Minister of Forests Announces 12 New Projects Funded by FESBC

Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the impacts of wildfire and climate change in British Columbia.

Through a provincial investment of $25 million, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has funded 12 additional community projects. This includes work to reduce wildfire risk, while enhancing wildlife habitat, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from slash pile burning, and support 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.”

The 12 FESBC-funded projects are:

Projects in the Northeast Region:

Fort Nelson Community Forest, $257,250 – This funding is for a wildfire-mitigation project to create a fuel break by thinning a stand adjacent to both the community of Fort Nelson and the Alaska Highway.

Projects in the Cariboo Region:

Williams Lake First Nations, $1,573,110 – Preparing plans and implementing treatments in a landscape level fuel breaks 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., $2,000,000 – Creating landscape level fuel breaks and maximizing the utilization of fibre generated from the work.

Projects in the Kootenay-Boundary Region:

Nk’Mip Forestry LLP, $622,125 – Developing plans and implementing thinning treatments along the Mount Baldy access road.

The City of Kimberley, $400,000 – Understory thinning treatments in a sensitive wildlife area, which will create a landscape level fire break for Kimberley.

Projects in the Thompson-Okanagan Region:

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 – Pile logging slash left created by logging to reduce the risk and spread of wildfire.

District of Summerland, $391,619 – Create plans for future fuel reduction treatments and manually thin stands in strategic locations within the district.

Projects in the South Coast Region:

The Cheakamus Community Forest., $635,095 – Hand treatments will be conducted on land adjacent to a subdivision in Whistler. This is a continuation of previously completed projects.

The Spel’kúmtn Community Forest, $183,456 – Local silviculture crews will be conducting understory hand thinning treatments in and around One Mile Park.

“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. We would love to see more communities and local organizations step forward with their ideas on how they can enhance their local forests.”

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 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 $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.

FESBC is a Crown agency established to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating the effects of wildfire, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases.

Contacts:

Ministry of Forests, Media Relations | 250 896-4320
Aleece Laird, Forest Enhancement Society of BC | 250 574-0221

Projects Underway in Cariboo Will Reduce Community Wildfire Risk, Enhance Forest Health

WILLIAMS LAKE – Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in the Cariboo region.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is investing in 12 new wildfire risk reduction projects, including three in the Cariboo Region. 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.”

Understory Burn at Bond Lake Sept 2022.
Photo Credit: John Walker, RPF, Stewardship Forester

Wildfire-mitigation projects funded in the Cariboo include:

  • 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.

“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.

FESBC is a Crown agency established to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating the effects of wildfires, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of
greenhouse gases.

Quote:

Chief Willie Sellars, Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN)
“Williams Lake First Nation is extremely pleased that the Forest Enhancement Society of BC has decided to support the WLFN Brunson Fuel Break project. This project will help protect Williams Lake First Nation and the City of Williams Lake from wildfire, allow us to enhance ecosystems and provide opportunities for employment and capacity development. We are grateful to deliver this project in partnership with FESBC and look forward to further collaborations in the future.”

Contacts:

Ministry of Forests, Media Relations | 250 896-4320
Aleece Laird, Forest Enhancement Society of BC | 250 574-0221

Read the press release issued by the Minister of Forests, here.

Projects Underway in Northeastern B.C. Will Reduce Community Wildfire Risk, Enhance Forest Health

FORT NELSON – Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in northeastern B.C.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is investing in 12 new wildfire risk reduction projects, including one in northeastern 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.”

Fuel Treatment work undertaken by the Fort Nelson Community Forest.
Photo credit: Lorence Forsberg

The $257,250 wildfire-mitigation project is 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.

“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.

FESBC is a Crown agency established to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating the effects of wildfires, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of
greenhouse gases.

Quote:
Lorence Forsberg, board chair, Fort Nelson First Nation and Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (FNFM/NRRM) Community Forest General Partner Corporation
“FNFM/NRRM Community Forest Limited Partnership is pleased to receive this funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC to conduct fuel-mitigation projects within the community forest. With this funding, the Fort Nelson Community Forest will support and invest in community wildfire prevention initiatives. This funding will allow the FNCF to implement its
mission of practising and modelling excellence in forestry stewardship relative to the protection of its partner communities from wildfire.”

