app to test lumber
Determining the stiffest piece of lumber is now easier with a new smartphone app created by scientists in Mississippi State University’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center. Called “Smart Thumper,” the app uses soundwaves or vibrations to determine stiffness, a quality that relates to strength, for individual pieces of lumber. For more, click here...

New Zealand battling worst forest fire in 60 years
A massive bushfire has churned through more than 5,600 acres on New Zealand’s South Island in what is believed to be the country’s worst forest fire since 1955, BBC reports. A state of emergency was declared on Feb. 6, two days after the Pigeon Valley Fire began near the city of Nelson. For more, click here...

This week (February 8) in Through a Knothole
Southern Pine lumber trading across producing zones was unusually active in January, and the action skewed price relationships to various degrees -- Nearly all widths of dry Douglas Fir #2&Btr dimension are trading at rarely-seen premiums of $100 or more over their respective green Fir counterparts -- A fickle North American transportation industry has pushed some Inland traders to take a harder look at how they ship lumber across the West -- Although it didn't match last year's optimism on the way to record-breaking prices, retailers continued to raise their sales expectations in early 2019. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Interfor shipping more Canadian production to China
Interfor Corp. says the company has markedly increased lumber shipments from Canada to China as a result of tariffs imposed on its U.S. production. Barton Bender, vice-president of sales, told a conference call with financial analysts, that Interfor has tried to keep overall lumber shipments to the country constant after China retaliated to U.S. tariffs with its own import tax of up to 25% on some goods. For more, click here...

Wooden skyscrapers making a comeback
More than a century after steel and concrete became the standard for building high-rise buildings, the humble tree is making a comeback. Sidewalk Labs LLC, a unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., is planning to use timber to construct all of its buildings for a mixed-use community along Toronto’s eastern waterfront. Meanwhile, Oregon became the first U.S. state to amended its building code to permit taller buildings made from timber. For more, click here...

Freres' mass plywood panels awarded patents
Freres Lumber Company announced that it has been granted a Canadian patent for its revolutionary Mass Plywood Panel (MPP), which is currently the only mass timber panel constructed entirely from Structural Composite Lumber (SCL). MPP will allow builders to build taller structures for less cost, faster, while using less wood than with any other mass timber product on the market today. For more, click here...

Three killed in CP Rail derailment
The three Canadian Pacific Railway employees killed after their westbound train derailed and plunged into a river east of Field, B.C., early Monday were from Calgary, a union representative told Global News. The major derailment happened around 1 a.m. on the CP Rail main line at the famous Upper and Lower Spiral Tunnels, which were built to accommodate a steep grade change east of Field at the continental divide. For more, click here...

This week (February 1) in Through a Knothole
Random Lengths provides a primer on who pays the duties on Canadian lumber shipments to the U.S. and where the money goes -- A new plant is scheduled to come online late this summer which will use rice straw to produce MDF -- Preliminary 2018 data show a decline in Canadian softwood lumber exports in both British Columbia and the provinces east of the Rocky Mountains -- While some in the wood products industry often monitor the latest housing data, many traders say the lack of that information from the government during the partial federal shutdown had little to no effect on everyday decisions in lumber and panel markets -- Shipment of the newly published Random Lengths Big Book will be underway soon to buyers who placed pre-publication orders. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Oregon governor vows more money to fight fires
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown vowed Wednesday to find more money this year to lessen wildfire dangers and to push for a more aggressive firefighting response to reduce the devastating impacts of months of smoke on the region's health and economy. "We will obviously be having conversations with the Legislature about more resources, particularly for this area," Brown said. For more, click here...

Report from transportation watchdog probes commodity discrimination by rail
A preliminary report from the Canadian Transportation Agency appears to confirm shippers' complaints about a relatively high number of restrictions on commodities they tried to move by rail through the Vancouver area. Industry groups have accused Canada's two largest rail companies of "discriminatory treatment" against some commodities, the report notes, highlighting the use of embargoes that temporarily stop traffic at specific loading points or interchanges. For more, click here...

New G-P lumber mill to break ground in February
The Georgia-Pacific Lumber plant will officially break ground in a little over two weeks in Albany, Ga. Albany-Dougherty County leaders are eagerly awaiting the ground-breaking ceremony at the Industrial Park on February 5. The lumber plant will create 130 new, full-time jobs, and Georgia-Pacific is already starting to hire people to fill the positions. For more, click here...

This week (January 25) in Through a Knothole
As more data becomes available on the fourth quarter of 2018, weakness in the U.S. economy and housing is getting more difficult to deny -- With four new plants now in production, OSB buyers have lowered their inventories, anticipating that additional output would limit upward price movement -- Short of catastrophic hurricanes, incessant rain has wreaked more havoc on softwood lumber and structural panel markets in the South this past fall and winter than many veteran traders can remember -- North American structural panel production fell 5.8% in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter, and slipped 1.4% versus the same quarter in 2017. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

U.S., China have 'miles and miles' to go on trade issues
The United States and China are a long way from resolving trade issues with China but there is a fair chance the two countries will get to a trade deal, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday. A large Chinese delegation of about 30 people plan to come to Washington next week for a round of trade talks on Tuesday and Wednesday, he said, as the world’s two largest economies try to meet a March 1 deadline to resolve their trade disputes. For more, click here...

This week (January 18) in Through a Knothole
Last January, framing lumber markets across North America got off to a frenzied start, which is in stark contrast to the beginning of 2019 -- Lingering uncertainty from one of the most tumultuous years on record in 2018 makes weighing 2019 prospects for North American softwood lumber worldwide especially difficult as the new year begins -- Several wood products and timber provisions were included in the 2018 Farm Bill signed into law last month. Chief among them was the inclusion of the Timber Innovation Act -- After consultation with the Canadian panel industry, Random Lengths and Crow's are planning two changes to the Canadian plywood report. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Forestry sector applauds investigation of B.C. rail service
Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes today’s federal decision to have the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) investigate supply chain failures in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland. Canada’s forest products sector relies on an efficient and reliable transportation system to move our products through Canada to global markets. Over the past two years, system congestion through the Lower Mainland of B.C. has created real challenges for Canadian forest products companies. Last year alone, rail delays and bottlenecks cost the forest products sector over $500 million, according to FPAC. For more, click here...

Transportation agency launches probe into Vancouver rail service
Canada’s transportation regulator has launched an investigation into railway service in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland after receiving complaints from companies that rely on the Port of Vancouver to reach markets. Marc Garneau, federal Transport Minister, has authorized the Canadian Transportation Agency to hold public hearings in January at which rail companies and shippers will testify, the independent tribunal and regulator said on Monday. A subscription to the Globe and Mail is required to read this story, click here...

Architect discusses wooden skyscrapers
Building skyscrapers out of wood: It sounds bizarre, unsafe, maybe even a bit twee. But it could actually be the future of construction. "Each material has its different pros and cons, and there's no reason that timber shouldn't be part of that larger discussion," Todd Snapp, an architect with the global firm Perkins + Will, told The Week. For more, click here...

This week (January 11) in Through a Knothole
A few headwinds are expected to ease the growth rate in repair and remodeling in the U.S. this year, but overall spending is forecast to remain on a solid upward trajectory -- The historically high premiums of #2&Btr 2x4 to 2x6 have narrowed significantly, with 2x6 eclipsing 2x4 in many species in recent weeks -- Moulding and millwork plants in the U.S. perpetually struggle to compete with imports from China that are sold at substantial discounts to domestic offerings, and the U.S. trade war with China has done little to remove that price disparity -- Reversing a trend that had been in place since last May, retailers raised their lumber and panel sales expectations for the next three months, according to a Random Lengths survey conducted in early January. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Weekes opens Construction & Utility Division
Weekes Forest Products, a leading distributor of lumber and building materials throughout the East and Midwest, today announced they are starting a Construction & Utility Division with sales offices in Oregon, Michigan and Virginia as well as strategically placed inventory throughout the United States. The newly formed Division will supply treated utility poles in all species (Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Southern Yellow Pine) and all treatments including creosote, copper naphthenate, pentachlorophenol, and CCA, both domestically and internationally to customers including municipalities and investor owned utilities. For more, click here...

This week (January 4) in Through a Knothole
Forecasts for U.S. housing starts in 2019 look similar to what was projected last year, with a slim growth path -- Recreational vehicle shipments had increased for eight straight years, but are likely to show a decline when final numbers are tallied for 2018 -- Canfor Corp.'s acquisition of Elliott Sawmilling Co. and Tolko Industries' announced joint venture with Southeastern Timber Products in November served as the latest examples of expanding Canadian mill ownership in the South. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Trump signs 2018 Farm Bill
On Dec. 20, President Trump signed the $867 billion 2018 Farm Bill into law. The bill, titled the Agricultural Improvement Act, or H.R. 2, reauthorizes several Energy Title programs, including the Rural Energy for America Program and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. For more, click here...

2021 IBC to include wood buildings up to 18 stories tall
Per preliminary voting results released by the International Code Council (ICC) December 19, all 14 tall mass timber code change proposals have been approved, clearing the way for their inclusion in the 2021 International Building Code (IBC). Taken together, the 14 tall mass timber code change proposals create three new types of construction in the United States, setting fire safety requirements and allowable heights, areas, and number of stories for tall mass timber buildings up to 18 stories tall. For more, click here...

This week (December 14) in Through a Knothole
The first panel to hear one of Canada's five appeals through NAFTA and the WTO has been announced, but it's just the beginning of a long, arduous process to address lumber duties on shipments to the U.S. -- Softwood lumber traders will begin the year looking for signs that the record price volatility that characterized 2018 may give way to more moderate fluctuations in 2019 -- The agreement between the U.S. and Chinese governments in early December to delay previously announced tariff hikes on softwood lumber had a minimal immediate impact on wood products trade between the two countries -- Lumber production through the first three quarters of 2018 totaled 47.7 billion board feet, 2.1% ahead of the 2017 pace, according to statistics from industry associations and Statistics Canada. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Huawei drama sparks concerns Canada's exports could become target
Brewing tensions between Canada and China following the arrest of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive have some exporters worried they could be caught in the crosshairs if the Asian nation decides to retaliate. China is one of Canada’s biggest buyers of agricultural products from oilseeds to softwood lumber and is a growing market for the nation’s banks, insurers and luxury-good makers. Escalating tensions have stoked concern that some companies could see their markets upended after the Chinese threatened “severe consequences” following the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities. For more, click here...

Washington state to allow mid- and high-rise mass timber buildings
The Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) has approved code changes that will allow for the structural use of mass timber in buildings as tall as 18 stories. This makes Washington the first state in the nation to allow tall mass timber buildings into its building code, without pursuing an alternate method. For more, click here...

Picket line up at Tolko veneer plant
United Steelworkers (USW) members have begun a 24-hour rotating strike at Tolko’s White Valley veneer plant near Lumby, B.C. The picket line went up at 6 a.m. Monday. “Bargaining with the employer broke off, we were in a legal strike position and we began a series of rotating strikes last week in Grand Forks and Castlegar,” said Pat McGregor, president of USW Local 1-423, who joined members on the line Monday. For more, click here...

Canadian forest industry claims $500 million in loses due to rail delays
Canada’s forestry-products industry says poor rail service has cost it $500 million this year, and the capacity crunch will only intensify if more Alberta oil ends up on Canada’s rail lines. “We’ve had a really difficult year in forest products (because of insufficient) rail service,” Derek Nighbour, CEO of the Forestry Products of Canada Association, told iPolitics. “We lost about $500 million this year based on delays and rail cars not showing up when they’re supposed to.” For more, click here...

U.S., China call temporary truce on trade war
The U.S. and China have called a temporary truce in the trade war. According to the New York Times, President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement in Buenos Aires that will result in a 90-day halt on tariff implementation plans. In the handshake deal, Trump promised the U.S. would hold off on the 25% tariffs scheduled for January 1 and China "agreed to an unspecified increase in their purchases of American industrial, energy and agricultural products." For more, click here...

Wood products producers warn of delays if Alberta adds more oil railcars
Industry groups representing miners, grain traders and forestry companies that rely on railways are warning Alberta’s plan to buy and add oil trains to Canada’s busy track network risks causing congestion and delaying their shipments. “It’s a huge problem for our members,” Derek Nighbor, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada, said Thursday. The industry lost $500-million in 2018, he said, because of poor rail service and the inability to get its commodities to market. To read further requires a subscription to the Globe and Mail, click here...

Forest products sector applauds mass timber component of Toronto waterfront development
Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor issued the following statement today in response to the Quayside Community Project announcement, a commitment to utilize mass timber in its construction, and as a result showcase Canada’s world-leading forest products: “Today’s announcement is further proof of the renaissance we are seeing in wood construction in Canada and around the world,” said Nighbor. For more, click here...

This week (November 30) in Through a Knothole
According to Random Lengths' annual retail outlook survey, sales dollars earned in wood products are up from the same time a year ago -- Western Canadian mills are producing and exporting more Douglas Fir than ever before, and that trend shows no signs of relenting -- Prices of random assortments of Southern Pine #2 2x4 have hovered at premiums on the eastside compared to the westside throughout 2018, and the gap between zones is approaching a 13-year high -- Fourteen proposed changes developed by the International Code Council's ad hoc committee on Tall Wood Buildings were individually approved following hearings in October. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. forest sector turns to Asia as U.S. market cools
One year after leading the province’s largest-ever forestry-sector delegation to Asia, B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is taking an even larger group to three key Asian countries this winter in a push to expand exports beyond the suddenly slowing U.S. market. For more, click here...

Workers picket Interfor mill as rotating strikes begin
Picket lines went up at the Interfor sawmill in Castlegar Monday as part of rotating job action by the employees’ union. Talks between the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) broke down more than a week ago and workers have been in a legal strike position since the beginning of November. For more, click here...

