Warning: Due to the surfeit of facts lately we have been hard pressed to maintain our punchy, sometimes ironic, terse brevity. We apologize for all the resulting reading required of our generous and patient subscribers.

Some More Mild Hectoring on Extending the Spring Planting Window This Year

Just finished: a block burned last year near Moyie, now planted.

We have it on good authority that if the BC interior planting season starts weeks late, it will likely end late too. That’s why the WFCA recently re-sent the May BCTS and FFT guidelines for extending the planting window in this exceptional year.That advice leaned towards the physiological impacts on seedlings of planting delays. Giving seedlings the best chance is a major objective. But in this year of extremities the weather apparently never got that memo. Instead it caused delays and access problems that have impacted spring planting on both sides of the Rockies and may even affect summer projects in some parts. As we are hearing, contractors are moving capacity as it becomes available to fill gaps and keep things as much on track as possible. The industry is very good at dealing with extenuating circumstances. But for that to happen this year it will require collaboration and accommodation on the part of foresters and their contract administrators. As you might expect we have been told of this kind of cooperation and, well, not this kind of cooperation from around BC and Alberta. Contracts can be used to hold contractors to their terms, or as a framework for the give and take that the real world demands of us. We’re recommending the latter.

How to Get to 300 Million Seedlings:
WFCA Annual Summer Market and Business Summit
Set for Wednesday 15 August, Kamloops

Western lumber prices (shown in US dollars) continue to rise. Silviculture services demand is forecast to rise as well. Will open market and negotiated contract prices follow suit?

The Western Forestry Contractors’ Association annual business and market summit will be held at the Thompson Rivers University campus in Kamloops Wednesday 15 August 2018. As we always do at this forum we look at anticipated demand for silviculture services focusing on seedling production, tree planting and silviculture surveying. This year is remarkable because the forestry sector is on the cusp of an unprecedented increase in demand for growing, planting and silviculture surveying. At the same time minimum wages are gaining on tree planter average earnings. Payroll top-ups, training and supervision costs are increasing. And employee applications for many firms are flat or decreasing. Just how the industry navigates it way through the expected expanding market over the next few years will be the main theme of our half-day session. Registration is free through the WFCA office admin@wfca.ca. WFCA member and non-member contractors are welcome. Stay tuned as we organize the meeting agenda and location coordinates.

BC Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Launched This Spring

Good medicine in difficult places: BC HEMS looking for patron financial support following launch

Technical Evacuation Advanced Aero Medical (TEAAM) launched its emergency air ambulance service earlier this month from its base in Squamish. Made up of paramedics and physicians the non-profit organization intends to provide advanced life support medical care in remote, difficult to access locations using specially equipped helicopters. It resembles, in some respects, Britain’s highly successful London’s Air Ambulance service, which has reduced the death rate in severe trauma by 30 to 40 percent by attending emergencies at sites in urban London. In the TEAAM model the concentration is on rural and remote settings, starting initially from its base on the coast. Both of these HEMS upend the typical use of ambulances to primarily get victims to hospital emergency wards. Instead they bring rescue and advanced trauma care to the patient first, then transport them. This paradigm shift of getting doctors first to the injury site is catching on. As an example an emergency doctor in Nelson, B.C., voluntarily accompanies land ambulances to trauma victims, in this case, driving his own car. He is considered a local hero and recently asked Nelsonites to help him purchase emergency lights so he can drive to scenes quicker.

Nevertheless, like many good ideas that challenge entrenched conventions both TEAAM and London’s Air Ambulance have to reach for financial support operating as charities. TEAAM is currently looking for private patrons to keep their service in the air following on a European model that is working successfully in places like Switzerland. Government can play a part and earlier this year Forest Safety Ombudsman Roger Harris reprised his 2017 report on emergency helicopter services to our government’s NDP (mostly urban) caucus. That report started by examining the vulnerability of forest workers suffering severe injuries in remote sites. It continued by covering the overall delivery of rural emergency ambulance services province-wide. Emergency planning for forestry crews has been an area of concern for years including two recent traumatic worker injuries in remote locations from a grizzly attack and a falling snag. The BC SAFE Forestry Program is in talks with TEAAM to see how their business model works and how it might apply to the forestry sector. To find out more about TEAAM go to www.teaam.ca/about