Western Silvicultural Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate

May 1, 2015
Vol. 15, Issue 9
Warning: Some facts displayed as graphic information can be misleading. The warm sea temperature graphic below is not actually flames indicating the Pacific Ocean is on fire. They are only colours representing sea temperature variations. Although they do kind of look like flames, or lava, or something like that.

Floods, Fire and Heat: Blame It On PDO

It’s been a B.C. winter of unusual warmth with each month registering above normal temperatures according to Environment Canada. And that trend will continue through the summer, mostly due to a confluence of a weakening El Niño and an exceptionally warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Both are natural oceanic cycles of warm and cool periods that effect ocean surface temperatures and the air that moves over it.

The darker the red, the higher above average the recent sea-surface temperature. (Credit NOAA)

The darker the red, the higher above average the recent sea-surface temperature. (Credit NOAA)

The last time we had similar conditions was in 2003—with a much weaker PDO than now—in which the province saw dramatic wildfire losses and destruction. No one is predicting a repeat firestorm. It will depend on the weather. Hot and dry is the expectation. But just when rain does fall will determine how fire-prone we get. The same applies to floods according to the River Forecast Centre. Winter rain and warm weather in March helped erode some of the mid to lower elevation snowpack. But the carrying capacity of rivers across the province could still be exceeded with a sudden warm and wet spell as we move through freshet.

Silviculture Tic Season and Lyme Disease Alert

Lyme disease symptoms

For the full range of Lyme disease skin lesions go to http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/tickinfo-eng.php

Although Lyme disease may still be relatively rare among the general population in Western Canada, silviculture workers have far greater exposure. In particular workers need to pay attention to being bitten. Know how to extract the tic(s) and what do with it. And recognize symptoms because some doctors may not. Here are some recommended sites for information:

The first, is a general government of Canada document that nicely breaks things down for the public vs for the health care professional


The second is from the Public Health Agency of Canada. From here you can gain a lot of info and also source some additional specific documents. They have a section on Lyme disease in B.C.


For a more detailed British Columbia perspective the BC CDC has a great resource including a chart about which repellents work best and a map outlining the risk areas in BC.


And finally there is the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the US. This site is pretty much the bible for the research and health care community.


FS704 Planting Inspection Workshops Wrap Up

FS704 Planting Inspection Workshop

Deflating misunderstandings about air pockets at a recent WSCA/MFNRO FS704 workshop.

Rules can be blunt instruments. Especially if they are not interpreted practically or consistently; in which case they become obstacles. Three years ago the MFLNRO announced revisions to the provincial planting and payment inspection system. First published in 1980 and not revised since 1997, the critical FS704 guide, upon which the success of any planting contract may depend, was years overdue for change according to the WSCA. The new changes, along with basic education – in some cases re-education – on planting site selection, and how to get best results in relations with contractors, were the basis for a recent series of regional workshops funded by the Forest Practices Branch and hosted by the WSCA. Close to 100 contractors and government staff took part in five sessions in key centers across the Coast and Interior. The main goal, largely achieved according to reports, was to create a better understanding of the two sides to any contract: the expectations of the client and the practicalities managed by the contractor. A previous series of similar workshops was held in 2013.

The Stuff People Find on Blocks Contest

Some of the things workers find on cut blocks seem, well, hard to believe. To date we have heard of people finding valuable antiques including a silver tea pot and pioneer hay forks, also numerous fallers’ chain saws, some in working condition, an abandoned newborn moose calf, miles and miles of fire fighting hose, a weather balloon, a crashed aircraft, logging straps, cables, marlin spikes, chokers and block pulleys of various sizes, and strangely mutilated deer carcasses (like the mutilated cattle ones associated with UFOs—honest). OK, so if this is all true start sending us pictures and we can take a vote: admin@wfca.ca

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For more information about WSCA activities follow us on Facebook. Also try out BCBushwhacker.com. To find out how you can join the WSCA and contribute to its efforts on behalf of the silviculture contracting sector, contact the WSCA office at 604-736-8660.