In The News
Beetle Money Headed for Alaska
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Spruce Bark Beetle Task Force will be receiving
$750,000 as a result of a bill recently signed by President Bush. The money will
be used for much-needed emergency response and communications equipment, which
was brought to light by a recent fire. About $250,000 has been earmarked to
upgrade a mobile communication vehicle for disaster situations and the remaining
$500,000 will be used for various communication upgrades - satellite phones to
cover 26,000 square miles of the borough inaccessible with cell phones. The bill
also includes 1.75 million to the Municipality of Anchorage for emergency
firefighting equipment to combat wildfires in the beetle-infested forest.
"After visiting the Kenai Peninsula and seeing firsthand the devastation
the spruce bark beetle has created, this money is essential to combat the
epidemic we are facing," said Sen. Ted Stevens.
Bush Administration Backs Fire
On August 12, Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Agriculture Secretary Ann
Veneman signed an agreement that would shift policy from suppressing major fires
to preventing them by thinning underbrush and helping communities decrease risks
to property. The agreement would also give Western states and local regions more
discretion in fighting wildfires. At this time, the document is broad in scope
and it won't be until next Spring before Veneman discloses details on
implementing the plan. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth said the success of
the plan depends on the federal government's financial commitment. He also
stated that institutional barriers must be removed so that managing forests with
mechanical thinning and prescribed fires can be done more quickly.
Congressman Mike Simpson's (R-ID) bill that would put in place checks and
balances on a president's use of the Antiquities Act to create national
monuments, has received support from the Bush administration. If passed, it
would require a president to consult with the affected governors and
congressional delegations when designating or expanding monuments 50,000 acres
Fighting Fires With Satellites
Satellite image technology is now being used at the Forest Service's Remote
Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) in Salt Lake City, Utah, to give firefighting
agencies a detailed picture of multiple wildland fires spread across several
states. Thanks to a partnership among the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Forest Service, NASA, the University of Maryland, and the National Interagency
Fire Center, this new regional view will help agencies manage firefighting
resources strategically, especially during peak fire season activity.
"Through a collaborative effort, we can now use images beamed back to earth
from a NASA satellite to make strategic decisions as we combat wildfires across
the nation," said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. "This is
especially critical when firefighting resources are stretched to the limit as
they are this fire season." NASA currently delivers moderate-resolution
satellite images and active fire locations to RSAC. These images and fire
locations are generated from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer,
or MODIS, instrument carried aboard NASA's Terra satellite. "Many different
sources of information are typically used to develop an overall understanding of
the regional fire picture with most of the information coming from individual
incidents," said RSAC Operations Program Leader Keith Lannom. "A
reliable synopsis of information will help ensure that firefighting resources
are deployed as efficiently as possible." The Forest Service is building a
satellite image processing center in Salt Lake City capable of generating near
real-time images of the western United States which will be functional by late
fall. Besides fire management, RSAC contributes to projects in watershed
restoration, range management, and forest planning.
Millions of Board Feet Held Up
At times the forestry industry seems comprised of more lawsuits than trees. One
troublesome legal battle is taking place at the Colville and Idaho Panhandle
national forests. Approximately 1.2 million board feet of Douglas Fir was cut
over seven months ago to combat a bark beetle infestation. In February, federal
appeals justices halted the work until a lawsuit over the controversial sale was
settled. Although 47 million board feet were hauled out, the rest remains down,
losing value each day. The injunction may soon be lifted, but the value of the
remaining trees is hard to gauge. "It wouldn't surprise me if the mills
don't even want it now," said Wayne Babb, a logger waiting to retrieve
150,00 board feet of timber. "In this hot weather that stuff goes bad
quick." In August, the Washington environmentalists won another victory
when a ruling by a district court judge came down. The ruling states that the
Forest Service must conduct more thorough environmental reviews before
continuing the sales. Because the beetle-infested timber is continually losing
value, the Forest Service probably will not proceed It wouldn't be a sound
Taking The Fire Safety Message
To The TV
As the fire season heats up, so does the debate on how to best manage national
forests to prevent catastrophic burns. To bolster their side of the issue, the
Idaho Forest Products Commission released a radio commercial advocating logging
to prevent fires. "We can manage our forests so that we don't have too many
trees, and reintroduce fires in a controlled and prescribed way," Sandy
Kegley, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist says in the 60-second spot. "But
the most effective ways are thinning or changing to species that are more
suitable to the site." "The message is to inform people that we have a
forest health problem," says Betty Munis, director of the commission.
"The forests are important to Idaho and the forest products industry."
Environmentalists weren't as excited about the commercial, stating there was no
empirical, scientific evidence demonstrating that thinning reduces fire
severity. But with the numerous fires this season, and the continued loss
of our forests and resources, the Commission believes that the message is
important and deserves air time. "It's not a new message we're coming out
with," Munis says. "We're just trying to help people understand that
we need to care for our forests."
Time For a Little Good News!
The Oregon Observer decided that with all the economic gloom and doom it was
time to focus on some of the good news taking place in Northwest Oregon. For
those that need a little cheering up after reading about falling stock values
and industry job losses the Observer listed the following events:
o Joseph Timber reopened.
o Wallowa Forest Products reopened.
o The state's share of funding for Eastern Oregon University's new science
building was approved by the legislature.
o Boise Cascade added a second shift at its Elgin stud mill.
o Elgin is seeing life in its new industrial park.
The Observer hoped to reassure
folks that not all news is bad.
NTEA Economic Outlook &
Truck Product Conferences POSTPONED
Due to the Sept. 11, 2001 national tragedy, the National Truck Equipment
Association (NTEA) has indefinitely postponed its 2002 Economic Outlook
Conference scheduled for Sept. 17 and its 2002 Model NTEA Truck Product
Conference scheduled for Sept. 18-19 at the Hyatt Regency, Dearborn, MI. The
continuing uncertainty of travel disruptions has caused the NTEA to postpone
both events indefinitely. The NTEA is pursuing options for rescheduling of the
Economic Outlook and Truck Product Conferences. All registrants are asked to
cancel hotel reservations made with the Hyatt Regency by calling (313) 593-1234.
The NTEA will issue full refunds upon request for anyone wishing to cancel their
conference registration at this time. If the NTEA is unable to reschedule both
events, full refunds will be issued to all registrants. The NTEA apologizes for
any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any questions, call
1-800-441- NTEA or e-mail [email protected].
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