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Projects to help mitigate B.C. wildfire risks

As part of the Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan, the B.C. government has started two pilot projects to mitigate the risk of wildfire in mountain pine beetle-impacted areas.


January 9, 2013
By BC Government Newsroom

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The projects are in the Merritt timber supply area and the Vanderhoof and Fort St. James portions of the Prince George timber supply area. A third pilot project is also underway in the Soo timber supply area near Squamish.

The pilots will develop objectives to guide land management activities such as the use of silviculture techniques –including tree planting, brushing and spacing – to reduce wildfire risks from hazardous forest fuels. Working in collaboration with First Nations, industry and local communities, the pilots’ results will be used to assess high wildfire threats and identify strategies to improve the fire resiliency of the land in order to further protect communities and infrastructure.

“These are the kinds of collaborative pilot projects that will protect ecosystems and strengthen our communities’ ability to prevent wildfire. I look forward to seeing how the project results can guide future planning across the province,” said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson.

The pilots also will identify where the re-introduction of managed fire or prescribed burns can be used to help restore habitat and increase ecological diversity. The final results will be used for management projects such as the establishment of landscape level fuel breaks, fuel hazard reduction, alternative reforestation and prescribed burns.

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“These pilot projects are an important part of mid-term timber supply action plan. By integrating wildfire and resource management expertise, we can reduce the risks and impact of wildfire to communities, infrastructure, ecosystems and timber values,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry, John Rustad.

The ministry has invested $225,000 to support the three pilot projects and complete initial computer modelling of wildfire risk throughout British Columbia within two years. These computer models will be used to help prioritize work, support operational planning and mitigate the impacts from large-scale intense wildfire activity.