It’s graduation time! How could that be possible? Seems like it was only yesterday we were at kindergarten orientation for daughter number one. Today she graduated.. from pre-school! Even so, the parental pride, and teachers’ speeches come in one-size fits all, or so it seems. But what does our graduate need to know about life, that’s just nicely underway, on the same day she’s outfitted with glasses?! Advice comes freely from many. But it seems too early to give our graduate the life lesson to follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path (by all means you should follow that path, even if it only leads to a competitor’s woodpile). There’s always something to learn. In a recent speech to graduates, Stephen Colbert said that life is an improvisation: “You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along”. He might have been talking to a graduating class of wood-be lumber traders.
Even softwood-hardened Dakeryn traders used to volatility of lumber markets found the ups and downs of Chambers Bay golf course over the weekend a challenge – and we were only watching! Poor souls us, left to refuel at our beachfront headquarters in gorgeous Gig Harbor each evening. Thanks again to Dillon, Brittney, and Lauren for all their hard work – first class!
Speaking of hard work, I can’t imagine the energies spent by caddies lugging those huge bags over the ten-mile canyoned, slippery and sandy terrain each day.. especially for those who managed to survive the cut. Also can’t imagine the deflated exuberance of the Gretzky-led entourage in the imposing grandstand above the 18th green in anticipation of Dustin Johnson’s would-be U.S. Open championship putt. After his gut-wrenching 3-putt, Johnson looked lonely and starkly exposed as that single fir overlooking the 15th green.
That might be in reference to an eagle perched high above the Douglas Fir tree that overlooks the 15th hole at this year’s U.S. Open Golf Championship. Dakeryn lumber traders planning to attend the Open won’t be the only ones surprised by the minimalist role that any woods connection plays in this year’s Open. The Pacific Northwest may be known for lush forested areas, in which the lumber industry thrives, but as this story in The Seattle Times points out, except for one lone fir tree, there ain’t any on the Chambers Bay golf course in Puget Sound.
Almost a TUBA FORE?!
“Wienecke arrived at work at Chambers Bay in pre-dawn darkness, as usual, that day in late April 2008. When he got around to the tree, the first thing he saw was the mess – the beer bottles and cigarette butts. Then he noticed the wood chips, and then the foot-and-a-half slash, eight inches deep, on the Narrows Bridge side of the trunk. Wienecke immediately summoned two arborists to the scene, and for 12 straight hours they worked feverishly to save the tree. A non-toxic epoxy was applied to fill the gash, and braces were attached to shore up the compromised part of the tree. In the days that followed, Wienecke heard from agronomists and arborists from around the world weighing in with their thoughts about the lone fir tree…”
The Man Who Saved Chambers Bay’s Lone Fir Tree – Cybergolf.com
The highly-anticipated 35th Annual B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association Roast honouring 2015 Lumberman of the Year Bill Rafter last night was a resounding success. Shortly after presenting him with an Inukshuk for outstanding service and dedication to the Association, BCWLA President Kent Beveridge turned the evening over to funny-as-ever master roast host Jack Hetherington. Archie Rafter, Ian Shopland, and Rick Fortunaso soon piled on with a rapid-fire collection of stories involving “Junior” which ranged from the hilarious to the mildly disturbing. Despite their hollers for a Nanaimo Chicken Kick, the packed house settled for Bill’s timeless Sinatra, in a flawless verse of The Girl From Ipanema. Bill’s comprehensive rebuttal can only be described as a walk-off home run.
It’s all happening tonight in Vancouver. It’s the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association’s annual dinner, at which the industry for more than 30 years has been in the habit of honouring a “Lumberman of the Year” (to date it’s been all men selected). It’s generally considered that past recipients have earned the honour in having served the industry with distinction. No doubt among the main criteria in the selection process is the ability to withstand a thorough roasting from industry associates – some of them even friends. The selection committee this year obviously liked the name association of this year’s chosen one in it’s direct link to housing construction.
So it is that Bill Rafter, recently retired from Interfor, will be lambasted when the fun gets underway this evening at The Terminal City Club. Roasters include:
- Archie Rafter – cousin to Bill for 58 years
- Ian Shopland – friend and colleague, first met Bill in 1972 at a curling club
- Rick Fortunaso – GM North American Whitewood at Interfor; met Bill as a teenager while curling on Vancouver Island
Reached this morning for comment, legendary roastmaster Jack Hetherington sounded especially jacked about tonight: “Attendees can expect the unexpected,” said Jack. “These guys have all been throwing rocks at each other from a very young age.”