Contacts:

Ministry of Forests, Media Relations | 250 896-4320
Aleece Laird, Forest Enhancement Society of BC | 250 574-0221

Read the press release issued by the Minister of Forests, here.

Projects Underway in South Coast Will Reduce Community Wildfire Risk, Enhance Forest Health

WHISTLER– Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change on the South Coast.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is investing in 12 new wildfire risk reduction projects, including two in the South Coast Region. 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.”

Photo of the area around One Mile Lake where the Wildfire Risk Reduction work will happen;
Photo Credit: Spel’kúmtn Community Forest

Wildfire-mitigation projects funded on the South Coast are:

  • 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.

“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.

FESBC is a Crown agency established to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating the effects of wildfires, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of
greenhouse gases.

Quote:
Klay Tindall, forest manager, Lil’wat Forestry Ventures LP –
“The Spel’kúmtn Community Forest is a partnership between the Lil’wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton to promote reconciliation, increase community benefits from local resources and to be a local voice in the management of the forest, which encompasses 17,727 hectares of land around Pemberton and Mount Currie communities. We applied to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC for wildfire risk reduction funding to assist our community forest in conducting understory hand-thinning treatments in and around the One Mile Park area, a site frequented by members of the Lil’wat Nation, as well as many others for recreational purposes. Keeping people and important infrastructure safe, while being good stewards of the land to protect wildlife habitat, high cultural value areas and the traditional territory of the Lil’wat Nation, are our key focuses, and we are grateful for the funding to start the work.”

Contacts:

Ministry of Forests, Media Relations | 250 896-4320
Aleece Laird, Forest Enhancement Society of BC | 250 574-0221

Read the press release issued by the Minister of Forests, here.

Projects Underway in Thompson Okanagan Will Reduce Community Wildfire Risk, Enhance Forest Health

KELOWNA – Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in the Thompson Okanagan region.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is investing in 12 new wildfire risk reduction projects, including three in the Thompson Okanagan Region. 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.”

Ken Beck, a forestry worker, is pictured igniting the debris piles using propane and a tiger torch; Photo credit: Mike Francis

The wildfire-mitigation projects funded in the Thompson Okanagan region are:

  • 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.

“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.

FESBC is a Crown agency established to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating the effects of wildfires, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of
greenhouse gases.

Quote:
Mike Francis, registered professional forester, Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society
“We are so pleased that the Forest Enhancement Society of BC has approved our project for funding. This funding will help us reduce fuel loading on areas following harvest to create a more fire resilient landscape that should reduce the risk of fire spread in the event of a future wildfire. In the past, funding from FESBC allowed us to assess our community forest’s land base and develop a plan and prescriptions for the management of our forest resources. Wildfire risk reduction treatments can get very costly, and the funding from FESBC is critical in ensuring that we are able to reduce the risk of devastation from wildfires for our community forest and our communities.”

Contacts:

Ministry of Forests, Media Relations | 250 896-4320
Aleece Laird, Forest Enhancement Society of BC | 250 574-0221

Read the press release issued by the Minister of Forests, here.

Projects Underway in Kootenay-Boundary Will Reduce Community Wildfire Risk, Enhance Forest Health

NELSON – Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in the Kootenay-Boundary region.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is investing in 12 new wildfire risk reduction projects, including three in the Kootenay-Boundary Region. 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.”

Picture from Beaverdell fuel mitigation project that had similiar objectives to the Baldy Road project. The Baldy Project is anticipated to look like the above photos after completion of the treatment. 
Photo Credit: Peter Flett

The wildfire-mitigation projects funded in the Kootenay-Boundary region are:

  • 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.

“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.

FESBC is a Crown agency established to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating the effects of wildfires, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of
greenhouse gases.

Quotes:
Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen
“Our vision for forestry in B.C. revolves around managing for community values, rather than simply fibre volumes. After visiting the work that Nk’Mip Forestry is doing in partnership with Vaagen, it’s evident this area is a great example of just that. Sustainable forest practices protect biodiversity, promote climate resiliency, support sustainable good employment in our communities and are vital for protecting our communities from wildfires. These projects will focus on local wildfire risk reduction and creation of economic returns for the communities, and do this while improving wildlife habitat, promoting Indigenous values and supporting safe, resilient forest recreation.”