U.S. Customs launches investigation in hardwood plywood case
U.S. Customs & Border Protection have initiated a major hardwood plywood circumvention action: CBP will investigate whether a group of importers has been evading anti-dumping and countervailing duties on select hardwood plywood from China by transshipping Chinese white birch plywood through Vietnam. Evidence reviewed to date establishes a "reasonable suspicion." For more, click here...

B.C. lumber workers may strike this week
The Okanagan could be home to another strike, with lumber employees potentially setting up picket lines next week. This, after Canada Post employees in Kelowna walked off the job for the second time in three weeks on Friday to set up 24-hour picket lines. For more, click here...

Trump optimistic about trade deal with China
President Donald Trump said he is optimistic about resolving the U.S. trade dispute with China after receiving a response from Beijing to his demands, ahead of a widely anticipated meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina later this month. Trump told reporters Friday that the Chinese response was largely complete but was missing four or five big things. For more, click here...

This week (November 16) in Through a Knothole
Increased supplies and reduced demand have had a predictable effect on prices of OSB in 2018 -- Western S-P-F #2&Btr 2x4 traded at an unusually wide premium to Southern Pine #2 2x4 through the summer, but that price relationship reversed course dramatically in the third quarter -- After more than a month of seeking feedback on RISI's merger of Random Lengths and Crow's newsletters, proposals to rationalize price coverage have been finalized -- New housing construction in Canada is forecast to moderate in 2018 from a 2017 peak, and continue to do so through 2019 and 2020 -- Plunging lumber and panel prices, combined with destructive wildfires and a powerful hurricane, presented considerable challenges to North American wood products companies during the third quarter. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Oregon State selects Freres Lumber's Mass Plywood Panels for new lab
Freres Lumber Company, Lyons, Ore., today announced the final shipment of its new, patented Mass Plywood Panel (MPP) to Oregon State University for use in the construction of the new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory (AWP). MPP is being used for both interior and exterior walls of the AWP as well as roofing in the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center. The two buildings, which form the Oregon Forest Science Center, are incorporating innovative uses of advanced wood products made in Oregon. Freres Lumber’s MPP is a new entrant in the mass timber market. It is the first and only mass timber panel constructed entirely out of Structural Composite Lumber (SCL) worldwide, which means it uses 20 to 30 percent less wood, costs less, and is as strong or stronger and lighter weight than lumber-based Cross-Laminated Timbers (CLTs). MPP also supports ecofriendly building practices without compromising stability, produces fewer CO2 emissions than other building materials and is renewable, unlike concrete and steel.

Natural gas shortage in B.C. could last all winter
British Columbians are heeding the call to conserve natural gas, but it might not be enough, says Fortis B.C. The company has been looking at a variety of options to increase its stock of natural gas since an explosion at an Enbridge gas pipeline in October near Prince George temporarily stopped the flow of gas. Since the pipeline was repaired at the start of November, Enbridge has been willing to push only a reduced amount of fuel through it. For more, click here...

COVERAGE NOTE: Rationalization of Crow’s, Random Lengths Price Coverage Finalized
After more than a month of seeking feedback on RISI’s acquisition of Random Lengths and its plans to merge the Crow’s and Random Lengths newsletters, this Coverage Note serves to inform all stakeholders that these plans have been made final. The feedback we received broadly supported the proposed plan as it was initially published on October 10, 2018. By the end of Q1 2019, Random Lengths and Crow’s will be merged into a new offering combining the strengths of both services. This will include single publications for the midweek, lumber, panel, and weekly report. RISI will maintain all Random Lengths prices as currently published, while discontinuing all Crow’s prices with the following exceptions: • Canadian OSB delivered Calgary, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montreal, Atlantic (Price IDs 11157, 11164, 11167, 11168, 11171, 11174, 11175, 11178, 11181, 11182, 11185, 11188, 11189, 11192, 11195, 11196, 11603, 11610, 11614, 11622, 11628, 11636, 11642, 11649, 11653, 11661, 11667, 11674). • Canadian Sheathing (CSP and DFP) delivered Vancouver, Calgary/Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Maritimes (Price IDs 11197 to 11515 inclusive). • Ponderosa Pine, 5/4, S2S MLDG 1-5/16" (Price ID 10897). • Ponderosa Pine, 6/4, S2S MLDG 1-9/16" (Price ID 10904). • Radiata Pine 6/4 Blocks & Blanks (10918 and 10920). To all stakeholders who took the time and effort to comment on the proposed merger, your input has been helpful and much appreciated. For other Random Lengths Coverage Notes please see here. For more information on Random Lengths assessment methodology, please see here.

Report: Canadian shipments to U.S. will shift east
Consumption of softwood lumber in the U.S. is forecasted to increase over the next decade and reach an all-time high by 2030. Canada is poised to continue being a dominant supplier of softwood lumber to the U.S., but there will be changes in log availability. The timber harvests on public lands in British Columbia are set to decline over the next decade and uncertainty surrounds log availability in the eastern provinces. For more, click here...

This week (November 9) in Through A Knothole
Through the first 10 months of 2018, lumber markets have experienced record highs and historic collapses. Traders offer various views on how the volatility may alter strategies in 2019. -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore hit a decade high in the third quarter while posting an eighth consecutive quarterly hike.-- The fervor and urgency to buy Western Red Cedar the past two autumns has been noticeably absent this year. -- All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

B.C. strike action avoided for now as mediation planned
Labour action has been avoided for the time being after the union representing 3,500 forestry workers in the Kamloops area served a 72-hour strike notice. United Steelworkers’ bargaining committee agreed to enter into mediated talks with the Interior Forestry Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) to try to hammer out an agreement. For more, click here...

This week (November 2) in Through a Knothole
Traders are increasingly anxious for drier weather to return to Texas amid the historic price correction that began in June -- A common perception among wood products traders is that markets fall faster than they rise, and the latest lumber cycle's trend line lends credence to that view. But wood products cycles vary in size and scope, and they do not always fall faster than they rise -- When the reported price of dry Douglas Fir #2&Btr 2x12 sold at a discount to 2x4 in early May, it was the first time that had happened since 2013. Six months later, that trend is finally reversing -- The sharp decline in prices of framing lumber and structural panels left many retailers unsettled, and prompted them to lower sales expectations and reduce inventories, according to Random Lengths' monthly retail survey. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Starbucks adds "woodsy" tree-inspired drink to holiday lineup
Pumpkin Spice Lattes are so over. That’s because Starbucks is getting into full festive mode with the return of their holiday drink lineup, along with new cups, and a brand new Northwest-y latte, and it all starts November 2. For something completely new for 2018, Starbucks is debuting the Juniper Latte, a “woodsy” drink inspired by their Seattle Roastery (which explains the PacNW vibes) that goes along with “the smell of freshly cut trees, a cold breath of winter air, the sound of footsteps crunching on snow” you know from the holiday season, in their words. It’s got an “evergreen aroma” with “hints of sage.” For more, click here...

Rotating mill worker strike lands at Tolko plant
About 200 mill workers from Tolko Industries Soda Creek Division in Williams Lake are taking part in a rotating strike Thursday morning. Workers learned of the strike as they arrived for their shift at 5:30 a.m. this morning where they are blocking off three entrances to the mill, holding strike signs and trying to keep warm as temperatures are hovering at zero degrees Celsius with rain. Talks between the United Steelworkers Union Local 1-217 and Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (FLRA) are continuing. For more, click here...

Interior sawmill workers approve strike vote
Union membership with United Steelworkers in the Southern Interior returned a 98% strike mandate over the last 10 days of balloting by three locals in Cranbrook, Kelowna and Kamloops. The vote was conducted by members with USW Local 1-405 (Kootenays), USW 1-423 (Kelowna) and USW1-417 (Kamloops). The bargaining committee will return to Kelowna on Tuesday, Oct. 30, with hopes to negotiate a contract with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association – Southern Employer, according to a bulletin released by Local 1-405. For more, click here...

Rotating strike targets Canfor's Prince George sawmill
Canfor's Prince George Sawmill and chip plant were targeted Thursday as the union representing Northern B.C.'s sawmill workers continued a campaign of rotating strikes. The move came the same day Canfor said their earnings for the third quarter doubled from the year before despite lower lumber prices. For more, click here...

This week (October 26) in Through a Knothole
Traders are watching to see how much European lumber imports ebb in the wake of the historic price correction -- U.S. hardwood plywood imports from China have plunged this year after massive anti-dumping and countervailing duties took effect in January. However, a sharp hike in shipments from other Pacific Rim suppliers has replaced much of the lost volume from China -- Western Fir plywood traders have noted a sudden drop in the export of CCX panels to Canada once a 10% tariff was imposed July 1. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Tall Mass Timber code proposals approved at ICC public comment hearings
American Wood Council's (AWC) Vice President of Codes & Regulations Kenneth Bland, P.E., issued a statement regarding the approval of the 14 tall mass timber code change proposals during the International Code Council (ICC) public comment hearings in Richmond, Va. The proposals will now be subject to ICC’s online voting, which is scheduled to begin in November. The final outcome of the tall mass timber code change proposals is expected in December. To read the statement, click here...

Hurricane Michael a likely $4 billion blow to SE farms, timber
The Georgia Department of Agriculture estimates farm damages from Hurricane Michael to be as high as $2.8 billion. Meanwhile, in North Florida, timber industry losses alone are almost half that amount. The Florida Department of Agriculture estimates Michael damaged 3 million acres of timberland to the tune of $1.3 billion. For more, click here...

Strike vote set for sawmill workers in B.C. Southern Interior
Workers at mills in British Columbia's Southern Interior will be taking a strike vote starting this weekend. The vote includes about 3,500 United Steelworkers members and includes workers in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Clearwater, Salmon Arm, Merrit, and Clinton. It is being held as negotiations on a new contract with the Interior Forestry Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) have stalled. For more, click here...

Tolko mills up and running following pipeline explosion
Two regional lumber mills are now running at full power, following province-wide restricted natural gas use, due to a recent Enbridge pipeline explosion in the Prince George area. Tolko's Heffley Creek Plywood, north of Kamloops, along with Soda Creek Lumber in Williams Lake, are fully operational today, due to the current availability of additional natural gas. For more, click here...

Mid-November target to complete B.C. gas pipeline repair
It could be the middle of November before repairs are complete on a section of a natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned earlier this month in central B.C., setting off a province-wide effort to reduce use of gas. Work to fix the damaged pipeline has begun, and once it is officially cleared to operate, it should be back in service next month, Calgary-based Enbridge said in a statement Friday. Based on current information, Enbridge estimates that subject to regulatory approval, its 36-inch TSouth line will be repaired by mid-November, back in service at a reduced pressure of 80% of normal operating pressure,” the statement said. For more, click here...

Trio of new mills boost to B.C. economy
Port Alberni’s economy has received a boost with news that Langley’s San Group Inc. will put $60 million to $70 million into a trio of mills and provide employment for about 135 people in three phases. The centrepiece will be a HewSaw mill, designed in Finland, that specializes in small-dimension wood. For more, click here...

This week (October 19) in Through a Knothole
Framing lumber traders are trying to get a handle on why even seasoned veterans didn't see the epic price plunge coming -- Traders looking for answers to the third-quarter meltdown in wood products prices can now credibly add a slowdown in U.S. housing starts to the list of factors following the release of September data -- North American structural panel output through the first nine months of the year totaled 26.035 billion square feet, a 3.0% increase from the same period of 2017 -- Hurricane Michael's legacy in the softwood lumber and panel industries may be its lack of impact on markets and as a potential bellwether for reaction to major storms in the future. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

G-P to expand South Carolina OSB mill
The Georgia-Pacific Clarendon OSB facility will soon be expanding and installing upgraded equipment with the help of a $4.5 million investment. The investment will cover an expansion of the facility to include a new 30,000 square foot warehouse, a state-of-the-art laminating line, and additional equipment. For more, click here...

B.C. strike concludes after one day in Williams Lake
United Steelworker Union Local 1-2017 held a one-day legal strike Tuesday at Tolko’s Lakeview Division in Williams Lake. The union’s vice-president Paul French said picket lines went down Tuesday evening and talks continue in Kelowna Wednesday morning with the Interior Forest Labour Relation Association (IFLRA). “There is no intention to strike further at this time,” French told the Tribune Wednesday. "We made our point. A strike benefits nobody. We are trying to get the company to bargain in good faith with no concessions.” For more, click here...

B.C. sawmill workers start rotating strikes
Northern B.C. sawmill workers began rotating strikes Tuesday morning when a picket line went up at Tolko's Lakeview Lumber in Williams Lake. The move is an escalation of job action by members of United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 after invoking a ban on overtime last week on all 13 operations represented by Conifer. "This is step two of our process and currently our plan is to continue and maintain doing rotating strikes throughout the Conifer member companies," Local 1-2017 business agent Brian O'Rourke said. (The Lakeview mill is currently under reconstruction following a fire.) For more, click here...

This week (October 12) in Through a Knothole
Now that a new North American free trade agreement (the USMCA) is signed, some lumber traders are wondering if Canada and the U.S. will hammer out a new Softwood Lumber Agreement -- U.S. softwood lumber exports to China declined to the lowest level since April 2017 in August -- North American medium density fiberboard (MDF) producers are doubtful that a recent U.S. Department of Commerce ruling on Chinese imports will have a tangible impact on demand for their product -- A labor dispute affecting sawmills in British Columbia continued, with a 72-hour strike notice issued. As of press time, workers remained on the job. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Natural gas flowing to some customers following pipeline blast
The long process of restoring natural gas service to industrial customers in British Columbia is underway after an explosion earlier this week near Prince George that shut down two pipelines. A statement posted on the website of FortisBC, the utility that distributes gas to about one million B.C. homes and businesses, says work to bring industrial customers back online began Thursday night and will continue, on a gradual basis, through the weekend. For more, click here...