In the heart of B.C.’s beetle zone, the Cariboo Fire Centre covers an area of about 10.3 million hectares divided into three zones: Central Cariboo, Quesnel, and 100 Mile House. Headquartered in Williams Lake, it is one of six provincial wildland fire centres operated by the world-renowned B.C. Forest Service Wildfire Management Branch. Special thanks to Emily Epp, Fire Information Officer at the Cariboo Fire Centre, for taking the time to answer seven questions:
- In consideration of the low snow pack that is being reported in the mountains this year, does this increase the risk factor for wildfires this summer?
Snow pack levels are one means of forecasting whether we’ll see an early or late start to the fire season. However, they aren’t a good indicator of how intense the season will be. More relevant indicators are precipitation levels and drying patterns as we move into summer. The nature of the fire season will ultimately depend on the arrival (or absence) of the “June rains”.
- What steps, if any, are being taken in advance preparation for this summer’s fire season?
Throughout the spring and early summer, Wildfire Management Branch personnel focus on training and preparation for that upcoming fire season. Our fire fighters are highly skilled and trained to fight wildfires. Resources are positioned throughout the province in readiness for any level of fire activity that the season may bring.
- Are there specific areas that pose greater than normal or heightened risk for wildfires this season?
The Fire Danger Rating is currently “Moderate” across most of B.C., with scattered areas of “High” in north, central, and southern B.C. The current long-term outlook for the summer indicates a potential for higher-than-normal temperatures. However, warmer than normal conditions alone are not necessarily an indicator of an intense fire season. While long term weather models may indicate trends over time, they cannot reliably forecast more than a few days in advance. We maintain our levels of preparedness by studying forecasts which will give us a good idea of what to expect in the short term. For looking more than a few days into the future, these forecasts have a diminished level of reliability.
- Is beetle-killed timber exacerbating the threat or risks this season?
Recent wildfire observations over the past few fire seasons (2006-2011) have confirmed aggressive fire behaviour in MPB-affected forests. More information is being collected to validate potential and expected fire behaviour across a range of MPB-attacked forest fuel classes. The Wildfire Management Branch is working with communities, local governments, and First Nations to implement community wildfire protection plans in MPB-affected forests to address fire safety issues from the provincial MPB infestation.
- Are there any indications of industry taking any special steps in preparing for this fire season?
By law, forest licensees are required to have hazard abatement plans in place and necessary wildfire suppression equipment on hand when working in the forest.
- What kind of budgets are in place for fighting anticipated fires this season? How does this compare with recent years? Is the number mentioned adequate in your opinion?
For budgeting purposes, the government of B.C. has allocated $63 million in Direct Fire for the 2015/2016 fire season. When actual costs exceed the Direct Fire budget allocation, the Wildfire Management Branch has statutory authorization to receive additional funds. In the past 10 fiscal years (2005/09 to 2014/15), net Direct Fire costs have ranged from a low of $47 million in 2005/06 to a record high of $382 million in 2009/10. In fiscal year 2014/2015, WMB spent almost $298 million. It’s difficult to forecast wildfire suppression costs as each season varies significantly depending on weather conditions and the number and severity of wildfires that we respond to. The province will always spend what’s necessary to protect people and property.
- Are there other resources (equipment, personnel) that are being added this year? Are such resources in place now?
This fact sheet details the resources the province has in place to fight wildfires this year:
We’re not sure if Gavin Munro will figure out how to coax trees to grow limbs shaped like 2×10 floor joists. Some believe it would render sawmills obsolete. For now this botanical craftsman is enjoying success in growing furniture (HT: Mark Kennedy).
Aptly described in this article at Gizmag as “a man with a great deal of patience,” Munro has reportedly spent the last ten years training trees to become chairs, tables, and sculpture. Check out the many beautiful images which includes his Furniture Field (Tuscan vineyard?) posted at the company’s website (“each piece is an expression of patience and collaboration with nature”). A large furniture harvest is projected for 2016-2017. Would this be nature’s contribution to rudimentary 3-D printing?