Peter Flett, registered professional forester, Vaagen Fibre Canada
“A huge thanks to FESBC for providing this funding to Nk’Mip Forestry for the fuel-mitigation project along Baldy Road. It is an essential travel and emergency evacuation corridor between the Boundary region and South Okanagan, which was highlighted during last year’s Nk’Mip Creek wildfire. This funding will be utilized to reduce fuel loading on both sides of the road, while providing employment and training opportunities to Osoyoos Indian Band and local contractors.”

Dan Macmaster, fibre manager, Vaagen Fibre Canada, and community forest manager, West Boundary Community Forest
“Collaboration with Osoyoos Indian Band and traditional knowledge keepers is at the heart of this project. While fuel reduction is a primary objective along the corridor, we are also sharing the landscape with at-risk wildlife, such as Williamson’s sapsucker and ungulates. Taking direction from key personnel at the Band office and community members is imperative to ensure the protection of wildlife habitat, water and other cultural values is incorporated appropriately into the prescription and operational plans.”

Contacts:

Ministry of Forests, Media Relations | 250 896-4320
Aleece Laird, Forest Enhancement Society of BC | 250 574-0221

Read the press release issued by the Minister of Forests, here.

West Boundary Community Forest Takes on Five Wildfire Risk Reduction Projects

Midway, B.C. – With the infusion of new grant funding of $1,137,375 from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s (FESBC) 2022-2023 Funding Program, the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) has already started working toward proactively making the communities of Midway, Greenwood, Grand Forks, Rock Creek, and Westbridge safer from the threat of wildfires.

LP Martin and Nick Kleiner at Jewel Lake. Photo credit: FESBC

“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, the critical work of FESBC is helping build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”

Dan Macmaster, RPF, Forest Manager with WBCF expressed what funding from FESBC means to the community forest.

“We are humbled and honoured that FESBC accepted our proposals; in the past, we received funding for fuel mitigation projects on the southern slopes of Midway, in May Creek outside of Grand Forks, and on the western shores of Jewel Lake. This funding allowed us to complete thorough and well-organized consultations with First Nations as well as local residents. We conducted fuel measurements and data collection to develop a prescription that focused on wildfire risk reduction in our treatments,” said Macmaster, adding, “The incremental costs of removing dead fuels in the adjacent forests can be costly, and FESBC has given us the ability to get the job done properly.”

The five new projects that have received funding are Myers Creek Road, Fiva Creek, Greenwood East, Lone Star Border, and Rock Creek South.

The Myers Creek Road project is on a road that runs parallel to the US border behind Midway, B.C. WBCF will be developing a shaded fuel break on each side of the road to protect the community from wildfires that could spread from the south.

The Fiva Creek project will involve fuel mitigation on a dense hillside north of Westbridge and adjacent to many homes. After WBCF’s selective cut, they plan to utilize local contractors to mechanically and manually rake and pile the remaining debris to ensure the fuels left in the forest are reduced.

The Greenwood East project is slated for the east slopes of Greenwood that have a buildup of fuel and requires understory thinning, slashing, hand piling and pruning to reduce the potential impact of future wildfires.

The Lone Star Border project will be located along the US Border, just west of Grand Forks, B.C., and this project will create a fuel break to help reduce the spread of fire and improve access for suppression crews.

The Rock Creek South project involves a small area in southern Rock Creek that contains dense fuels and dead beetle-killed trees. By removing the fuels and treating the green trees retained in the area, WBCF is hoping to protect the southern boundary of Rock Creek from future wildfires.

“Certain forested areas around many of our rural communities have been neglected over the years. This has allowed fuels in the forest, such as very high-density stands, ladder fuels, and woody debris to build up and for Douglas-fir beetles to run rampant. Once our Community Forest tenure was established, we realized these areas need to be better managed in order to protect our communities from wildfires as well as protect our tenure from forest health concerns. Local employment in the phases of layout, fuels treatments, and harvesting will benefit from this funding and allow us to keep local contractors working,” explained Macmaster.

FESBC Operations Manager Brian Watson, RPF, noted how great it is to see the community forest incorporating innovation into their harvesting activities.

“In these cases, they will be fully utilizing low-value fibre that would have been otherwise burned. These projects will achieve two of our funding priorities, to lower the wildfire risk while reducing greenhouse gases through better utilization,” said Watson.