Hurricane Michael leaves path of destruction
Hurricane Michael plowed a path Wednesday through parts of Florida’s Panhandle that include greater concentrations of older houses and mobile homes than the rest of the state, raising prospects that damage in the historic storm’s wake could be extensive. More than 145,000 homes in Michael’s path, or about three-fourths of all residences in the nine Panhandle counties hit hardest, were built before 2000, which was before Florida unveiled some of the nation’s toughest building codes, according to U.S. Census Bureau housing data. For more, click here...

Blast forces closure of Canfor sawmill
Nobody had a closer view of Tuesday night's natural gas pipeline blast than the employees of Northwood Pulp Mill. The Canfor factory was on the doorstep of the explosion, but, said company spokesperson Michelle Ward, "Northwood did not sustain any structural damage. Both our Northwood and Prince George Pulp and Sawmill have been shut down due to the gas supply being turned off," said Ward. For more, click here...

Tolko operations impacted by pipeline explosion
Tolko plywood and lumber operations in Kamloops, Quesnel and Williams Lake are being impacted by yesterday’s natural gas pipeline explosion near Prince George, BC. “We have three operations in these communities that rely on natural gas for part or all of their production processes,” said Troy Connolly, vice president, Solid Wood. “As a result, our Heffley Creek plywood operation north of Kamloops has been shut down and our dry kilns at Soda Creek in Williams Lake and Quest Wood in Quesnel are offline until further notice. These two locations are still running, however, as neither the sawmill nor planer rely on natural gas.” Connolly added that it’s too early to determine what the full impact may be on operations. “Right now, these are the only operations affected by the explosion, however, we will maintain regular contact with Fortis B.C. and monitor the situation to see if any others will be impacted.”

No strike yet for northern B.C. forestry workers
The strike notice issued by United Steelworkers local 1-2017 on Oct. 3 has so far not led to strike action for more than 1,500 forestry workers affected in Northern B.C. The union issued the 72-hour strike notice on Wednesday last week, and have been legally able to take action since Saturday Oct. 6 at 8 a.m. For more, click here...

Union issues ban on overtime at northern B.C. sawmills
The union representing workers at 13 northern B.C. sawmills have directed its members to cease working overtime as a first step in a job action after entering a legal strike position on Saturday. The United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 and Conifer, the employers' bargaining agent for the region, are at odds over a new contract. Bargaining has reached an impasse that a mediator was unable to resolve. For more, click here...

This week (October 5) in Through a Knothole
Random Lengths explores the complex series of factors that are behind the sudden reversal from record high lumber prices in June -- Rising production of OSB in the South has saturated the sheathing market in recent weeks -- Volatile markets in 2018 have created record spreads between #2 2x4 and 2x6 in Southern Pine -- Retailers across the country continued to temper their sales expectations heading into the fourth quarter, according to a Random Lengths monthly survey. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Worldwide trade of lumber inches up in early 2018
Exports of softwood lumber from Russia, Germany and the Nordic countries have increased due to high demand for wood in Asia and Europe in early 2018, while Canadian exports fell to the lowest levels in five years, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...

B.C. sawmill workers uncertain about strike action
Some 1,600 workers at 13 northern B.C. sawmills will be in a strike position by Saturday morning - but won't necessarily take to the picket lines at that time. Acting on a mandate given in August, the bargaining committee issued 72 hours strike notice on Wednesday after talks remained in a stalemate despite resorting to five days of mediation last week. For more, click here...

Strike notice would affect more than a dozen B.C. mills
About 2,000 forestry workers in the Prince George, B.C., region will be in a legal strike position at 8:00 a.m. Saturday after the United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 issued 72-hour strike notice October 3. The mills in question are: Babine Forest Products; Canfor in Houston, Fort St. John, Isle Pierre and Prince George; Conifex in Fort St. James and Mackenzie; Dunkley Lumber; Lakeland Mills; Tolko's Lakeview, Quest Wood and Soda Creek mills; and West Fraser's Williams Lake Planer Mill.

Federal grant aims to expand NE wood products markets
The U.S. Commerce Department is spending $3 million to explore expanding the market for wood products in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and New York. The grant will bring together the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Northern Forest Center and the Northern Border Regional Commission to assess the supply and demand for wood products, create a strategy for expanding markets and pay for projects that support the industry’s growth. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the project will boost jobs and expand a critical industry across the Northeast.

New book published on CLT
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) partnered with Waugh Thistleton Architects to commission the recently released book "100 Projects UK CLT" to showcase what is possible when building with cross laminated timber (CLT). For more, click here...

This week (September 28) in Through a Knothole
A number of announced and completed buildings now highlight the growing appeal in North America for mass timber, mostly in the form of cross laminated timber, or CLT -- Western lumber species have weathered pests, disease, and wildfires in recent years, but an emerging threat is drought -- Sugi, or Japanese Cedar, has surfaced in the U.S. market for the first time within the last two years as Japanese mills seek destinations for rapidly expanding production of that species -- The Douglas Fir veneer market in 2018 has seen the reported price of CD 1/8-inch 54s hit a record high, while also establishing a record premium to its random width counterpart. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. sawmill talks go to mediation
Talks between workers and employers at 13 northern B.C. sawmills and the employers' bargaining agent have gone to mediation. The bargaining committee began the process with the Labour Relation Board on Monday, according to a posting on the United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 website. For more, click here...

Alabama lumber mill plans expansion
Officials say an Alabama lumber company will add dozens of new jobs following the approval of a tax abatement package. The Tuscaloosa News reports the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority approved the tax abatement package as part of a $28.2 million capital investment at KyKenKee Inc. during its Thursday meeting. The company will add more than 60 jobs and currently employs more than 600 people. For more, click here...

Hurricane spurs closures of lumber, paper mills in Carolinas
Hurricane Florence forced lumber and paper mills in the Carolinas to close temporarily as strong winds and a deluge of rain hit the coast. Major lumber and paper mills are in the Category 2 storm’s path, and producers are racing to secure equipment and sites as Florence makes landfall, said Ewell Smith, executive director of the Carolina Loggers Association. Lumber futures rebounded from a 12-month low as companies from Domtar Corp. to Canfor Corp. shut facilities that may suffer damage. For more, click here...

Oregon seeks to become U.S. mass timber hub
Timm Locke relishes a chance to drive around Portland and showcase the latest commercial buildings made with mass timber, a construction material that uses wood beams and panels instead of concrete and steel. First stop: Albina Yard, a four-story office building that opened in 2016 featuring cross-laminated timber panels from D.R. Johnson, a lumber company south of Roseburg. For more, click here...

This week (September 14) in Through a Knothole
The premium of Fir&Larch #2&Btr 2x6 to Std/#2&Btr 2x4 was the most significant in more than 20 years when it peaked at $83 on December 8, 2017. Less than a year later, 2x6 is trading at a record discount to 2x4 -- Delinquent rail shipments have become so commonplace this year in the West, OSB traders have come to expect loads to arrive anywhere from two to four weeks late -- Canadian housing starts eased in August from a more robust pace in July and earlier in the year -- North American lumber production tallied 32.074 billion board feet in the first half of 2018, a 2.0% gain over the like period of last year -- After rising through the first half of the year, dealers' sales expectations leveled off, according to a Random Lengths monthly survey conducted in early September. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Commerce issues scope ruling in hardwood plywood case
The United States Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) has issued an affirmative final scope ruling finding that hardwood plywood used in kitchen cabinets is subject to antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD) unless it is packaged for sale to a consumer end-user of a cabinet with all components necessary to assemble the cabinet together in a single, discrete package. Unless this narrow exclusion is fully met, importers will owe 200% duties on these products going forward. To read the ruling, click here...

B.C. official: Too soon to assess timber damage
With the worst of the wildfire season now seemingly over, many people are concerned about what impact these wildfires are having on the timber that supplies the region’s largest employers. According to the provincial government, however, it’s still too soon to assess the damage. For more, click here...

Stretch of I-5 reopened; logs, lumber still restricted
An extended stretch of Interstate 5 in Shasta County, Calif., has reopened with restrictions after five days of closure caused by the raging Delta Fire, which has ignited big rigs and cars, injured at least one person and consumed more than 47,000 acres as of Monday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Caltrans, as well as the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies, announced that the 45-mile stretch of I-5 between Redding and Mount Shasta, closed since Wednesday, had been reopened as of 8:30 a.m. Monday. There are restrictions in place, though. A 17-mile stretch of the reopened freeway will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Additionally, no flammable vehicles — such as those containing logs or lumber — will be allowed through. For more, click here...

This week (September 7) in Through a Knothole
Tariffs stemming from the U.S.-China trade dispute shut down a robust and growing Chinese market for Southern Pine logs and lumber last month, and will engulf all softwood lumber traded between the two countries by early October if negotiations fail -- The summer swoon in framing lumber prices was one for the ages. When it comes to OSB, the 2018 downturn doesn't even make it into the top five -- The supply of lumber in the U.S. market during the first half ticked up 2.4% compared to the first six months of 2017 amid a modest increase in domestic production and a drop in imports from Canada -- Federal regulators are open to revising rules for truck drivers after receiving numerous complaints from the industry with the implementation of electronic logging devices. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Timber project in Toronto a trendsetter
Construction is underway in downtown Toronto on a multi-storey mixed-use project that incorporates an innovative combination of glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT). The timber installation, scheduled for completion in mid-September, encompasses a combined floor and roof area of 3,800 square metres. The development, located at the southwest corner of Charles and Yonge streets, is thought to be the first significant contemporary “mass timber” project to proceed in the city’s downtown core. For more, click here...

Northern California wildfire triples in size, spurs evacuations
An explosive wildfire has nearly tripled in size overnight in Northern California and prompted closure of a major freeway, just weeks after a nearby blaze that left neighborhoods in ruins and killed eight people, officials said Thursday. The fire that erupted Wednesday afternoon and devoured timber and brush on both sides of Interstate 5 near the Oregon state line had expanded to 23 square miles Thursday, prompting mandatory evacuations, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement. That's up from 8 square miles burning Wednesday. For more, click here...

Will self-driving trucks increase fun factor?
America is facing a dire shortage of truck drivers. The causes include lack of competitive wages, a perception problem, demographic challenges, and technology that might soon make truckers obsolete. And now a new research study from the University of Pennsylvania concludes that self-driving technology will replace as many as 294,000 truckers in the next 25 years. Of course, there have been fears about the dearth of truckers for years, but autonomous vehicles is a relatively new concern that might accelerate an industry crisis. Brian Fielkow, CEO of Houston-based Jetco Delivery, has a different take on autonomous trucking. For more, click here...

RISI publishes world sawlog study
As lumber demand rises globally, prices are setting news records, but supplies are abundant in certain regions. Which nations are best positioned to serve growing markets? RISI has published, "Sawlogs 2018-2028: Price Forecasts for Logs and Lumber in Key Countries." For more, email:

Worst of B.C. wildfire season likely over
The worst of this year’s wildfire season is likely over, but some experts say burning forests and smoky skies could be the new reality in B.C. for summers to come. In his daily media briefing Thursday afternoon, B.C. Wildfire Service chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said it was “probably safe to say the worst is over,” although several large fires were still burning across the province and more than 1,000 properties remained under evacuation orders. For more, click here...

Wood high-rises still contentious ahead of ICC vote
The International Code Council, which provides the basis for building codes around the world, is set to vote this fall on whether it will back a code change to allow construction of wood buildings up to 18 stories. A public comment hearing after the organization's annual conference in October will be followed by an online voting period of two weeks. For more, click here...

2018 now worst fire season on record in B.C.
The B.C. government has extended the provincial state of emergency because of wildfires that have now burned more area than any other season on record. As of Tuesday, more than 12,984 square kilometres of the province had burned, pushing past the previous record set just one year earlier. For more, click here...

Rain helps, but 3 B.C. wildfires still out of control
It’s two down and a lot more to go, regarding wildfires in B.C’s Southern Interior. The Mount Gottfriedsen and Darke Creek wildfires have been classified as being under control, and those fires have been taken off the B.C. Wildfire Service’s interactive map. Helping the cause was weekend rain, with 6.4 millimetres falling in the Central Okanagan. For more, click here...

Rainfall, cooler temperatures bring some relief in B.C.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says rainfall and cooler temperatures mean a return to more seasonal weather conditions, reducing the risk of wildfires in the province’s northeast. It says campfires will be allowed again in the Fort Nelson Forest District and Peace Forest District, but any open flame larger than a half-metre wide by a half-metre high is still banned. For more, click here...

MIT champions large-scale timber architecture
Wood is the key to a more sustainable building industry, says architect John Klein, who has led Massachusetts Institute of Technology students in designing a large community centre from mass timber. The Longhouse is a 40-foot-high structure to be made from laminated veneer lumber (LVL), one of a new class of engineered wood products that are able to withstand high levels of stress. For more, click here...

B.C. wildfire season second-worst behind last year
This year's wildfire season is now the second-worst in B.C. history when it comes to the amount of land that's burned. More than 945,000 hectares have been scorched by fires since April 1. Last year, the record was set when more than 1.2 million hectares of land were destroyed by wildfire. For more, click here...

Change in weather forecast for fire-riddled B.C.
The B.C. Wildfire Service said the forest fire situation across the province remained dire Thursday, though a change in the weather is expected this weekend and into next week. Most areas around B.C. have at least a little rain in the forecast for the next few days, according to officials. Fire information officer Ryan Turcot said the province needs heavy rain for a long time to make a dent in the fire situation, but any bit of moisture can help. For more, click here...

This week (August 24) in Through a Knothole
For the second straight year, scores of wildfires are dotting timberlands across Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest -- Red-flag signs have emerged in recent months indicating that the U.S. housing market is slowing down, but analysts say it's too early to get down on the recovery -- It's a clear indication 2018 has been a year for the ages when the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price is still on pace for its highest-ever average immediately following a collapse of historic proportions -- Southern Pine Premium 16-footers have escaped the heavy pressure that has pulled most radius-edge decking prices down sharply in recent weeks. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. wildfires renew concerns about dead trees
The forests that are burning across British Columbia are littered with millions of hectares of dead or dying trees that turn into volatile fuel for flames in conditions such as this year’s drought, experts say. The situation has persisted despite recommendations stretching back more than a decade calling on provincial and local governments to clear the forests of debris. For more, click here...

