Barkerville, B.C.: heralded as the largest living-history museum in western North America, Barkerville Historic Town & Park (BHT&P) was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924 and a Provincial Heritage Property in 1958. As with other resorts, heritage sites, and recreation or tourism destinations in B.C., the catastrophic wildfire seasons of 2017 and 2018 put a damper on tourism numbers. In 2017, a wildfire travelling at 4.5 kms per day came within just 12 kms of the historic site, something BHT&P CEO Ed Coleman and his team knew they needed to do something about in order to protect this irreplaceable historic Canadian asset.
“The 2017 wildfires came much too close to the heritage park and we knew in order to protect this historic town, immediate and strategic measures needed to happen,” said Ed Coleman, CEO, BHT&P. “We have been working on fuel mitigation planning for 3½ years, designing the prescriptions and subsequent treatments to protect the site from a wildfire.”
The planning and treatment of this first phase of the fuel mitigation plan presented several challenges due to the high elevation of Barkerville at 4,300 feet, challenging fuel types, and the need to protect heritage and other resource values located in the treatment area. Very few fuel management projects have been done in this type of physical environment, so it was completely new ground for Coleman and his team.