Peter Flett, RPF with the WBCF, who has been actively involved in developing long-term relationships with First Nations noted that while the work for the projects is straightforward, it will involve the Osoyoos Indian Band through all stages to ensure they are comfortable with all the prescriptions recommended by the WBCF.

“Full participation and direction from the Osoyoos Indian Band will help to ensure our treatment efforts are in line with the values of our local First Nations on their traditional territory,” said Flett.

WBCF’s partnership with First Nations and its efforts to ensure their involvement in forest management is appreciated by FESBC.

“Putting people first, partnering with the Osoyoos Indian Band, and investing back in forestry-dependant communities in the Boundary Region are key reasons why working with the West Boundary Community Forest is so rewarding for FESBC,” added Watson. “We look forward to working with the team to complete these five new projects.”

Work has already begun and all of this work is being done not just to protect communities from impending wildfires, but also for several additional reasons according to Macmaster.

“We anticipate that this work will bring greater protection to our communities, while at the same time improving forest health, helping us employ local contractors, and working in collaboration with the Osoyoos Indian Band. These projects are a win economically, environmentally, and socially, and we’re so grateful for the funding.”

For an interview with FESBC contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the

Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

B.C. Community Forests Take Action to Reduce Wildfire Risk

British Columbia – In the past few years, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has funded various project partners throughout the province with the primary objective to reduce wildfire risk. Many of these project partners, 25 in fact, have been community forests. This partnership has accounted for 53 projects valued at over $18 million of which $12.3 million was for wildfire risk reduction and $5.9 million for projects to reduce greenhouse gases, which have included enhanced fibre utilization and rehabilitating damaged forest stands.

“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, the critical work of FESBC is helping build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”

(R-L) Minister Conroy, MLA for Nelson-Creston Brittny Anderson, and FESBC Chair Jim Snetsinger inspect a FESBC-funded wildfire risk reduction treatment in the Harrop-Proctor Community Forest, where some of the biomass was used to make green energy. Photo Credit: FESBC

A community forest is a forestry operation owned and managed by a local government, community group, or First Nation for the benefit of the entire community. FESBC Executive Director, Steve Kozuki, pointed out why FESBC and community forests work well together. “We both want to create as many values as we can in our projects. We not only achieve the main objective of reducing wildfire risk, but we often create numerous additional co-benefits such as enhancing recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat, reducing greenhouse gases, and generating employment for local people.”

The BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA), which represents many of these community forests, has seen the good work from FESBC’s collaboration with community forests. Jennifer Gunter, Executive Director of the BCCFA, highlights the importance of the partnership between FESBC and community forests.

“Support from FESBC has been instrumental in the success of wildfire risk reduction projects. With funding from FESBC, many community forests have been able to take meaningful action to make their communities safer, and their forests more resilient,” said Gunter.

Last month, during the BCCFA’s 2022 Conference & AGM, the Association celebrated its 20th anniversary and the work being done by community forests. “We were able to celebrate community forestry and the outstanding work of our members throughout the province. Community forests are effective tools for ecosystem resilience and community economic development, and our members constantly raise the bar. Community forestry, however, is not without its challenges. We are grateful for the support of organizations like FESBC that join us in working on solutions together,” Gunter remarked.

During the conference, Kozuki joined Jennifer Gunter, UBC’s Dr. Lori Daniels, Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz, and Kea Rutherford in discussing the important work of wildfire risk reduction and its efficacy in a session moderated by Logan Lake Community Forest Manager, Randy Spyksma.

Lori and her team spoke about the large amount of backlog of wildfire risk reduction treatments that remains to be done in B.C. Despite the significant efforts in the last number of years, only about 20 per cent of the work has been done so far. Lori noted that while $18 billion has been spent on seismic building upgrades in B.C., only a small fraction of that amount has been spent on wildfire risk reduction. Kozuki thanked the many community forests that have stepped up to reduce wildfire risk and for doing it in a way that achieves not only a multitude of additional benefits but also earns social license from local citizens.

Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR), is an example of a community forest that has undertaken wildfire risk reduction work that has provided an added layer of protection to the community while also generating numerous co-benefits. With funding from FESBC, NACFOR took on a project with the goals of improving public safety and reducing the risk of catastrophic loss of infrastructure from future wildfires in areas with high-to-moderate wildfire risk. The project created a series of strategically placed fuel breaks surrounding the community of Nakusp to act as the last line of defence against an approaching wildfire. The FESBC-funded project provided increased opportunities for local contractors with local dollars staying within the community, giving a boost to the local economy.