Mass timber construction moving forward on both sides of border
Mass timber construction is making waves on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, but factors in each country mean a different pace of progress. The state of Washington is rapidly moving forward on both green construction and use of advanced wood products, but Washington State Department of Commerce forest products sector lead Brian Hatfield said the state isn’t necessarily ahead of its Canadian neighbour. “In some ways, British Columbia is ahead of us in terms of low carbon building materials,” he said. For more, click here...

Canadian industry pushes back on Trump comments
Canada's forestry industry is pushing back against comments by U.S. President Trump that lumber imports are partially to blame for intense forest fires in California. Trump said a at cabinet meeting Thursday that the U.S. should harvest fallen trees from the forest floor, which he says are making fires worse, rather than import wood when "Canada is charging us a lot of money to bring their timber down into our country." For more, click here...

B.C. wildfires keep wood products companies on high alert
Tourists are still filling golf courses and shops in Kimberley, B.C., but the smoke-filled city's unique SunMine solar power project is operating at less than half of capacity as nearby forest fires continue to rage. Wildfires that have destroyed thousands of hectares of trees and filled the sky with thick smoke have put companies in B.C.'s resource and tourism industries on high alert. For more, click here...

Extreme weather threatens to worsen B.C. fire conditions
Emergency officials in British Columbia are bracing for an increase in extreme fire activity in the province’s central Interior as hot, dry weather is expected to cause wildfires to quickly spread, adding to a crisis that has already forced thousands of people from their homes. Of particular concern is the Nechako Plateau, a region roughly 600 kilometres north of Vancouver that includes the village of Burns Lake, which is already packed with so many evacuees from surrounding areas that newcomers are being sent to Prince George. For more, click here...

Kimberley, B.C. on evacuation alert
The entire city of Kimberley has been put on evacuation alert as a growing wildfire moves in from the west. The notice was issued to residents of the city late Thursday to warn them of the growing Meachen Creek wildfire. Residents of the community of 5,000 people, located in the southeastern part of B.C., northwest of Cranbrook, must be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. For more, click here...

This week (August 17) in Through a Knothole
The escalating U.S.-China trade war has expanded into softwood lumber. China announced plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on more than 5,000 U.S. products if the Trump administration follows through on threats to tax $200 billion worth of Chinese exports to the U.S. -- Price spreads between grades of Southern Pine 2x4 have significantly compressed the past two months as prices in the upper grades have fallen sharply -- Building costs, rising mortgage rates, and home prices caught much of the blame for a second straight monthly U.S. housing starts report showing the sector underperforming forecasts and the larger U.S. economy -- Traders of Western Red Cedar report that last year's sustained run to record prices is now leading buyers to seek out alternatives -- The historic run in lumber and panel prices sustained strong profits during the second quarter for a number of North American wood products companies. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Tolko's Williams Lake mill aiming for February 2019 restart
Nine months after a fire destroyed Tolko’s Lakeview Division sawmill in Williams Lake, the company said it hopes to resume full production by February 2019. Randy Chadney, Tolko Industries general manager BC Lumber, told the Tribune the demolition was completed in April and the rebuild is underway, noting the source of the fire could not be determined by the fire inspector, but it was confirmed it was not caused by combustible dust. “We are reconstructing the sawmill and expect to start testing some of the equipment in November,” Chadney said. For more, click here...

B.C. declares provincial state of emergency due to wildfires
The B.C. government has now declared a provincial state of emergency due to the wildfires burning around the province. This state of emergency will be in place for 14 days but may be extended or rescinded as necessary. It applies to the whole province and ensures provincial, federal and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to protect the residents of British Columbia. For more, click here...

Feds offer troops, air support to battle B.C. wildfires
The federal government has committed to sending troops and air assets to B.C., which is in the grips of a severe wildfire season that has forced the evacuation of thousands and cloaked large swaths of the province in a smoky haze. Hours after the provincial government submitted a formal request for federal help in fighting the wildfires, Ottawa said it will send 200 troops to assist in mop-up operations to contain the fires’ spread, as well as air assets to help transport firefighters, equipment and evacuees. For more, click here...

Fire at Roseburg's Pembroke MDF plant under investigation
A fire at Roseburg’s Pembroke medium-density fiberboard (MDF) plant in Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, Aug. 11, prompted the evacuation and temporary closure of the facility. No one was injured. Firefighters from the Laurentian Valley Volunteer Fire Department and Pembroke Fire Department responded to the plant at 10:35 p.m. after a loader operator reported an explosion and fire in the system that vacuums wood dust from equipment and transports it to a biomass burner. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The MDF plant will be repaired and will start up again as soon as safely possible. The moulding line is expected to resume operations by Tuesday.

B.C. wildfires prompt helicopter rescues
Residents in and around the western edge of Quesnel, B.C., were prepared to leave at a moment's notice as wildfires raged on nearby and flames from blazes northwest forced almost 90 people from their homes. Emily Epp of the Cariboo Regional District said helicopter evacuations were needed for at least four families on Saturday when the wildfire cut off access to a forestry service road. For more, click here...

B.C. millworkers complete strike vote
United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 has completed its strike vote for operations affiliated with the Council of Northern Interior Forest Industry Relations (CONIFER). This includes operations in Houston, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Prince George, Mackenzie, Fort St. John, Quesnel and Williams Lake. Brian O’Rourke (President) said 1629 members voted and 1509 of them were in support of a strike. “This represents a 93% overall strike mandate for our bargaining committee. Committee members will be meeting within the next week. We will also be discussing dates with the Employer Association to return to the bargaining table for meaningful negotiations.” O'Rourke said the membership has given a clear message - they want a fair negotiated agreement and they have given the bargaining committee the mandate to achieve this.

New wildfires in B.C. prompt evacuation orders
The number of potentially dangerous wildfires continues to mount across British Columbia and forecasts of lower temperatures ahead could end up being cold comfort for firefighters. Environment Canada says heat warnings in many parts of B.C. should be lifted as a cold front arrives, but that front will carry gusty winds that could kick up the flames. For more, click here...

This week (August 10) in Through a Knothole
A little more than seven months through the year, the 2018 framing lumber market has already established itself as one of the most volatile in history -- Votes to authorize a strike had been completed as of August 8 at only a few of the 13 sawmills in British Columbia involved in a labor dispute -- Upward momentum in U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore plateaued in the second quarter, but shipments stayed on pace through the first half to hit an 11-year high. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Freres Lumber's Mass Plywood Panel receives APA certification
Freres Lumber Company, Lyons, Ore., today announced that APA – The Engineered Wood Association has certified its patent-pending Mass Plywood Panel (MPP) under the ANSI/APA PRG 320 standard. This standard covers the manufacturing, qualification and quality assurance requirements for Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT). Freres Lumber’s MPP is the first, and currently only, Mass Timber Panel constructed entirely out of Structural Composite Lumber (SCL) worldwide. The company is only the third U.S. producer of Mass Timber Panels to achieve certification under the PRG 320 standard since the standard’s inception. SCL encompasses engineered wood products, including Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), constructed by layering dried and graded wood veneers, strands or flakes. For more, click here...

Crews battling 122 forest fires in Ontario
There was little rest for firefighters in northern Ontario during the long weekend as they continued battling flames on numerous fire lines. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources says there were 122 active fires as of Monday night, including 78 in the northwest region and 44 in the northeast. Eighteen fires in the northeast and seven in the northwest were classified as out of control. For more, click here...

Two more communities evacuated in B.C.
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. For more, click here...

Northern California fire largest in state history
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. For more, click here...

This week (August 3) in Through a Knothole
Lumber producers from coast to coast are struggling to fill lengthy lists of job openings, as the economy pushes forward and demand for workers grows. Part 2 of a two-part series on the labor shortage -- Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC has acquired Random Lengths Inc. from Jon Anderson -- A two-month price slide in OSB mirrors the downturn that was reported in late 2017 -- In the month since the imposition of a 10% tariff on U.S. plywood exported into Canada, U.S. plywood output crossing the border has slowed to a trickle -- Firefighters are still battling the deadly and destructive Carr fire in Northern California that has killed six people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in and near Redding -- For the second month in a row, retailers adjusted their sales expectations for lumber and structural panels lower amid a price correction as the third quarter began. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

California timber industry may help reduce wildfires
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. For more, click here...

Norbord's Barton OSB mill up and running
In addition to being a very good employer for Chambers County, Ala., the Norbord Barton Mill in Huguley is a major player in the production of oriented strand board, better known as OSB. The plant runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is on the cusp of producing four million square feet for each of its 12-hour shifts. Jon Anderson, the local plant’s human resources director, was the guest speaker at Monday’s meeting of the Valley Lions Club and talked about the local plant and Norbord’s impact in the global wood products industry. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Norbord is the world’s largest producer of OSB. The company has 17 mills in the U.S. and Canada and three in Europe. For more, click here...

16 of 49 Ontario forest fires not under control
With the help of Mother Nature and friends as far as Mexico, firefighters in northeast Ontario extinguished seven fires in the area Wednesday. The number of active fires has dropped to 49, with 16 still not under control. For more, click here...

Massive Northern California wildfire kills 2
An explosive wildfire raged through several Northern California communities, killing two firefighters and destroying dozens of homes after thousands of terrified residents fled in miles-long traffic jams. Flames that turned the sky orange swept through the communities of Shasta and Keswick before jumping the Sacramento River on Thursday and reaching Redding, a city of about 92,000 people and the largest in the region. For more, click here...

This week (July 27) in Through a Knothole
In Part 1 of a two-part series, Random Lengths explores the problems associated with worker shortages in the wood products industry -- Steady demand for Southern Pine lumber in northern tier markets has offset the effects of a seasonal decline in the South through much of the summer -- Prices of Southern Pine long lengths took off in May and have continued a steady upward swing despite considerable downward pressure in 8-20-footers that began in June -- North American structural panel production totaled 17.212 billion square feet (3/8-inch basis) during the first half of 2018, a 3.0% increase over the first six months of 2017, and the highest level for the period since 2007 -- Random Lengths has mailed questionnaires for updating company listings in the 2019 Big Book. The deadline for returning those questionnaires is August 31.

Oregon wildfire nears 20,000 acres
Despite hot, dry conditions, wildland fire crews wrangled 18 percent containment in the Garner Complex, which reached 19,944 acres Wednesday, fire officials said. The complex, declared a conflagration by the governor last week, comprises fires started by lightning on July 15 in northwest Jackson County and portions of Josephine and Douglas counties. It had grown by 2,575 acres in the past 24 hours, but some of that was intentional, according to a release issued by the Incident Fire Management team. For more, click here...

Northern B.C. sawmill workers taking strike vote
The union representing 1,500 mill workers across central and northern B.C. is taking a strike vote in negotiations with owners. The United Steelworkers Wood Council issued a statement Tuesday announcing the vote will be held at 23 forest products mills, whose owners are represented in bargaining by the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations. For more, click here...

Weyco employees reject contract offer, but talks continue
Weyerhaeuser Co. woodworkers in Washington and Oregon voted overwhelmingly last week to reject the latest contract offer from the company, but labor talks are still continuing, according to a union source. About 1,200 Weyerhaeuser employees with the International Aerospace and Machinist/Woodworkers Local District W24 voted throughout the week, and the final vote was tallied on Saturday. Union members rejected the offer by a wide margin, said the source, who spoke anonymously due to the ongoing nature of the negotiations. For more, click here...

Wildfires in B.C., Ontario expected to intensify
Officials in British Columbia intentionally merged two fires burning in the southern interior on Sunday, to get a better handle on the largest and highest priority wildfire in the province. Combining the Mount Eneas fire, located between Peachland and Summerland, and the Munro Lake fire decreased the total fire perimeter and brought it down from steep and risky terrain to a more workable area, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. Sunday’s efforts come as the wildfire season heats up in both B.C. and Ontario. As of Sunday, there were 107 fires burning in B.C., with eight of them either highly visible or posing a potential threat to public safety, and 118 burning in Ontario, with 29 of them considered “out of control.” For more, click here...

Evacuations ordered as wildfires burn in southern B.C. Interior
Evacuation orders and alerts have been issued in parts of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley after a cluster of wildfires broke out following a fierce lightning storm that swept across the southern Interior. B.C. Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said Thursday that a blaze burning four kilometres south of Peachland on the west side of Okanagan Lake was one of the most serious, but it was not the only active fire. “We’ve got a cluster of fires that is of concern right now in the south Okanagan corridor from Kelowna south,” he said in an interview. For more, click here...

Southern Oregon fires spark evacuations
None of the wildfires burning in Southern Oregon have yet "blown up" or gotten out of hand. But the sheer number of blazes currently burning have impacted air quality, closed roads and trails, and sparked evacuation warnings in four different areas as of Friday. The eight major wildfires and multi-fire complexes were ignited by lightning last weekend. They're now burning across a wide area — from Crater Lake to the Siskiyou Mountains. For more, click here...

This week (July 20) in Through a Knothole
Analysts have boosted their midyear forecasts for new housing construction in the U.S., with first-half demand modestly exceeding their projections at the start of 2018 -- Most traders were disappointed with the release of the U.S. housing starts report for June, which showed a 12.3% decline in the seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts -- Huge OSB price spreads between regions have resulted in loads shipping thousands of miles away from their producing zones. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Wooden high-rise project in Portland on hold
Plans for a wooden high-rise in downtown Portland are no more. Developers behind a 12-story building project known as Framework say the project has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. They cited inflation, escalating construction costs and market changes. For more, click here...

