Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
7 August 2020
Volume 20 Issue 10
Warning:We continue our intermittent and brief summer-break editions with our facts and editorial vitality truncated accordingly.
- The WFCA will hold its Annual Summer Business and Market Summit Tuesday 25 August 2020. This half-day virtual meeting’s agenda will include planting forecasts for 2021, updates on our federal government’s 2-billion tree commitment, the latest on federal COVID-19 support for our sector, lessons learned from the pandemic and how this year’s experience can be applied to next year’s field season. Stay tuned for details.
- This year’s summer planting season is within days of ending with no COVID-19 reported across the planting, nursery, and forestry sector since the pandemic began. Only 20-million fall seedlings remain of the more than 300-million trees planned for this year. That final campaign will begin in late August in the Interior and on the Coast.
- With COVID-19 cases rising again in B.C. contractors, consultants and nursery operators met yesterday to discuss protocols and practices to keep their crews safe from infection during the late summer and fall. Even as the rest of the province relaxes constraints BC Safe Forestry Advocate Jordan Tesluk is recommending crews do the same pre-season isolation and follow the same protocols at work that have kept us safe so far. Planting contractors reported that many workers just laid off were reluctant to leave the safety and security of their crews and camps. They preferred to stay at work rather than return home to the uncertainties of being unemployed and part of the herd again. Unfortunately, there is little brushing or wildfire work this year which might have extended some workers’ seasons. Nursery operators will be looking for crews to help with their fall lift. But that opportunity is weeks away. One licensee has been in touch looking for cone pickers: contact Nikki.Scott@tolko.com. Fruit ranchers are also shorthanded in the Okanagan
- BC wildfire suppression contractors’ enthusiasm has again been dampened by another, so far, quiet fire season. Particularly hard hit are type III wildfire suppression contractors. They only get deployed when and if they are needed, yet must invest in preparing for the possibility of work. As well they have had to carry incremental COVID-19 costs on top of their expenses with no income yet to show for it. The WFCA has asked both the federal government and BCWS to consider pandemic financial support to assist these operators who will be needed in our next wildfire emergency.