El NinoWestern Silvicultural Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate

July 18, 2014
Vol. 14, Issue 12
Warning: The contents of this issue contain new material. Do not remove this label under penalty of law.

Provincial Funding for Fuels Management Dries Up:

The B.C. Government has not extended funding to continue vegetation management operations as part of the Province’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan strategy. Treasury Board appears to have declined a MFLNRO funding request that would have kept forestry crews at work over the next few years thinning forests and removing fuels adjacent to communities across B.C. The provincial government has spent $61 million creating plans, prescriptions and fuel management operations since the 2003 Filmon report identified 1.7 million hectares of hazardous interface forests adjacent to communities. To date, only about three percent of that area has been treated. By comparison Alberta has committed close to $100 million annually to address community wildfire protection after their 2011 Slave Lake fire. It looks like most forestry fuel crews will be out of work by fall as the last dollars of the original tranche are spent. As this RoundUpDate goes to press at least ten communities have been evacuated or are under evacuation alert due to wildfires, affecting thousands of residents.

Potent El Nino Shaping Up In Equatorial Pacific Could Effect Future BC Fires:

Speaking of wildfire here in BC you have to think about the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Nino events in the south hemisphere produce drying trends here in this hemisphere contributing to wildfire frequency and intensity. The accompanying scary graphic shows a warming trend this spring (on right) that looks like the build up for an intense El Nino event. It would appear to be trending similar to the disastrous 1997 El Nino (shown on left), which was one of the most potent events of the last century. More intense fire activity in North America usually follows the year after an El Nino event.

WSCA Talks With Forest Tenures on Forestry Service Providers Protection:

The WSCA continued its efforts to have silviculture contractors and seedling nurseries included as potential recipients for financial relief in the event of going unpaid by licensee clients. In recent talks with executives of the Forest Tenures Branch, the WSCA said that it was an unfortunate oversight that the silviculture community had not been included in this program from the beginning. The association recommended that the Branch include in its recommendations to the minister of forests that silviculture is an integral part of the harvest cycle and silviculture service providers are exposed to the same risks as the logging sector. In fact there are fewer commercial remedies available to the silviculture sector being there is little left of their efforts that they could put a lien on. In fact the seedlings and improved land are actually owned by government, which benefits at the expense of contractors should they go unpaid for work done. It is incumbent on government, the association argued, to see that businesses get paid for these improvements of Crown assets. The Branch indicated they will report back to the WSCA in early September allowing the minister time to consider his options.

WSCA Summer Contractor Summit Set for September 3rd in Kamloops:

The WSCA will hold its annual silviculture summer summit this September 3rd in Kamloops. SAVE THE DATE. The agenda will include a look at both the short and longer term outlook for silviculture demand, discuss what it might mean to not compete on safety, update on the Forestry Services Providers Protection Act and workforce issues. All silviculture contractors are invited. There is no charge for registration. Details to follow.

RoundUpDate takes some time off:

The next RoundUpDate will be August 15, giving our massive editorial staff some time at the beach.

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