Oregon State receives grant for CLT research
Senators Jeff Merkley, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Agriculture subcommittee, and Ron Wyden announced Thursday that a nearly half-million dollar U.S. Department of Agriculture grant was awarded to Oregon State University for research on the durability of cross-laminated timber, an innovative product that is helping to advance wood as a construction material for tall buildings. For more, click here...

Swedish company introduces electric, driverless log truck
Swedish self-driving truck startup Einride is out with another eye-catching prototype. Much like the company’s first autonomous offering, the new T-Log is all-electric and completely driverless, and it completely lacks a front cab for human drivers. But unlike the T-Pod, the T-Log comes equipped with off-roading capabilities and is designed for one specific purpose: hauling tons of gigantic tree logs. For more, click here...

Weyerhaeuser workers to vote on contract offer
After two days of labor talks, a regional woodworkers union received a “last, best and final” contract offer from Weyerhaeuser Co. negotiators Wednesday night, according to the union’s president. About 1,200 union woodworkers with the International Aerospace and Machinist/Woodworkers Local District W24 in Washington and Oregon will vote on the proposal next week. The intended day of the final vote tally is Saturday, IAM Local W24 President Noel Willet said. For more, click here...

This week (July 13) in Through a Knothole
A recent report issued by APA - The Engineered Wood Association regarding inadequate stiffness in testing of imported Brazilian softwood plywood has drawn mixed reactions -- In nearly all framing lumber species, #2&Btr 2x6 has developed a large discount to #2&Btr 2x4 -- Low-grade timbers quietly caught the wave when prices of many Southern Pine lumber items embarked on a historic run in the first half of 2018 -- Retailers tempered their sales expectations for lumber and structural panels over the next three months, according to a Random Lengths survey conducted in early July. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. forest companies reach across the Pacific
Despite the housing boom in the United States in the last few years driving exports of B.C. wood products below the 49th parallel, Asia remains a crucial market for a local industry constantly seeking to diversify its global market presence. That’s the view of several industry officials who have highlighted continued potential in expanding large existing markets like China and Japan, as well as new regions that may develop an appetite for B.C. lumber, such as South Korea, Southeast Asia and India. For more, click here...

Study finds flexible structural sheathing unsafe
A new report finds that manufacturers of flexible structural sheathing overstate their lateral load resistance values by as much as 42%. In a study by three independent laboratories—Clemson University, University of Oklahoma and APA – The Engineered Wood Association—five flexible structural sheathing materials available in the marketplace were tested for their wind and seismic lateral load (shear wall) performance. APA published the results in a new Product Advisory: Performance of Flexible Structural Sheathing. For more, click here...

China blames U.S. for 'largest scale trade war'
The United States and China slapped tit-for-tat duties on $34 billion worth of each other’s imports on Friday, with Beijing accusing Washington of triggering the “largest-scale trade war” as the world’s two biggest economies sharply escalated their conflict. Hours before Washington’s deadline for the tariffs to take effect, U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante on its largest trading partner, warning that the United States may ultimately target over $500 billion worth of Chinese goods, or roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from China last year. China’s commerce ministry, in a statement shortly after the U.S. deadline passed at 0401 GMT on Friday, said it was forced to retaliate, meaning imported U.S. goods including cars, soybeans, and lobsters also faced 25% tariffs. For more, click here...

This week (June 29) in Through a Knothole
Steady population growth in the western U.S. and the South throughout this decade was also reflected in Random Lengths' biennial stud survey -- Repair and remodeling tops new-home construction in lumber consumption for the 11th straight year, but housing starts are making a slow, steady comeback -- It took six months longer than most OSB buyers anticipated, but prices are on a downhill slide -- The Canadian-based Shake and Shingle Alliance filed a request with the U.S. Department of Commerce, seeking to have Cedar shakes and shingles exempt from softwood lumber duties. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Weyerhaeuser employees in PNW vote to strike
Weyerhaeuser Co. employees in Washington and Oregon voted Thursday to go on strike later next week or the following week, according to personnel in the regional union headquarters in Gladstone, Ore. The final ballot tally, which included votes from nearly 400 union workers in the Longview-based Woodworkers Local 536, was not immediately available Friday morning. For more, click here...

Chetco Bar fire sales in Oregon could go up in July
Sales of timber in stands charred in last summer’s Chetco Bar fire could be sold as early as next month as the Forest Service this week formalized its salvage plans for the 191,197-acre fire area in southwest Oregon. The forest’s final Chetco Bar Salvage Project decision lays the foundation for selling about 71 million board feet of trees in dead or dying stands in just 4,090 acres, representing only 2.5% of the fire’s overall footprint. For more, click here...

Drought-stricken West braces for wildfire season
Thousands fled their homes as major wildfires encroached on a charred area of Northern California still recovering from severe blazes in recent years, sparking concern the state may be in for another destructive series of wildfires this summer. Severe drought has already forced officials in several western states to close national parks as precautions against wildfires and issue warnings throughout the region to prepare for the worst. For more, click here...

Thousands evacuated from Northern California wildfire
Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of others as they raced across dry brush in rural Northern California. The Pawnee Fire, which broke out Saturday near the community of Clearlake Oaks, has destroyed 12 buildings and threatened an additional 600. As of Sunday, there was no containment and it burned across about 12 square miles (31 sq. kilometers). Authorities ordered people to evacuate all homes in the Spring Valley area, where about 3,000 people live. For more, click here...

This week (June 22) in Through a Knothole
The popularity of long stud trims continues to grow, as new homes constructed with 9- and 10-foot ceilings become standard practice, according to Part 2 of Random Lengths' biennial stud survey -- The third quarter will begin with softwood lumber prices fading from record levels. That and the myriad transportation problems will command traders' attention -- North American softwood lumber exports to China are on pace to post a fifth consecutive annual decline -- Generated by a surge in the Midwest, U.S. housing starts in May hit their highest monthly level since 2007 at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.350 million units -- Supplies of imported panels from Brazil have been rising steadily this year, but to date have not had much impact on prices of Southern Pine plywood. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Report: Autonomous trucks likely decades away
The truck drivers who stand to lose their jobs to automated-driving technology? Many of them haven’t been born yet. For all of today’s fretting over the potential for massive unemployment associated with the deployment of self-driving vehicles, a report issued last week by a transportation-policy think tank says the first ripples from automation won’t reach the labor market until the mid-2030s. Widespread impact won’t occur for more than a quarter of a century. For more, click here...

Anthony family donates $7.5 million to wood innovation center
University of Arkansas alumnus John Ed Anthony and his wife, Isabel, are contributing $7.5 million to support the construction of a new $15 million materials innovation center in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. The center will have a primary focus on design innovation in timber and wood. For more, click here...

This week (June 15) in Through a Knothole
Eastern S-P-F remained the most-heavily produced species of studs in North America in 2017, but Douglas Fir made notable strides and came in a close second. That was among the trends revealed in Part 1 of Random Lengths' three-part stud survey -- The historic market run that has propelled softwood lumber prices to record-shattering levels through much of the first half has generated soaring profits for mills, but not without leaving a trail of exasperation and strained trader relationships along the way -- The large gap between prices of specified lengths of Southern Pine #2 1x4 on the eastside and westside has narrowed so far in 2018 -- North American lumber production in the first quarter inched ahead of the same period of 2017, reaching 15.632 billion board feet, according to preliminary figures from industry associations and Statistics Canada -- The record-smashing run in Southern Pine dimension this year has been momentous, but the spike in #2 2x6 on the westside was one of the most remarkable. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Report: U.S. consumption on track for record highs
U.S. consumption of softwood lumber is likely to reach record highs by 2030, resulting in export opportunities for sawmills in Europe and Latin America, according to a new study from ForestEdge and Wood Resources International. Higher lumber demand from all end-use sectors in the U.S. in the coming years will result in continued expansion of sawmill capacity in the U.S. South and increased imports from overseas, while Western Canada will reduce its shipments to the U.S. market. The predictions are contained in the report: “Future Suppliers of Softwood Lumber to the U.S. Market – Supply and Demand Outlook 2017-2030.” For more, click here...

Softwood Lumber Board launches aggressive 5-year plan
With a super-majority mandate from 94% of industry production representing 78% of companies voting in the referendum, the Softwood Lumber Board of Directors met on May 31st to launch an initiative to establish softwood lumber as the preferred choice for the built environment by 2024. “We will move from re-think wood when we started, to think wood today, to of course wood in 5 years,” said SLB Chairman Marc Brinkmeyer. To achieve this ambitious goal, the SLB will review and refine its strategy, tactics and funded initiatives to ensure all are optimized and aligned given the changing dynamics in the market. For more, click here...

Timber Innovation Act gains backing in Senate
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is urging the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to include the Timber Innovation Act in the 2018 Farm Bill. In a letter to committee chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., the senators pushed for the proposal to promote mass timber products such as cross-laminated timber panels used in building construction. For more, click here...

This week (June 8) in Through a Knothole
Lumber supplies available to the U.S. fell 2.0% in the first quarter, helping to explain why the market has exploded to record highs in the first half of 2018 -- Southern Pine's expansion into global lumber markets spread to Canada in the first quarter -- Various issues, including the recent imposition of duties on shipments from Canada to the U.S., have slowed trading of Cedar shakes and shingles -- In the nearly 23 years since Random Lengths began its monthly retail survey, never before have dealers been as bullish about sales expectations for the next three months. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Forest Service predicts severe fire season in West
Get ready for another summer of destructive wildfires across much of the country. Forecasters at the National Interagency Fire Center are predicting that warmer and drier-than-normal conditions have put large portions of the Western United States at above-average risk for significant wildfires between now and September. This year’s wildfire season could rival last year’s, which was one of the most devastating on record, said Vicki Christiansen, interim chief of the U.S. Forest Service. For more, click here...

Owner of razed Oregon reman plant plans to rebuild
The owner of the wood products plant in Saginaw, Ore., that was destroyed by fire last weekend said the business will be rebuilt. “We are planning to rebuild,” Walter Whitsell said Friday. “We want our business up and going again.” The fire on May 27 razed the 194,000-square-foot plant in 30 minutes, sending a towering plume of smoke into the air that could be seen throughout much of the southern Willamette Valley. For more, click here...

Overgrown forests called "ticking time bombs"
Pointing to a century of forest management policies that’s left a “blanket of trees,” and hotter, drier climes, a U.S. Forest Service researcher says destructive summer wildfires have no sign of stopping. To a crowd of area firefighters and two dozen concerned locals, landscape ecologist Paul Hessburg of Wenatchee, Washington, said wildfires that burn more than 100,000 acres are a “reality for the foreseeable future.” And, he said, the situation will get worse long before it gets better. For more, click here...

This week (June 1) in Through a Knothole
Any thoughts of negotiating a new Softwood Lumber Agreement have been put on the back burner, as the record price run and now a trade war have taken the spotlight -- Unrelenting demand for Southern Pine Standard radius-edge decking has overwhelmed availability throughout 2018, pushing prices into record territory -- Among the many firsts established over the past year in the Western S-P-F framing lumber market, the reported price of #2&Btr 2x4 has shot up to a record premium over 2x12 -- Buyers of western Fir plywood report faltering supplies of underlayment, while producers note waning demand for the flooring panels. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

CME increasing price limits on lumber futures contract
Effective Wednesday, June 13, 2018, for trade date Thursday, June 14, 2018, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. will amend Rule 20102.D. (Daily Price Limits) of the Random Length Lumber Futures contract to increase the daily price limit of the contract. Specifically, the Exchange is increasing the daily price limit from $10 per thousand board feet to $15 per thousand board feet. The expanded price limit will move from $15 per thousand board feet to $25 per thousand board feet. For more, click here...

CP Rail crews go on strike; talks continue
More than 3,000 workers are on strike at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., halting freight trains on Canada’s second-largest rail network. The walkout at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday followed months of failed contract talks between Calgary-based CP and its largest union, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. Christopher Monette, a Teamsters spokesman, said mediated talks are continuing but workers have walked off the job. For more, click here...

CP Rail reaches tentative deal with Teamsters to end strike
Canadian Pacific Rail has reached a tentative deal with the union representing striking engineers, meaning operations will be back to normal as early as Thursday. The rail company said in a release on Wednesday that it had struck a four-year tentative agreement with conductors and locomotive engineers at CP, and a five-year agreement with conductors and locomotive engineers at the Kootenay Valley Railway, both of which have been on strike since Tuesday. For more, click here...

Oregon reman plant destroyed by fire
A massive fire on Sunday evening destroyed the Whitsell wood products manufacturing plant in Saginaw, Ore., north of Cottage Grove. The fire, which was reported at 7:36 p.m., completely engulfed the mill within 30 minutes, according to Lane Fire Authority Chief Terry Ney. Flames in the mill could be seen from a half-mile away. Billowing plumes of smoke rose into the evening sky and could be seen from Eugene, 20 miles to the north. Founded in 1986, Whitsell Manufacturing has purchased raw materials from sawmills and turns them into various dimensional lumber products for resale. For more, click here...

Potential CP Rail walkout latest blow to freight backlog
Thousands of workers at Canada's second-largest railway could walk off the job as early as Tuesday night, adding to the transport woes that have stranded commodities across the nation's Prairies. More than 3,000 Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. train conductors, engineers, and electrical workers represented by Teamsters Canada and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers could walk off the job as early as 10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time if a negotiated settlement isn't reached, according to a Teamsters Canada statement Saturday. Teamsters members voted 98% to reject the company's final offer on Friday. For more, click here...

B.C. wildfire prompts evacuation order
A huge wildfire burning north of Fort St. John, B.C., has forced an evacuation order for some residents and a closure of crown land in the area. The Tommy Lakes wildfire is now an estimated 16,954 hectares in size after merging with the Beatton Lake wildfire on Friday. It is 0% contained. For more, click here...

Firefighters hold back wildfire in northern Alberta
Firefighters are holding back a wildfire from the northern Alberta community of Janvier and the Chipewyan Prairie First Nation. The municipal hamlet, the First Nation and the Métis community are about 120 kilometres south of Fort McMurray and have been on an evacuation alert since Wednesday. For more, click here...

