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Lil’wat Forestry Ventures leads wildfire safety project

May 14, 2024  By Lil’wat Forestry Ventures


Lil'wat forest fuels thinning project to better protect houses from the risk of wildfire. Photo: Simon Bedford /LFV.

Lil’wat Forestry Ventures (LFV), the forestry division of Lil’wat Nation, has begun a proactive wildfire risk reduction initiative or ‘Forest Fuels Management Project’. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Lil’wat Nation FireSmart in a residential subdivision above X-Stream Road. The work will involve the careful thinning of trees in a heavily forested 50-hectare area, plus working together with residents on what they want to see done within 30 to 50 metres of their homes.

Klay Tindall, LFV general manager, emphasized the importance of this selective thinning work to create a more resilient and healthier forest environment, and FireSmart to better protect homes.

“This work is so important to help keep the community safer from the threat of wildfire, with many other significant benefits,” noted Tindall. “The selective thinning of the forest will not only mitigate the risk of wildfires to the local homes and properties but will also enhance residents’ visibility to observe wildlife such as wolves, bears and cougars in the area to better ensure their family’s safety.”

Tindall notes that the project will help improve conditions for the growth of berries, mushrooms, and other plants for Lil’wat Nation members to harvest for food and medicine, plus some of the harvested wood will provide firewood for community elders this winter.

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One of the significant challenges Tindall shared is that harvesting for community protection through the Forest Fuels Management project is being done without the benefit of provincial or federal government funding.

“Due to the size of the project, we are not eligible for the funding we require to do this work,” Tindall shared. “This work is important on so many levels, so we are moving forward to get the work done.”

Tindall is calling on the community to be innovative to make their own homes and overall community safer, stressing the importance of FireSmart practices as the summer fire season approaches. He further explained that individuals can take additional FireSmart measures closer to their homes, beyond the larger forest fuels management project to better ensure their own safety.

“The area between the fuel management work and homes will require individual FireSmart work to help create the conditions to better protect homes,” said Klay. “This is why we’re working with the Lil’wat FireSmart coordinator and residents to determine what we can do between their homes and the forest to better prepare.”

Looking beyond the current project, LFV has additional plans to enhance forest management and community safety long-term. This includes planning out three harvest blocks on Lil’wat Nation land where trees will be harvested using a partial harvest method which ensure the retention of some trees.

“Our work will include harvesting along with cultural burning and monitoring to assess how these openings in the forest can boost better protect against wildfire while also assisting the growth of culturally important shrubs and herbs,” shared Tindall.

Community members seeking more information or wishing to discuss the project can contact Jordon Gabriel, manager of Community & Culture at Lil’wat Forestry Ventures, at 604-935-2407 or Dillon Bikadi, Lil’wat Nation FireSmart Coordinator, at 604-935-7965.


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