“The benefits of such wildfire risk reduction work in community forests are widespread,” noted Gunter. “Community forests are often situated in the wildland-urban interface and are increasingly becoming leaders in protecting rural communities from the risk of high-severity fires. Not only has this work contributed to keeping communities safe but, in many cases, it strengthens relationships between Indigenous and rural communities and has resulted in local employment, ecosystem restoration, and wildlife habitat enhancement.”

A community forest in Creston undertook wildfire risk reduction work which also gave a boost to the local economy through increased employment opportunities, providing work to at least 15 Creston locals who were involved in the development, planning, and implementation phases of the project. The project itself treated over 120 hectares on Arrow Mountain and approximately 10,400 cubic metres (approximately 230 truckloads) were harvested from seven areas, removing mistletoe, infected larch, and unhealthy Douglas-fir. The resulting state of the forest, according to Daniel Gratton, Forest Manager of the Creston Community Forest, is now similar to what would have existed when wildfires frequented the area prior to the introduction of the fire suppression programs in the early 1900s.

Fire suppression efforts of the last 100 years have resulted in some forests near communities across B.C. becoming overmature and/or very dense, making them more susceptible to wildfire. Many times, these types of stands have less value to wildlife and are less desirable for recreation activities. FESBC-funded projects in community forests have not only reduced the wildfire risk to communities, but they have also improved wildlife habitat, created local employment opportunities, and increased recreation values like camping, hiking, and biking.

One such project to reduce wildfire risk to the community which was undertaken by the Kaslo & District Community Forest Society (KDCFS), led to additional wildlife benefits that some people didn’t expect. An area resident, Doug Drain, whose house was adjacent to the forest area that was being treated, almost lost his house to a wildfire in 2012. This wildfire risk reduction treatment not only gave him peace of mind, but he said that opening up the forest had made a huge difference to the wildlife that live there. He has seen seven bears and two cubs as well as deer and elk that are back grazing in the area for the first time in many years.

This work was informed by a Landscape Level Wildfire Protection (LLWP) plan which KDCFS received a $50,000 grant from FESBC while Sabrina Mutterer and Jeff Reyden were co-managers of the community forest. According to Reyden, even though they both are from Kaslo, they hadn’t thought about the multi-level impacts of wildfires on the community or stakeholders involved until they started work on the LLWP.

The team started to plan for priorities focused on achieving immediate benefits in forest fire suppression and crew safety while outlining future fuel treatment projects and collaborating with the Regional District and BC Wildfire Service (BCWS). Engagement sessions involved discussions with BCWS and the local fire department to understand their needs in the event of a fire close to Kaslo, outlining what resources they had, what could be shared, what KDCFS could purchase, communications protocols, jurisdictional areas of who would respond where, etc. Not only did the plan inform the work done near Drain’s property but KDCFS ended up purchasing three fire pumps, hoses, and an inflatable bladder to fight a fire if need be.

“Community forest agreements are unique forest tenures that give communities, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, the ability to manage local forests for local benefit. They are in it for the long term with a mandate to manage environmental, economic, social, and cultural values. Partnering with FESBC on projects that reduce the risk of wildfire while supporting community values and advancing climate action is a win-win for communities and the province. We have been building a network of practitioners across the province who understand how to integrate these concepts and the experts with FESBC are integral to this process,” noted Gunter, pointing to the expertise FESBC operations managers bring to projects.

According to Gunter, as forest policy in B.C. shifts to support an increase in Indigenous and community-led forestry with a focus on value rather than volume, the active role of community forests in the movement toward reconciliation and innovating to integrate multiple values on the landscape, becomes clearer.

“Throughout the province, community forests demonstrate their leadership in implementing an inspiring vision for forestry that allows local communities to manage local forests in ways that generate many benefits,” said Gunter. “Our hope is that the partnership between the BCCFA and FESBC will continue to provide ongoing support and opportunities for community forests in our province. Together we are making our forests and communities more resilient ecologically, economically, and socially.”