Hampton enters sales agreement with Sun Mountain
Hampton Lumber announced today that it will be the exclusive North American sales agent for Sun Mountain Lumber’s solid and fingerjoint products. Like Hampton, Sun Mountain Lumber is a family-owned company. Formed in 2004, Sun Mountain Lumber operates facilities in Deer Lodge, Mont., and offers a full range of solid and fingerjoint stud trims in Douglas Fir and ESLP/WW. “We’re happy to have formed a partnership with Hampton to handle all our lumber sales for us,” said Sherm Anderson, owner of Sun Mountain Lumber. “We thank all our current customers and hope they will continue that relationship with Hampton Lumber Sales.”

Two wildfires reported in B.C.
Two significant wildfires are burning in B.C., one of them forcing an evacuation alert. The Avery Hill fire was sparked on Wednesday afternoon and is already 60 hectares in size. The BC Wildfire Service has classified it as an out-of-control fire. The fire is burning about 55 kilometres northwest of Kamloops, not far from the location of last year’s Elephant Hill fire. A second wildfire is burning about 35 kilometres west of Lillooet near Xusum Creek and is 25 hectares in size. For more, click here...

Long fire season forecast for Canada
Federal wildfire researchers say most regions in Canada could be facing a long, hot, fiery summer. Wildfire starts and the amount of land burned were below average for the first few weeks of the season, but dry weather is turning things around, said Richard Carr, a fire research analyst with Natural Resources Canada. “We’ve had a long, lingering winter and a bit of a slow start to the fire season, but the numbers are higher than the same time last year.” For more, click here...

Softwood Lumber Board wins strong support for continuation
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that domestic manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber have voted overwhelmingly to continue the efforts of the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB). In the referendum conducted by USDA from April 17 to May 14, to determine the future of the softwood lumber industry’s market promotion check-off known as the Softwood Lumber Board, a super-majority of manufacturing and importing companies established a strong new mandate to advance the program for another term. In a notice to the trade issued today, USDA reported that 78% of companies participating in the referendum representing 94% of volume voted to continue the program. For more, click here...

Softwood imports to China have more than tripled in 10 years
With limited domestic forest resources, China continues to be a major importer of forest products in order to meet its growing domestic demand for logs, lumber, chips, pulp, and paper. In 2017, import volumes of both softwood logs and softwood lumber reached all-time highs despite slowing activity in the house construction sector. Over the past 10 years, the total importation of softwood logs and softwood lumber has gone up 3.5 times in roundwood equivalents (RWE), according to the Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). For more, click here...

Oregon senators urge inclusion of Timber Innovation Act in next Farm Bill
Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today submitted a bipartisan letter urging the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to include the Timber Innovation Act, which supports the development of mass timber products for building construction, in the next Farm Bill. “We have been working to establish Oregon as a hub for mass timber products, using local timber and bolstering our forest products economy,” Merkley said. For more, click here...

Trucking shortage felt in overall economy
Joyce Brenny, chief executive of Brenny Transportation in Minnesota, gave her truck drivers a 15% raise this year, but she still can't find enough workers for a job that now pays $80,000 a year. A year ago, when customers would call Brenny, she could almost always get their goods loaded on a truck and moving within a day or two. Now she's warning customers it could take two weeks to find an available truck and driver. Shipping costs have skyrocketed in the United States in 2018, one of the clearest signs yet of a strong economy that might be starting to overheat. For more, click here...

This week (May18) in Through A Knothole
Reported prices for most Southern Pine timbers hit record-shattering levels in May after climbing sharply in early 2018. The gains so far this year have outpaced those in the broader Southern Pine dimension market.-- It took a while, but seasonal demand has kicked in to gear in Canadian Eastern S-P-F markets. -- Volatility came to the fore as Western S-P-F #2&Btr 2x4 shot up $44 in the May lumber futures market the day before its expiration and then fell $37.30 on the day of the contract close. All this and more, but only in your full weekly report.

This week (May 11) in Through a Knothole
A common refrain from veteran lumber traders in this historic market run has been, "We have never seen one like this before." With a look back at other record runs, and accounting for all the factors at work today, it is easy to make the case that this one is unprecedented. -- Early prognostications for the 2018 North American wildfire season suggest significant fire threat across much of the U.S. and Canadian West. -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from offshore soared to a 12-year high in the first quarter. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Education programs seek to woo youngsters to industry
Fourth-generation logger Loren German knew since he was a young boy that he wanted to work in the woods. But he had one piece of advice for a gaggle of third-graders who had gathered around his feller buncher to learn how it works. “Learn computers,” he told the class from Columbia Elementary School near Redding, Calif. “At the age of 30, I had to learn computers, and it’s harder when you’re older.” German, who works for Creekside Logging Co., in Redding, was among 16 industry pros who recently provided a unique field trip for Northern California schoolchildren – an inside look at an actual logging operation. For more, click here...

New study predicts 'significant' wildfire growth
Expect significant growth in the amount of area burned annually by wildfires across western North America in the coming decades, according to a study that included two University of Arizona researchers. The team, which included professor Donald Falk in the UA school of Natural Resources and the Environment and regents professor emeritus Thomas Swetnam in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, used nearly 35 years of data on climate and area burned in the western half of the United States and Canada to create its model. For more, click here...

This week (May 4) in Through a Knothole
Recent market developments have reduced the amount of Western S-P-F available to customers in the U.S., and Coast Hem-Fir #2&Btr 2x4 has been the most notable beneficiary of the scarcity of Canadian shipments -- One of the most consistent results in Random Lengths' annual compensation survey is mill sales managers' reliance on the open market -- Canadian softwood lumber exports to China plunged 22% in the first quarter compared to the first three months of 2017 -- The American Lumber Standard Committee's Board of Review has placed the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau's European lumber grading program on probation for one year -- Retailers' sales expectations tied an all-time high from nearly 20 years ago, but current inventory levels dropped to their lowest levels of the year. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

CP Rail workers to vote on strike May 14-23
A union representing some Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. employees says workers will vote on the railway's final offer later this month. Teamsters Canada says in a statement that the Canada Industrial Relations Board will conduct the vote from May 14 to May 23. Doug Finnson, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, called the final voting day on which results are expected to be known "judgement day." The union urged members to reject the offer, after which it will attempt to resume negotiations. For more, click here...

CN Rail plans to buy cars to meet growing forest products demand
CN Rail says it will purchase 350 lumber cars to meet growing demand in forest products business. The new cars will be manufactured by National Steel Car Ltd. at its assembly plant in Hamilton, Ont., with deliveries expected to begin in September. CN says it is also looking at an option to purchase or lease an additional 300 cars, which have a maximum load capacity of 129,000 kilograms. For more, click here...

WCLIB's European program given one-year probation
Following a hearing on April 26-27, 2018, in Washington, D.C., the American Lumber Standard Committee Board of Review placed the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau's European lumber supervisory program in Europe on probation for one year. "We are pleased with the Board of Review's decision," said WCLIB Board president Rod Lucas. "We believe the below grade issue from a small number of our European member companies has been resolved and that all of the production currently entering the United States with WCLIB grade stamps is on grade. In this next year, we plan to take all steps necessary to prevent any reoccurrence of this recent episode."

U.S. lumber demand forecast to continue rising
U.S. softwood lumber demand is expected to continue its upward trajectory from the lows of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, reaching an all-time high by the mid-2020s, according to a newly released U.S. Lumber Outlook Study by ForestEdge LLC and Wood Resources International LLC. For more, click here...

This week (April 27) in Through a Knothole
Radiata Pine shop has often traded at premiums to Ponderosa Pine in the past decade, but the latter sold consistently above the former last year amid unrelenting upward price momentum -- Wood products retail managers' income shifted mildly in 2017, unfazed by severe trends in the greater softwood lumber market -- First-quarter North American structural panel production rose 1.8% compared to the same period of 2017, APA -- The Engineered Wood Association reported -- A hearing April 27 in Washington, D.C., was expected to determine the way forward for producers and importers of European softwood lumber under scrutiny for grading quality. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Christmas tree farmers vote on 'checkoff' program
Christmas tree farmers across the U.S. will begin voting May 1 on whether to continue funding a research and promotions “checkoff” program for the crop. The referendum will accept votes until May 31 from roughly 1,500 growers who sell more than 500 trees per year and are thus subject to the 15 cent per tree assessment. For more, click here...

Air support to Northwest wildfires could be delayed
Sen. Maria Cantwell questioned the acting head of the U.S. Forest Service, Vicki Christiansen, this week. Among the senator’s top concerns: There may not be air support for fires in the West this year. Cantwell, D-Wash., said during a meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that air tankers can catch wildfires before they grow into expensive catastrophes. Aircraft can douse wildfires with retardant or use water dipping buckets. For more, click here...

Lumber mills voice concerns over possible CP Rail strike
Alberta’s forestry sector, already facing challenges from softwood tariffs imposed by the United States and the growing threat of the mountain pine beetle, fears a labour disruption at CP Rail could make a tough situation even worse. “We have a challenge in getting rail cars at the moment — the rail system in Canada is maxed out,” said Paul Whittaker, the CEO of the Alberta Forest Products Association. Lumber producers have been hit by the same backlog of rail cars as the agriculture sector, leading to large stockpiles at sawmills and lost profits. For more, click here...

CN's new CEO works to ease congestion
Canadian National Railway Co.’s new boss is moving quickly to overcome service shortcomings that have curtailed profit and angered customers. The company is weighing the purchase of 500 “centerbeam” cars to accommodate rising lumber shipments and more than 500 hopper cars to renew the grain-hauling fleet starting next year, said interim Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest. Canada’s largest railroad is also in talks with General Electric Co. to speed locomotive deliveries and potentially exercise an option for 60 more. For more, click here...

Canadian Pacific unions call strike ‘inevitable’ hours after deal lauded
After agreeing at the last minute to stave off a strike, unions at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. are urging their members to reject the company’s offer and say it’s only a matter of time before they walk off the job. For more, click here...

This week (April 20) in Through a Knothole
A record run in Douglas Fir sanded plywood prices has caught the eye of panel traders who see the potential for more strength in the months ahead -- A banner year in the softwood lumber industry in 2017 was reflected in wholesale/distribution managers' reported income, according to Random Lengths' Compensation Survey -- Price spreads between #2&Btr 2x4 studs stamped Douglas Fir and Fir&Larch have been inconsistent over the past decade, while the species themselves have been largely interchangeable -- U.S. housing starts through the first quarter averaged a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.318 million units, up 6.5% from the same period of 2017. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

CP Rail braces for "short-term pain" of potential strike
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is prepared to live with the “choppiness" of a looming strike of train conductors rather than consent to a labor deal that cripples its long-term earnings power, Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel said. A walkout would begin at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Saturday and affect more than 3,300 employees, including conductors and electrical workers, among others. On Tuesday, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers each gave Canadian Pacific a 72-hour notice of their plan to strike. For more, click here...

CN to acquire 350 boxcars to serve growing demand
CN today announced it will acquire 350 premium boxcars to serve growing demand from industrial customers across its North American network. “These additional boxcars, combined with our new locomotives, hundreds of new train crew members, and track expansion investments, will help give us the capacity and network resiliency we need for pulp, paper and metals customers,” said Doug MacDonald, vice president of bulk at CN. The leased 50-foot, high-capacity plate F boxcars, equipped with 12-foot plug doors, are expected to be delivered beginning in late summer with all the cars in service by the end of 2018. For more, click here...

Teamsters union gives strike notice to CP Rail
Two unions representing about 3,400 workers at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. have formally served the company with 72-hour notice of their intent to strike. The notice comes at a difficult time for the railway, which is under pressure from shippers to move backed-up grain shipments and supply more locomotives to the pipeline-constrained oil industry in Western Canada. For more, click here...

Fire erupts at Wyoming sawmill
An afternoon fire that began at the sawmill in Saratoga, Wyoming, continues to burn Monday night. Firefighters from around the area are battling the blaze, which is being fanned by strong winds. The fire reportedly started behind the mill, in an area where wood chips and logs are stored. For more, click here...

Demand for skilled workers persists in forestry
A job seeker looking for work in the forestry sector would have hit the jackpot after stopping by EACOM’s recruitment website in April, where there were posted no fewer than 31 job openings across its various locations. Production supervisor, millwright, industrial electrician, operation forester, planer supervisor, mobile equipment mechanic, human resources advisor: they’re all on the list and all in demand at the forestry company. “We’re really having a hard time with skilled and unskilled labour, and this isn’t just a problem of EACOM,” said Christine Leduc, the company’s director of public affairs. “It’s not even just a problem of the Ontario industry; it’s a problem of the national industry.” For more, click here...

CP Rail may strike
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. could see thousands of workers walk off the job as soon as April 21 after the union representing conductors and locomotive engineers authorized strike action on Friday. The union’s decision comes as Canada’s major railways work to alleviate a grain backlog that has infuriated many producers in Western Canada. For more, click here...

In concrete jungle, architect pushes for "plywood for giants"
Timber is coming back in the Northwest. I don’t mean old growth forests. Those have been holding steady for a couple of decades. I mean architecture. Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is a material a true modernist can love — and not just for furniture and finishes. It’s very strong, and too beautiful to hide inside walls. It’s meant to be the wall — to hold off the elements and hold up the building, too. For more, click here...

This week (April 13) in Through a Knothole
According to Random Lengths' annual compensation survey, younger blood filtered gradually into a veteran group of mill sales managers in 2017 -- So far in 2018, the price trend in dry Douglas Fir 2x6 9-foot studs is a nearly perfect bell curve -- Ponderosa Pine board traders have anticipated a seasonal push in sales for nearly two months, but it has proven elusive. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

New juniper wood standards boost market potential
Oregon State University scientists have concluded an exhaustive series of tests on western juniper lumber and opened the door to commercial wood markets for an invasive tree that has spread widely across Central and Eastern Oregon and other parts of the Great Basin. The test results were accepted in February by the American Lumber Standards Committee, a nonprofit organization whose accreditation program forms the basis for the sale of most softwood lumber sold in North America. For more, click here...

