Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wildfire Season Starts in BC

Wildfire season is upon us again in BC. Weather forecasters are calling for a warm, dry summer overall.

Press release from BC government on recent wildfire activity in the Prince George area.


PRINCE GEORGE – Since April 1, the Prince George Fire Centre has responded to 51 wildfires, all of which have been human-caused and therefore considered preventable.

The fires have burned over 464 hectares, with the largest of the fires estimated at 170 hectares in size. Compared to this time last year, there had been only two fires that had burned one hectare.

To ensure you are not the cause of a wildfire, please take the following precautions when conducting any sort of open burning, including campfires:

· Only burn in appropriate conditions. Never burn when it is windy. Gusty winds can carry embers to other combustible materials and start new fires.

· Have enough water and hand tools nearby to control your fire, keeping in mind that winds can materialize quickly, even on a seemingly calm day.

· Ensure that all other combustible materials are cleared well away from the fire.

· Never leave your fire unattended at any time. Before leaving an area, douse the ashes with enough water that they are cold to the touch.

· If you are planning to do any open burning, obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1-888 797-1717.

The Prince George Fire Centre’s jurisdiction stretches from the Yukon and Northwest Territories to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, the Cottonwood River and Robson Valley in the south, and from the Alberta border west to the Skeena Mountains.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks.

For more information on open fire restrictions or for updates on current wildfire activity, visit


Lumber Prices Up, Taxes down

An interesting press release from the government of BC detailing how the increase in lumber prices affects the Export tax.


VICTORIA – Due to strong lumber prices, effective May 1, the amount of tax that B.C.’s softwood lumber producers pay on shipments to the U.S. will be reduced by one-third, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell announced today.

“The reduction in the export tax is good news for B.C.’s lumber companies and employees that work for them,” said Bell. “This is the highest average lumber price since the Softwood Lumber Agreement was signed in October 2006. It is a positive indicator that B.C.’s forest sector may be starting on the road to recovery.”

Under the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement, companies exporting softwood lumber to the United States are required to pay an export tax on their shipments. The formula for determining the tax is based on the average price over a four-week period 21 days before the start of the month. The higher the average lumber price is, the lower the export tax.

In this case, since the four-week average lumber price, as given by the Random Lengths Framing Composite Price Index, is now $US 325 per thousand board feet, the export tax rate that will be in effect May 1 will be 10 per cent, down from 15 per cent. The export tax would reduce to zero if lumber prices exceed $US 355 per thousand board feet.

Random Lengths framing lumber composite prices are published each Friday. The export tax is collected at the border by the Canada Revenue Agency and then the tax paid by B.C. producers is re-directed to the provincial government.

“While the U.S. is still our largest market, I am also encouraged by the increased shipments that we’re seeing to other countries,” said Bell. “B.C.’s lumber prices and volumes of shipments may fluctuate from month-to-month, but I’m hopeful we will remain on a positive trend. However, the key to sustained recovery will be sustained demand for B.C.’s forest products.”

In January 2010, B.C.’s total softwood lumber exports were 22 per cent greater than they were in January 2009. This includes a four-fold increase in the exports to China, a six per cent increase in exports to the U.S. and an 11 per cent increase in exports to Japan.

The U.S., China, and Japan are B.C.’s largest markets for softwood lumber.