For an interview with FESBC contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the

Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

One Year Later: Logan Lake Community Forest Continues to Reduce Wildfire Risk to the Communities

LOGAN LAKE, B.C. – When Logan Lake became the first FireSmart community in B.C. in 2013 –a result of efforts starting back in the early 2000s– the community was preparing for any future wildfires through their wildfire risk reduction projects. Furthermore, the Tremont Creek Wildfire in August 2021 actually proved that the 18-year-long undertaking by the District of Logan Lake, the Logan Lake Community Forest (LLCF), and the residents of the town, to prepare for the wildfire event in advance, was effective.

This outcome has spurred the LLCF, in collaboration with the communities of Logan Lake and the Face and Paska Lakes area, into further action to step up the wildfire mitigation efforts through Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) funding.

Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Senior Manager said, “Logan Lake Community Forest started working on wildfire risk reduction treatments before anyone else in B.C. It has been a pleasure to support the Community Forest to complete such important work and see the FESBC funding reduce the wildfire risk not only to Logan Lake but to the nearby communities.”

One such project is the fuel management treatment project around the community at Face and Paska Lakes, located 15 km northeast of Logan Lake and within the LLCF. The area has unique wildfire-related risks with an isolated community of permanent year-round residents and seasonal tourists, many of whom come during the summer, the peak of a traditional wildfire season. Limited evacuation routes and the proximity of homes to forest fuels have increased the overall risk of a wildfire in this area.

“The area was identified in the Logan Lake Community Forest Wildfire Risk Management Plan (WRMP) as requiring attention and action, for which LLCF received $512,000 in follow-up funding from FESBC. The treatments will help reduce wildfire hazards through fuel reduction in areas directly adjacent to residential developments,” said Randy Spyksma, a Planner with Forsite, Manager of the Logan Lake Community Forest and Board Member with the BC Community Forest Association.

“This fuel work, being completed by Skeetchestn Natural Resources Corp., has the crews removing dead and downed woody debris in the area which can pose a significant wildfire threat to the community.  Recently, FESBC has also funded the development of a fuel management prescription in order to improve the resiliency of the main evacuation route, further investing in risk reduction efforts to help make these areas safer for people!” added Spyksma.

The priority fuel treatment work around the Face/Paska community is nearing completion and the fibre that couldn’t be utilized is being made available for firewood for the local community members. The planning work is now starting in order to reduce the wildfire risk along the evacuation route from the communities.

“FESBC’s support for fuel management treatments in the resort areas of Face and Paska Lakes will be key to reducing wildfire risks in this area,” said Garnet Mierau, RPF, planner with Forsite, part of the LLCF management team and the 75th council president for the Association of BC Forest Professionals.

Beyond timber and wildfire risk reduction, the projects undertaken by LLCF have been a good example of community engagement and collaborative work.  From the completion of the original WRMP and development of fuel management prescriptions to the implementation of the work, LLCF has engaged Indigenous communities, local groups, and the general public to ensure interests are balanced and there is a collaborative approach overall.

“Mile High Resort was invited to be a part of the original wildfire planning work and is appreciative of the Community Forest, funding from FESBC, and the support of BC Wildfire Service in the Face/Paska area. We now look forward to ongoing collaboration and actions to support wildfire resilience for the community,” said Bob van Tongeren, Owner Operator of Mile High Resort and Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation board member.

The work with van Tongeren is just one example of the collaborative efforts that have taken place as a part of work undertaken by the Community Forest.

“The scale of our engagement of the efforts was unique to British Columbia when we started work on the original strategic landscape-level WRMP followed by a fuel management program,” noted Mierau, “The engagement helped to proactively support a range of wildfire risk reduction activities.”

The Community Forest has also been instrumental in engaging with the education sector to support awareness and collaboration regarding the activities of the Community Forest in general, and specific to wildfire risk reduction. Over the years, LLCF has collaborated with Thompson Rivers University, the BC Institute of Technology, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Tree Ring Lab, and the local high school in Logan Lake. This approach supports collaboration to better understand wildfire risk and how to design and maintain risk mitigation. 

“We are collaborating with academic organizations and investing in students, who are the future of forest management in community forests and across the province,” said Mierau.

LLCF is one of the 10 community forests with whom UBC has been collaborating to measure the efficacy of treatments that aim to mitigate hazardous fuels and reduce wildfire risk, confirmed professor, Dr. Lori D. Daniels.

