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Logging and Sawmilling Journal November 2014

August/September 2015

On the Cover:
Tolko’s Lavington, B.C. sawmill has recently seen a major upgrade that positions the operation well as lumber markets move in a healthy direction, with increased lumber demand, both in North America, and overseas. Read about the major improvements at the Lavington mill beginning on page 14 (Photo of Tolko mill by Paul MacDonald).

Learning from others
Canada’s forest industry will have to implement various approaches to attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining a skilled workforce—and it can learn from other industries and companies, from Apple to Telus, on how to do this.

Re-start for Resolute sawmill
Resolute Forest Products recently re-started its Ignace, Ontario sawmill, having invested $10 million on improvements, with a strong focus on the infeed area so that the mill can now receive cut-to-length logs exclusively.

New headrig and optimization improvements for Tolko Lavington
Tolko Industries’ Lavington, B.C. sawmill has undergone a significant upgrade—involving installing a new headrig from Salem Equipment and associated controls from USNR—that has delivered a solid improvement in recovery.

Rain Forest Sawmill … in the rainforest
Dale Crumback has recently moved from sawyer to company owner at B.C.’s Rain Forest Sawmill, and things are hopping these days with a wide range of customers looking for a variety of wood produced from their biodiesel-powered Wood-Mizer LT 70 sawmill.

Logging ‘n lobsters
New Brunswick logging contractor Drew Conley juggles running a logging operation—with most of the wood going across the line, to Maine—with helping out in the family fishing outfit, catching lobster.

Resolute’s wood pellets now generating power for Ontario
Resolute Forest Products recently completed construction of a $9 million wood pellet plant in Thunder Bay to supply Ontario Power Generation’s power plant in Atikokan with wood pellets as a fuel substitute.

Busy woodlot a welcome sign
One of the primary motivations in establishing the CVWPA woodyard was to diversify wood product production and, in turn, supply diversified markets.

Fearless Contracting: not afraid of diversifying
Vancouver Island’s Fearless Contracting is finding the best business approach is diversification, and as part of that, it is increasingly doing logging work on B.C. Timber Sales, for other larger logging contractors, and for log brokers on the Island.

The Edge
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre and Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions.

The Last Word
With the federal election coming up, Jim Stirling says there may be a mood shift underway with voters, which could yield some surprising results.

DEPARTMENTS

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Fighting forest fires with satellite communicationsFighting forest fires with satellite communications

Satellite Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications are revolutionizing fire management in Canada, with fire managers now adding images from satellite-connected cameras to their tool kit to enhance operational effectiveness and performance.

By Jim Mandala

High temperatures and parched weather conditions have led to an unprecedented number of wildfires across British Columbia and Western Canada this summer. According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), there had been 6,118 forest fires nationally as of August, well above the 10-year average of 4,580.

The expectation among academics such as John Innes, Dean of the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark is more of the same: longer wildfire seasons and the need for more resources.

In an interview with CBC News, Clark stated the budget for dealing with wildfires was $63 million, but by July 2015 the province had already spent $163 million fighting wildfires—a number that could easily jump to $400 million. That’s up from $297.9 million in 2014.

The challenge facing fire agencies such as BC Wildfire Service is how to do more with less, while meeting a mandate of delivering effective, innovative and cost-efficient wildfire management services and keeping workers and the public safe. Increasingly, the answer is satellite Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications systems. These networks are already transforming the way resource sector companies operate, and collect and access data, in Canada’s eight million square kilometres outside the range of traditional cellular and GSM networks.

In the forestry sector, fire managers are adding satellite-powered M2M communications to their tool kit to enhance operational effectiveness and performance.

“In the past, there simply wasn’t connectivity,” says Wayne Carlson, president of Nupoint Systems Inc., which has developed a portable, affordable and satellite-driven IP-based Remote Viewer camera for fire managers. “With satellite technology, it’s a brand new day for forest management.”

For most of the 20th century, the objective was to put out forest fires or suppression. In the 1990s, forest managers realized that fires are a natural and necessary part of forest ecology, eliminating underbrush and making room for new growth. Today, fire managers employ modified response monitoring and prescribed burns to maintain forest health and prevent severe out-of-control forest fires.

To that end, fire managers are constantly evaluating forests and the immediate dangers: Are there towns/homes in the fire’s path? Are there old growth trees that need to be protected? Depending on the situation, they will observe the fire characteristics to determine a course of action. For the most part, this involves flying by helicopter over areas identified for modified response or prescribed burns to visually monitor what’s happening on the ground.

Each flight can range in cost, averaging anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the distance. As a result, aviation services account for about 50 per cent of wildfire costs. This includes both the actual fire-fighting as well as deploying aircraft to fly to locations to determine what a fire may look like and how it may behave.

Satellite-connected cameras can now be deployed instead of deploying resources by air monitoring a fire or high risk area, to determine whether or not any intervention is needed. Each day, images of the fire are captured and e-mailed over a satellite network to fire managers who know exactly what’s happening without having to physically fly over the area. Having that advance knowledge helps better prepare fire crews when they are needed.

“It allows them to be more effective and productive while saving money,” says Carlson. “The opportunity for satellite technology is enormous.”

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Jim Mandala is Vice-President and General Manager of Globalstar Canada Satellite Co., a leading provider of satellite voice and data services. He can be reached by email at JMandala@globalstar.ca.


Remote monitoring by satellite

The Nupoint Remote Viewer satellite camera has been successfully installed in some of the harshest most isolated environments in Canada and the U.S. It’s rugged, portable, lightweight and includes a two-way satellite data transceiver (SD200-G) built around the Globalstar GSP-1720 satellite modem.

The device is connected by Globalstar’s data network and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation—the only complete next generation LEO system in operation today, says the company.

Using the satellite-powered Remote Viewer, fire agencies such as the BC Wildfire Service no longer need to physically fly out to isolated locations to monitor the status of modified response fires or prescribed burns. They now have access to real-time data and images from the field on demand, so that fire management crews can be deployed as required.

Features include:

  • The Remote Viewer draws very little power and can run for several months at a time on a battery or indefinitely on a battery with a solar panel, saving costs and maximizing operational efficiencies. Maintenance resources are used only when needed.
  • The Remote Viewer has near infrared capability, so that images taken at night can pinpoint the perimeter of fires. Managers can use the images to monitor status from one night to the next and determine whether the fire is expanding. Without this capability, crews would have to fly in the middle of the night to gather the same images.