Oregon aims to reach the sky -- with wood
Oregon is betting that the skyscrapers of the future will be wooden, not the steel-boned towers seen today. Foresters, architects, engineers and state officials have invested heavily in "mass timber" technologies that allow wooden structures to stand taller and do so safely. New buildings in Portland have pushed the national record for an all-wood structure to eight stories, and a 12-story building is coming soon. For more, click here...

B.C. premier delivers message at COFI meeting
Premier John Horgan told the crowd at the Council of Forest Industries that this government is committed to the forest sector and will do what it can to ensure its continued success. Earlier in its State of the Union address, the CEO's of three major timber producers spoke of changes coming to the industry. New developments in home construction. It also spoke to the need to continue with new market development, something Premier Horgan agreed with. For more, click here...

B.C. lumber exports to U.S. down 20% in March
The federal government says softwood lumber shipments from British Columbia to the United States plunged 20% in March from a year ago amid railway transportation problems. Global Affairs Canada says the country’s largest lumber-producing province exported 514.4 million board feet to the United States last month, down from 614.7 million board feet a year ago. For more, click here...

This week (April 6) in Through a Knothole
For the first time in nearly seven years, the North American softwood lumber industry will vote on whether to continue the Softwood Lumber Check-Off Program -- Price volatility in green Douglas Fir has reached its highest level since 2006 -- Transportation shortages were at the forefront of the recent Montreal Wood Convention, where Canadian railway officials pledged improvements with additional staff and capital investments -- Two changes to the Random Lengths Lumber Price Guide take effect with this issue -- According to a monthly survey, retailers adjusted their sales expectations higher, while inventories of lumber and structural panels remained at or below month-ago levels. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. may be in line for another active wildfire season
It's still early in the year, but preliminary forecasts from federal government scientists suggest B.C. may be in for another active wildfire season. The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System released its latest seasonal forecasts this week, predicting that most of the southern half of B.C. will be more vulnerable than normal to wildfire throughout June, July and August. For more, click here...

Montreal condo project embraces challenges of timber-based construction
Montreal’s trendy Griffintown neighbourhood has experienced a flurry of new condominium construction over the past few years. Amid all those developments there is a new kid on the block: the eight-storey Arbora condominium-apartment complex. While on the outside appearing not much different from its neighbours, Arbora on closer inspection turns out to be quite special. The three buildings making up the complex are built with wood skeletons instead of the standard steel or concrete. For more, click here...

Universal plans new manufacturing plant
A wood products provider announced Tuesday it is going to invest $6.1 million and create 120 new jobs in Orangeburg County, S.C. over the next five years. Fortune 1,000 company Universal Forest Products is locating in the John W. Matthews Industrial Park in the 75,000-square-foot speculative building located at the park's entrance. The company will operate in Orangeburg County as UFP Cameron LLC and is expected to come online in the fourth quarter of 2018. The facility will be dedicated to manufacturing products for the industrial market. For more, click here...

Will lumber stocks continue to soar in 2018?
Lumber stocks have been soaring. With the U.S. housing market steadily recovering, and strengthening demand from China, companies like Canfor Corporation (TSX:CFP), West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd (TSX:WFT), and Interfor Corporation (TSX:IFP) have been booming. Increasing returns, stronger pricing, and improving efficiencies have sent these stock prices soaring in the last few years. For more, click here...

This week (March 30) in Through a Knothole
The American Lumber Standard Committee's Board of Review will hold a hearing April 27 to discuss the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau's recent performance associated with grading European softwood lumber imported to the U.S. -- The strong market run in structural panels that gained steam at the start of 2018 has slowed in recent weeks and many traders are busy assessing their next moves -- Many Southern Pine lumber mills have ramped up MSR production over the last year or more to accommodate the species' expansion into non-traditional markets -- Commodity green Douglas Fir dimension items have experienced a volatile start to 2018, but for 6- and 8-inch cuttings, it's been nothing but price increases. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

B.C. trade minister criticizes CN Rail service
Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of grain, lumber and other products are sitting idle in northern B.C. due to a months-long backlog on CN rail lines, causing industry groups to warn Canada is losing its competitive edge in international trade. The province's trade minister has also asked the federal government to step in, saying CN's "unreliable" rail service is hurting the region. For more, click here...

Washington state lawmakers boost mass timber
Rural communities and forest landowners received a big boost from the Washington Legislature this session with the passage of legislation that will lead to an increase in the use of mass timber products in commercial and residential construction. Mass timber products like cross-laminated timber (CLT) have been on the upswing in Washington in recent years. Last year, Vaagen Brothers Lumber of Colville. Wash., and Katerra, a California company, each announced they were building CLT factories in Eastern Washington, and CLT is increasingly being used in buildings around the state. However, one impediment to the wider use of mass timber products in construction has been that building codes have not been updated to account for the new building materials. Senate Bill 5450, passed overwhelmingly 45-2 in the Senate and 91-6 in the House, rectifies this, directing the Washington State Building Code Council to adopt rules allowing for the use of mass timber in construction. For more, click here...

Toronto planning for province's first tall wood building
Toronto is about to be home to the province’s first tall wood building. Last year, George Brown College purchased waterfront land from the City of Toronto. Their intention was to construct Ontario’s first Tall Wood institutional building. The plan is to build a 12-storey, carbon neutral facility that will be home to a Tall Wood Building Research Institute. For more, click here...

Spending bill includes major wildfire overhaul
The spending bill Congress is considering includes a major, bipartisan effort to overhaul how the U.S. government spends money to fight wildfires on federal land. The provision in the omnibus appropriations bill, released publicly late Wednesday, is meant to cut down on a practice known as "fire borrowing" in which agencies like the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management move money meant to reduce fire risks and use it to fight fires. It also would allow federal agencies to access disaster funds for particularly expensive fires. For more, click here...

This week (March 23) in Through a Knothole
When prices of framing lumber and structural panel items soar to record levels, credit limits can be stretched to their max -- Shock and confusion gripped the Cedar market following a March 15 U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcement that it would enforce the softwood lumber duties on shakes and shingles from Canada -- Composite panel manufacturers will face a June 1 deadline to comply with the EPA's TSCA Title VI formaldehyde emissions standards -- Unrelenting demand from truss manufacturers has contributed heavily to the record run in Southern Pine 2x4 prices since the middle of 2017 -- The Southern Pine 2x4-8' stud market has experienced an uptick in demand and upward price momentum in 2018 that is approaching record levels. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Report: U.S. lumber consumption could reach record high by 2030
A newly released study by ForestEdge and Wood Resources International forecasts that U.S. softwood lumber demand will grow at an annual rate of 2.3% through 2030, which will be higher than the report's projection of real GDP. The study’s Base Case demand scenario suggests that U.S. lumber consumption will reach an all-time high by 2030. For more, click here...

Swanson Group seeks assistance through Dept. of Labor
Potentially hurt by competition with Canadian softwood lumber, Swanson Group, a wood products company based in Glendale, asked the U.S. Department of Labor to help affected workers. Shelly Forsberg, a petition coordinator with the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, said a staff member at Swanson Group had asked her to file the petition, estimating about 36 employees may be laid off as a result of cutbacks to the business while it tries to compete with Canadian imports. Forsberg said she could not confirm if the layoffs have happened. For more, click here...

Global trade of lumber hits record high in 2017
Global trade of softwood lumber reached a record-high in 2017 as demand for wood continued to increase in the U.S., China and Europe, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. For more, click here...

CLT panel fails during construction
Construction on portions of the new College of Forestry building at Oregon State University has been halted after a large section of subflooring made of cross-laminated timber gave way between the second and third stories. University spokesman Steve Clark said no one was injured in the March 14 incident at Peavy Hall, the Corvallis Gazette-Times reported. He said the university plans to hire an engineering firm to determine a cause and to evaluate whether any other cross-laminated structural elements in the building are at risk. For more, click here...

This week (March 16) in Through a Knothole
With framing lumber prices hovering at or near record levels as the second quarter begins, many traders will monitor myriad factors for signs indicating how much downside risk the market harbors in the months ahead -- Transportation struggles have plagued lumber and panel markets for months, and traders share their most harrowing tales -- Even though it was late to the party, the low-grade market has picked up steam over the past two months, and drawn more traders' attention -- North American lumber production in 2017 increased 2.2% to 62.2 billion board feet, led by gains in the U.S. -- U.S. housing starts in February fell 7.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.236 million units, as the volatile multifamily sector dropped sharply from an elevated level the previous month. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Comprehensive study on U.S. market outlook available soon
A new 218-page report by ForestEdge LLC and Wood Resources International LLC titled: "Future Suppliers of Softwood Lumber to the U.S. Market - Demand and Supply Outlook to 2030" will be released on March 16. For more information, contact Hakan Ekstrom at 425-402-8809 or Robert Hagler at 703-838-3636.

U.S. imposes duties on Canadian newsprint
The American government hit the Canadian forestry industry with more duties late Tuesday as it upheld countervailing duties on Canadian newsprint. The United States Department of Commerce said in a statement that a preliminary investigation found Canadian exporters underpriced uncoated groundwood paper by between 0% and 22.16%. Uncoated groundwood paper includes newsprint, as well as book publishing, printing and writing papers. For more, click here...

Coalition urges Ottawa not to intervene in grain rail backlog
A coalition of business associations are urging Ottawa not to intervene in a months-long backlog of grain shipments, saying the move would only cause widespread delays for other commodity shippers on Canada’s highly integrated rail system. In a letter obtained by the Financial Post Tuesday, a coalition of seven business associations urged Transportation Minister Marc Garneau to instead focus on Bill C-49, the sweeping Transportation Modernization Act currently making its way through the Senate. For more, click here...

CP Rail crews hold strike vote
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.'s unionized train crews are holding a strike vote amid protracted contract talks that threaten chief executive officer Keith Creel's declared desire for better labour relations. A strike mandate could strengthen the negotiating position of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, as CP works to clear a backlog of western grain under pressure from customers and the federal government. "The employer continues to demand what we see as significant concessions in virtually all areas of the present collective agreement," the union said in a memo to members notifying them the voting will begin on March 16. Note: Access to this story requires a subscription to the Toronto Globe and Mail. click here...

Montreal Wood Convention adds program on rail, trucking issues
The Montreal Wood Convention has announced that representatives from CN Rail and Canadian Pacific and major Canadian trucking company Robert Transportation will take stock of the situation and engage in a discussion with participants at the convention March 21. For more information, go to

Lawsuit dismissed regarding 4x4 lumber
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Home Depot Inc. of deceiving shoppers about the size of its 4x4 lumber. U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman in Chicago rejected plaintiff Mikhail Abramov’s claim that the largest U.S. home improvement retailer should be held liable for selling lumber as 4 inches thick by 4 inches wide, when the dimensions were actually 3-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches. For more, click here...

AWC sings praises of mass timber
American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski issued a statement following Governor Jay Inslee signing SB 5450, which directs the state of Washington to enact the tall wood building code changes when adopted by the International Code Council. The move will help jump start mass timber construction in the state. “Mass timber is a new category of wood product that will revolutionize how America builds. Beyond its aesthetic qualities, wood is among the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly of all building materials. Wood products store carbon, keeping it out of the atmosphere indefinitely, thereby reducing a building’s environmental footprint. “The entire construction industry is changing. AWC applauds Washington state for helping pioneer better places for us to live and work.”

This week (March 9) in Through a Knothole
Lumber available to the U.S. market in 2017 increased a slim 1.7% from the previous year, as imports from Canada fell by more than 1 billion board feet -- The framing lumber market has been chronically short of inventory dating back to last summer when severe fire seasons shut down logging and closed mills for weeks -- Four U.S. producers of hardwood plywood filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce asking the agency to investigate claims that importers are circumventing recently issued duty orders -- The price spread between 2x6 8- and 9-foot stud trims has reached epic proportions in green Douglas Fir. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Canadian officials criticize service from national railroads
Current service levels from Canada’s two largest railways are disappointing and they’re putting this country’s reputation as a reliable shipper at stake. That was the message in a letter sent to Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) from Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Transport Minister Marc Garneau Tuesday, three months after Garneau urged the two railways to ensure goods kept moving. The ministers said they have “serious concerns” about current levels of service in Western Canada. For more, click here...

CN Rail's new CEO apologizes for service
Canadian National Railway Co. is apologizing for failing to keep grain shipments moving reliably by rail, and says it’s taking immediate steps to clear the backlog — including mobilizing more train cars and workers. The move comes just two days after CN dumped its president and CEO amid growing complaints that the backlog of shipments is compromising Canada’s reputation as a reliable exporter, costing sales and putting farmers in a cash-flow crunch. For more, click here...

Softwood Lumber Board releases annual report
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) has released its 2017 Annual Report which highlights its most successful year yet and shows its accomplishments in what it has set out to do—protect and grow markets, sell more lumber, and accrue benefits for the entire softwood lumber industry. Highlights include: SLB-funded initiatives generated 1.02 billion board feet (bbf) of incremental softwood lumber demand in 2017; Since its inception in 2012, the SLB has created more than 3.6 bbf of new demand and resulted in an incremental $1.33 billion of revenue; The SLB has delivered a total return on investment of $19.74 in incremental revenue for every $1 spent since 2012. For more, click here...

Western ports clogged by rail slowdown
The backlog of crop shipments that has raised tensions between the railways and grain industry has clogged West Coast ports with ships waiting to be loaded. For several days there have been as many as 35 ships at anchor around the Port of Vancouver and another handful at the Port of Prince Rupert awaiting trains to arrive with wheat, canola and other western crops destined for overseas buyers. Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Chamber of Shipping in Vancouver, said the slowdown in rail shipments means vessels are being forced to wait up to a month before their holds are filled with grain. One vessel arrived on Dec. 31 and had to wait until last weekend for its cargo, he said. For more, click here...