“LLCF has demonstrated great initiative to connect with the local public and education through collaboration with other community forests and with us at UBC. Involving youth through paid summer positions is a great way to provide local job opportunities while mitigating fuels and generating a grassroots connection for public education. Leadership with the LLCF has engaged with multiple research projects at UBC, allowing us to document the barriers communities face when attempting to address wildfire risk and solutions for overcoming those barriers, which have now been shared with other Community Forests, municipalities, and First Nations communities throughout B.C.,” said Dr. Daniels. “We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with them!”

The LLCF recently applied to the FESBC 2022-23 Funding Program and has received funding for three new projects.

“There is definitely follow-up involved in these wildfire risk reduction activities; it is not a one-and-done deal and so, we will continue our work in reducing the risk of wildfires to our communities,” Mierau said. “It is great to have re-occurring funding, as we have thankfully experienced with FESBC, to support our work.”

“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, the critical work of FESBC is helping build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”

The three projects which LLCF will be undertaking through the FESBC funding are: 1) a project to develop prescriptions and treat areas near Logan Lake, creating a large landscape-level fuel break, 2) a project to complete the planning and preparation required to complete treatments along a corridor along the Coquihalla Highway to reduce the risk of human-caused ignitions from the highway, and 3) a project to finish the planning work required to complete a fuel-reduction treatment to support safer evacuation for the community at Face and Paska Lakes.

“FESBC has supported the Logan Lake Community Forest and the communities at Face, Paska, and Logan Lake since the beginning of our work, from supporting innovative and collaborative wildfire risk management planning work to the implementation of priority prescriptions and treatments. This new round of funding demonstrates that continued support,” said Spyksma.

For an interview with FESBC contact:

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221

For an interview with Logan Lake Community Forest contact:

Randy Spyksma, RPF, Manager, Logan Lake Community Forest | rspyksma@forsite.ca| 250.804.6305

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the

Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Wildfire Risk Reduction Work Amplifies Local Contractors and Opportunities

NAKUSP, B.C. – It is becoming more and more evident with every passing project that not only can a wildfire risk reduction project bring peace of mind to a community, but also has the potential for many additional benefits ranging from improving wildlife habitat to the generation of local employment. The Nakusp and Area Community Forest’s (NACFOR) wildfire risk reduction work, funded through a grant of $417,585 from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), is an example of this.

Wildfire Risk Reduction field review. Credit – Frances Swan

The goal of the project was to improve public safety and reduce the risk of catastrophic loss of infrastructure due to any future wildfires in areas with high to moderate wildfire risk, as identified in the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s (RDCK) Area ‘K’ and Nakusp 2018 Community Wildfire Protection Plans. The intention of the plan was to create a series of strategically placed fuel breaks surrounding the community of Nakusp to act as the last line of defence against an approaching wildfire.

The project, although not within the community forest tenure area but on Crown land just outside the village boundary, saw NACFOR take the lead to take on the work, with community safety at the forefront.

Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Senior Manager, said, “Nakusp and Area Community Forest has done an excellent job with the provided funding. NACFOR has taken their forest management role in this community to another level by delivering this project to reduce the wildfire risk for the residents of Nakusp.”

The FESBC-funded part of the project included two treatment areas – 30 hectares were completed in June 2022 and the remaining 2.2-hectare treatment unit will be completed next month, explained Frances Swan, RPF, Project Manager with NACFOR.

“There has been a very positive response to the completed treatment work and this area serves as a great example of wildfire risk reduction for Nakusp and area,” said Swan. “The project would not have happened without the FESBC funding.”

The treatments have reduced the ground and surface fuels that if ignited could lead to a crown fire, where the flames reach the top of the trees and fire can then spread rapidly. This work will reduce the fire intensity and rate of spread by reducing surface fuel loading which means decreasing stand density or thinning out the trees, plus also removing dead and dying ones. Access roads will allow for continued maintenance of the forest and improve suppression opportunities for firefighters needing to access the area along the highway.

“It complements the ongoing FireSmart initiatives as the areas are adjacent to the community and will be part of a series of strategically located treatment sites designed to defend the Village from wildfires,” explained Swan. “Our goal is to continue collaborating with the Village of Nakusp, RDCK, forest licensees and the Ministry of Forests to reduce the risk of wildfire in the Nakusp interface and surrounding communities.”

Another important outcome of the FESBC-funded project was to increase opportunities for local contractors.

