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Fuel management logging prevents large-scale wildfire damage in Nazko, BC


November 21, 2019
By Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.

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Photo courtesy Nazko Logging Ltd.

Located 100 kilometres west of Quesnel, B.C., on the Nazko River is the small ranching and logging First Nations community of Nazko. In the past two years a wildfire risk mitigation project funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) working with the Nazko Logging Ltd. Partnership got underway, and earlier this spring, the wildfire risk mitigation work showed its value when a downed powerline started a fire in the area that had been treated.

“The good work of the Nazko Logging Ltd. team in the fuel management treatments meant that the area where the fire started had already been cleared of debris, brush, dead trees, and ladder fuels,” said Ray Raatz, operations manager for FESBC. “The fire did go through a portion of the area but stayed low to the ground and didn’t have an opportunity to go up into the crowns of the trees, which meant crews had a better chance to respond and there was relatively little damage. It’s a good news story for the community and shows the value of proactive wildfire risk reduction work.”

The project objective was to identify and treat stands within five kilometres of the communities of Nazko and Kluskus heavily damaged by mountain pine bark beetle and had significant accumulations of fuel that, if untreated, would create extreme fire conditions in the event of a wildfire and increase the risk to communities and interface areas.

Overall, the Nazko wildfire hazard treatment project’s purpose was to reduce the threat of wildfire to the Nazko and Kluskus communities by treating adjacent forested areas. The work was completed in two phases including 1) fuel management planning and prescription development and 2) fuel management treatments. All work was completed on Crown forest land adjacent to the communities.

“Our society was pleased to provide planning, prescription, and treatment funding for this project and we were pleased to see the work reduce the risk of a wildfire that could potentially have damaged or destroyed local residences and displace citizens,” said Raatz. “Projects like these align with our society’s goals and make a meaningful difference for British Columbians as we proactively and responsibly manage one of our most significant natural resources: our forests.”