Wood-infused concrete being studied
Purdue University researchers studying whether concrete is made stronger by infusing it with microscopic-sized nanocrystals from wood are moving from the laboratory to the real world with a bridge that will be built in California this spring. The researchers have been working with cellulose nanocrystals, byproducts generated by the paper, bioenergy, agriculture and pulp industries, to find the best mixture to strengthen concrete, the most common man-made material in the world. For more, click here...

This week (March 2) in Through a Knothole
Amid a historic run in which the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price set an all-time high this week, prices of engineered wood products have followed a far more stable path -- As the Western Canadian industry moves past the devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle, another bug threat is emerging in the form of the spruce beetle -- Supplies of ES-LP boards have tightened over the past year, leaving buyers few options for sourcing the species -- Mortgage rates are starting to catch the attention of analysts who suggest rising rates may have been a key factor in drops of new and existing home sales in January -- Despite complaints about prices and availability, retailers have raised expectations for lumber and structural panels sales over the next three months. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Eacom forester setting path for women
Jennifer Tallman didn’t set out to be a trailblazer for women in forestry. “I never really thought about that I was setting the path, but it just kind of turns out that way,” said Tallman, who is the first woman to serve as EACOM’s chief forester for Ontario. Working at the Timmins sawmill, she was appointed to the position in the fall. For more, click here...

This week (February 23) in Through a Knothole
Southern Pine lumber has expanded into relatively new markets within North America in recent months, and many traders see solid potential for the trend to sustain itself or gain momentum through 2018 -- Insatiable demand has pushed Eastern S-P-F #1&2 2x4 prices to new heights in 2018 -- Prices of Inland Red Cedar boards have been on an upward track for the past seven years, and traders expect the run to continue as spring buying ramps up -- The size of new single-family homes built in the U.S. declined in 2017 for a second consecutive year, a trend signaling the new-home market may be normalizing after the Great Recession. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Japanese company planning 70-story timber tower
Japanese timber company Sumitomo Forestry has revealed plans for the world's tallest wooden building in Tokyo, a 350-metre skyscraper that would also be the country's highest. Sumitomo Forestry, the lumber arm of one of Japan's largest corporations, is proposing the 70-story hybrid timber skyscraper to mark the company's 350th anniversary in 2041. Named W350, the ambitious tower would be almost four times higher than the world's current tallest timber building – the 18-storey Brock Commons Student Residence in Vancouver, Canada. For more, click here...

SmartLam expands to Maine
SmartLam, a Montana-based company that is the first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber in the United States, announced Thursday it plans to expand its operations to the East Coast by opening a new manufacturing facility in Maine. Located in Columbia Falls, Mont., SmartLam is among the six companies the Maine Technology Institute announced Thursday would receive collectively $10.5 million through the Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.0 program. The program is funded by the $45 million R&D bond approved by voters last June. For more, click here...

This week (February 16) in Through a Knothole
OSB buyers who expected more supplies in 2018 have been surprised by tight availability, which has led to a price run -- U.S. exports of treated lumber to Mexico and offshore destinations set a record for the fourth consecutive year in 2017 -- Housing starts opened the new year on a strong note, with the seasonally adjusted annual rate of starts jumping to 1.326 million units -- Shipments of the newly published Random Lengths Big Book and Yearbook are underway to buyers who placed pre-publication orders -- A robust year propelled by increased sales and prices culminated in a notable fourth quarter in 2017 for a number of wood products companies in North America. All this and more, only available in your full weekly report.

Scientists introduce bulletproof super wood
Scientists have successfully engineered wood with bulletproof competence that could be the sturdy construction material of the imminent future. The super wood plank has akin characteristics to carbon-fiber and can be utilized in building edifices, cars and bulletproof jackets. For more, click here...

USDA sets referendum dates for lumber promotion program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced today that, as required by statute, it will conduct a referendum for eligible U.S. manufacturers and importers of softwood lumber to vote on whether to continue the Softwood Lumber Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order. The referendum will be held from April 17 through May 14, 2018. For more, click here...

This week (February 9) in Through a Knothole
As of this week, 350 of the 1,674 reported prices (21%) in the Random Lengths lumber and panel guides are at record highs -- Sawmill capacity utilization has been in a pronounced recovery mode since bottoming in 2009, but growth trends have flattened in the past several years -- U.S. softwood lumber imports from overseas hit a decade high in 2017 on the strength of a fifth consecutive annual hike. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Washington logger trapped in sinkhole
Bill Burke spent nearly 24 hours underground after falling into a 16-foot sinkhole while working as a logger in the state of Washington. “Next thing I know, one foot went down and then both my feet went down. And next thing I know, I’m up to my arms. And then all at once, all the sticks and everything that was holding me up broke, and down I went,” Burke told Q13 Fox. He tried for hours to escape but any attempts were futile. For more, click here...

Truck driver shortage impacts Canadian industry
MONTREAL — A shortage of truck drivers is hampering the country’s forest sector as shipments have been delayed and at least one producer was forced to slow production because of a lack of wood chips. Weyerhaeuser Co. chief executive Doyle Simons said Friday that availability of transportation services has been a challenge, especially in the past quarter. For more, click here...

This week (February 2) in Through a Knothole
The framing lumber market recorded the strongest price increases in January since the spotted owl-fueled price spikes 25 years ago -- The Southern Pine Composite Price has seen its share of ups and downs since the beginning of 2016, but prices of boards in that species have shown little downside -- Europe's more than decade-long expansion into the Chinese softwood lumber market gained momentum in 2017 -- The strongest start to a year in decades prompted retailers to adjust their sales expectations sharply higher, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Truck freight rates soar in January
As shippers and brokers deal with a shortage of trucks to carry freight, small-business truckers are poised to make more than they have in years. It’s a big turnaround from recent years, when there wasn’t enough freight demand to fill up all the nation’s trucks and drivers struggled to get attractive rates. This year will be the best for the trucking industry since 2005, said David Ross, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp. “There are real serious constraints on capacity – mainly a lack of sufficient amounts of qualified drivers – that should drive trucking rates much higher as we move through the year.” For more, click here...

This week (January 26) in Through a Knothole
Recent discounts of Western S-P-F and White Fir/Hem-Fir #2&Btr 2x10 to their 2x4 counterparts have hit record levels -- By all accounts, the prospects of negotiating a new Softwood Lumber Agreement between the U.S. and Canada anytime in the foreseeable future are not good -- North American structural panel production in the fourth quarter fell 1.7% compared to the third quarter, but rose 4.2% versus the same quarter in 2016 -- Some traders believe the scarcity of Ponderosa Pine shop could cause more buyers and sellers to establish program business. All this and more, available only in your full weekly report.

Continuous kiln installed at Ontario sawmill
A newly installed continuous dry kiln at EACOM’s Timmins sawmill is expected to increase output and improve energy efficiency, giving the company a competitive edge as it battles against countervailing and anti-dumping duties imposed by the U.S. Installed in September, the continuous dry kiln is the first of its kind in eastern Canada. It continually pushes lumber through the kiln, eliminating a bottleneck in the system, while keeping the energy output roughly the same. Production at the sawmill is expected to grow from 130 million board feet to 160 million board feet annually. For more, click here...

Oregon mill producing Mass Plywood Panel
While heavy rains were pelting Santiam Canyon Thursday afternoon, Jan. 18, there was a warm bustle of activity at one brightly-lit site between Lyons and Mill City. Albany Eastern Railroad pulled into a rail stall. Representatives from a German manufacturer were fine-tuning equipment inside a covered, 4-acre plant. Employees of Freres Lumber worked with the visitors in a month-old mill to test tools ready to crank out an innovative product. It's been a busy year for the 95-year-old Freres Lumber Company: the construction of one mill; a blazing destruction of a drying facility, which was promptly rebuilt and is back in operation; and the marketing of a new product, Mass Plywood Panel. For more, click here...

This week (January 19) in Through a Knothole
Producers, importers, and grading authorities are working through an unknown volume of European lumber in the U.S. found to be off grade -- Trends in domestic markets will likely provide the clearest indication for North American softwood lumber exporters' prospects overseas in 2018 -- Housing starts in the U.S. fell in December from an elevated reading in November, but total starts for 2017 finished at a preliminary 1.202 million units, a 2.4% increase over 2016. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Spotted owl focus shifts to marijuana industry
Pot smokers, beware: The northern spotted owl, the bird that brought down the Pacific Northwest timber industry, is circling California’s newly legalized marijuana market. A study led by University of California Davis researchers and released Thursday found that two owl species—the northern spotted owl and barred owl—are being exposed to high levels of rat poison from illegal marijuana grows in northern California. For more, click here...

This week (January 12) in Through a Knothole
Amid expectations of a U.S. economy set to roar in 2018, the home improvement market is poised to do likewise -- With demand for lumber and panels expected to grow in 2018, traders are keeping a close eye on what many perceive as a chronically undersupplied distribution system -- Buyers of Southern Pine plywood have dealt with tight supplies of sanded items in recent months, which many tie to the 2017 hurricanes -- Retailers' sales expectations were mostly unchanged from the previous month, according to a monthly Random Lengths survey. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Canadian newsprint producers hit with CVD
Newsprint is the latest Canadian product to be hit with preliminary countervailing duties from the United States. The U.S. Department of Commerce slapped an overall tariff of 6.53% on about 25 Canadian plants, mostly in Quebec and Ontario, following an investigation that began in August 2017. Canada is the largest exporter of newsprint in the world, with a market dominated by Resolute Forest Products (TSX:RFP), Kruger and Catalyst Paper Corp. of British Columbia. For more, click here...

Tolko resumes rebuilding Williams Lake sawmill
Work is underway at Tolko Industries Ltd. Lakeview Division in Williams Lake where the sawmill building was damaged by fire at the beginning of November. The Tolko board has approved the sawmill’s reconstruction, said Tom Hoffman, Tolko’s manager of external and stakeholder relations. “There was no work done between Christmas and New Year’s and they are starting again on Monday, Jan. 8,” Hoffman told the Tribune. For more, click here...

This week (January 5) in Through a Knothole
Given tight inventories of homes for sale and the labor needed to get more homes on the market, housing analysts forecast another moderate increase in U.S. housing starts in 2018 -- Canadian lumber production shifted further from British Columbia to the eastern provinces in 2017, continuing a trend that began in the fall of 2014 -- Some Southern Pine lumber mills firmed quotes on wider widths in December and early January in response to a projected reduction in the average diameter of logs they will be processing in the near term. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

Biewer adds wholesale division
Biewer Lumber, St. Clair, Mich., has launched a new division within the Biewer family of companies, Biewer Trading. The Biewer Trading wholesale division was initiated in order to strengthen Biewer’s relationships with both customers and suppliers by bridging the gap between the two entities and continuing the pursuit for superior customer satisfaction. For more, click here...

Fire reported at New Hampshire mill
A fire at a wood products manufacturing mill in Springfield, N.H., spread quickly to four alarms Wednesday night. The first report of the blaze at the Durgin and Crowell Lumber Co. mill came in at 7:30 p.m. The company located at 231 Fisher Corner Road supplies planed wood to many local and regional customers. For more, click here...

Staff back to work after Ontario mill fire
Officials at the Kenora Forest Products say staff are back at work after a massive fire roared through two kilns this past weekend. About 20 firefighters and volunteers were called to the lumber company just after midnight on Saturday to find two drying kilns engulfed in flames. On Tuesday mill manager Glen Hansson said all employees are at work this week as they dry lumber with one kiln and try to determine what to do with the excess wood. For more, click here...

Substance abuse top concern for sawmills
Substance abuse might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of workplace health and safety, but workers, and managers in the sawmill industry say it's one of their biggest concerns. Workplace Safety North recently held a risk assessment workshop with experts in the industry. They examined 86 health and safety concerns. A survey of workers and managers determined that substance abuse — including alcohol, recreational drugs and prescriptions drugs — was the number one safety risk. For more, click here...

Rome Christmas tree so ugly only Charlie Brown could love it
Rome’s official Christmas tree is shedding needles so quickly it has become a jolly joke for city residents. The 21-meter- (70-foot-) high tree, which was lit up on December 8, started dropping needles at a fast clip as soon as it was hoisted into the middle of bustling Rome’s main square, Piazza Venezia. Romans have dubbed the tree “The Mangy One.” They’re also needling Rome’s mayor about the forlorn-looking specimen, which cost 48,000 euros ($57,000) to transport from South Tyrol, an Italian Alpine region. For more, click here...

The future of architecture is lumbering toward us
The future smells like Spruce. I'm on the third floor of T3, an innovative office building that will soon be home to an Amazon, but the familiar whiff of wood is everywhere, oozing from the brawny beams and knotty softwood decking that support the floor above. This 220,000-square-foot structure in Minneapolis, its design led by British Columbia's Michael Green Architecture and StructureCraft, will house tenants seeking the latest in office space. Here, that means glue-laminated beams and nail-laminated timber floors. It means wood. "It's changing the paradigm of what the future of office buildings might look like," says Michael Green, its lead architect. For more, click here...

This week (December 15) in Through a Knothole
Historically higher prices and tight supplies of Western S-P-F this year have resulted in a fair amount of substitution -- Softwood lumber duties on Canadian shipments to the U.S., winter weather, and tight log supplies in some producing regions will be key to trading in the first quarter -- With the final countervailing and anti-dumping duty rates now set, the focus in the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute now shifts to the appeals process -- Even with a production dip in British Columbia, North American lumber output through the first three quarters of 2017 was slightly ahead of last year's pace. All this and more, only in your full weekly report.

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.

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 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...

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.

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...

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...

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...

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.

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...

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.

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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Wednesday, July 17, 2019


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