Projects underway in B.C. to reduce community wildfire risk, enhance forest health
November 29, 2022 By CFI Staff
Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in British Columbia.
The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is investing in 12 new wildfire risk reduction projects in the Cariboo, Northeastern, South Coast, Thompson Okanagan and Kootenay-Boundary regions of B.C. The FESBC has approved a total of 34 new wildfire risk reduction projects to be completed by March 2024. These projects are reducing wildfire risk, while enhancing wildlife habitat, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from slash pile burning, and supporting forest recreation and ecological resiliency.
“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a proven partner in delivering projects on the ground that protect people from wildfire risks and reduce emissions from slash pile burning,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “Along with the historic investments in Budget 2022 to transform the BC Wildfire Service into a year-round service and double funding for proactive wildfire prevention, these new projects funded by FESBC will help build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”
“FESBC is pleased to further support communities in reducing their risk of wildfires,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director, FESBC. “Their thoughtful and collaborative approaches result in numerous additional objectives also being achieved at the same time with the same funding: improved wildlife habitat; greater forest recreation opportunities; local employment; community economic benefits; forests that are more resilient to fire, insects, disease and future climate change; and sometimes reduce greenhouse gases and improve Indigenous participation in the forest economy in British Columbia.”
FESBC has approved 263 projects over the past five years throughout B.C. Sixty-three of the projects have been led by First Nations and another 23 have significant First Nations involvement. FESBC projects have reduced wildfire risk in 120 communities and have created more than 2,100 full-time jobs.
As part of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, the province will work toward near elimination of Ministry of Forests Forest Enhancement Society of BC
slash pile burning by 2030 and will divert materials away from slash piles and into bioproduct development, which will reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while creating new opportunities in British Columbia’s green economy. The projects funded through FESBC will
help achieve these goals.
The $25 million provided to FESBC is part of the $359 million announced in Budget 2022 to protect British Columbians from wildfires, including $145 million to strengthen the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC.
The projects include:
- A $257,250 wildfire-mitigation project for the Fort Nelson Community Forest (FNCF) to create a fuel break by thinning a tree stand adjacent to both the community of Fort Nelson and the Alaska Highway.
- Williams Lake First Nation: $1,573,110 – preparing plans and implementing treatments in a landscape-level fuel break that was identified through a local planning process.
- Williams Lake Community Forest: $561,278 – implementing thinning treatments to reduce wildfire risk, while improving mule deer habitat.
- Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd.: $2 million – creating landscape-level fuel breaks and maximizing the utilization of fibre generated from the treatments.
- Cheakamus Community Forest: $635,095 – manual and mechanical treatments will be conducted on land adjacent to Wedgewoods subdivision north of Whistler.
- Spel’kúmtn Community Forest: $183,456 – local silviculture crews will conduct understory hand-thinning treatments in and around One Mile Park near Pemberton.
- Ntityix Resources LP: $613,512 – conducting hand thinning and pruning treatments in the Glenrosa area. This work builds on thinning treatments recently completed by the Westbank First Nation (WFN) crews within the WFN Community Forest.
- Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society: $124,830 – post-harvest piling and debris removal to enhance wildfire risk reduction treatments to improve wildfire resiliency for the area.
- District of Summerland: $391,619 – create plans for future fuel reduction treatments and manually thin stands in strategic locations near the community.
- Nk’Mip Forestry LLP: $622,125 – developing plans and implementing thinning treatments along the Mount Baldy access road.
- City of Kimberley: $400,000 – understory thinning treatments in a sensitive wildlife area, which will create a landscape level fire break for Kimberley.
- Nakusp and Area Community Forest: $356,207 – planning for and implementation of wildfire risk reduction treatments in the Wensley Creek recreation area near Nakusp.
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