“NACFOR is grateful that FESBC gave us room for flexibility on contractor selection and empowered us to do what was best for the environment and our communities. This meant we could amplify local contractors, create new opportunities and jobs, and contribute to the local economics of the community of Nakusp,” remarked Swan.

Given the flexibility in contractor selection, NACFOR expanded its pool of local contractors, allowing them to gain valuable experience in fuel management implementation, and provided several jobs locally.

“Being able to work on this project meant that local contractors were able to invest in specialized equipment and they are now prepared for any future wildfire risk reduction work,” Swan noted.

Gord Matchett, owner of Arrow Valley Excavating was one such contractor whose company saw tremendous growth because of the project. Matchett’s company was brought on to look after the work to thin the forest and help with wood fibre recovery, along with another contractor from Greenpeaks Resource Management.

“Getting the opportunity to be a part of this project was a good thing as it grew my business. I employed four people during this project; before, it was just me and now, I have a crew. I have been able to invest in specialized equipment which will come in handy in the future,” said Matchett.

For Matchett, it was important to be a part of the project as he believes in utilizing as much of waste wood and fibre as possible, instead of burning it in slash piles.

“People are starting to realize the need for wildfire risk reduction projects, and they see the value in thinning forests and cleaning the forest floor,” Matchett added.

In terms of numbers, Swan estimates a total of 480 person days worked for all projects under the FESBC funding (prescriptions and treatments) between June 2019 and June 2022. Nearly 90 per cent of the work was done with local contractors and consultants and prescriptions were developed for three treatment areas covering 200 hectares –approximately 374 football fields.

“It has been a great project, and feels good to be at the finish line,” remarked Swan.

Minister of Forests, Katrine Conroy, noted the importance of wildfire risk reduction work in supporting communities like Nakusp.

“We all play a role in building communities that are more resilient and adaptable to a changing climate,” said Minister Conroy. “The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a proven partner in delivering projects on the ground that protect people from wildfire risks. Their proactive work supports our vision of building a safer, more resilient future for generations to come.”

For an interview with FESBC contact: 

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221 

For an interview about Nakusp & Area Community Forest:

Frances Swan, RPF, Project Manager | fswan@truenorthforestry.com | 250.265.3656

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Kamloops This Week – 2022 National Forest Week Publication Features FESBC Projects

This year’s National Forest Week, from Sep 18 to 24, was all about celebrating Canada’s Forests and their ability to contribute to climate change.

Kamloops This Week featured several stories in their 2022 National Forest Week publication featuring FESBC projects to help celebrate National Forestry Week. These projects are an embodiment of this year’s

National Forest Week theme: Canada’s Forests: Solutions for a Changing Climate.

The FESBC stories include:

 62 Indigenous-led forestry projects in B.C. (Page 2)

Reducing fire risk, enhancing forest health (Page 3)

Technology used to restore traditional land (Page 4)

Protecting a village and creating bioenergy (Page 10)

Forestry projects aim to reduce emissions (featuring FESBC’s Executive Director, Steve Kozuki on page 12)

Partnering up to create community safety (page 14)

 Steve Kozuki, Executive Director FESBC, on site of a wildfire risk reduction project funded by FESBC where the land has been treated to be more fire resistant and has kept communities safer

For more information and media enquiries, please contact:

Forest Enhancement Society of BC

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | 250 574 0221 | communications@fesbc.ca

Reducing Wildfire Risk in Kaslo Increases Community Safety

Kaslo, B.C. – When the Kaslo & District Community Forest Society (KDCFS) first applied to obtain funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), they knew of the long-term benefits their projects would bring, but little did they imagine the many additional and immediate benefits the funding would allow for.

Schroeder Creek fuel reduction and stand conversion project with the private residence in the background. Photo Credit – Sabrina Mutterer

FESBC funding of almost $185,000 went toward three projects; a Landscape Level Wildfire Protection Plan, Schroeder Creek Forest fuel reduction and stand conversion from hemlock to more fire and climate change resistant tree species of douglas fir and larch, and the Buchanan East Access hand treatment implementation to reduce a build-up of forest fibre in the area.

Through the Landscape Level Wildfire Protection Plan (LLWP), new roads to provide access for firefighters in the event of an emergency and fuel reduction projects were identified, which helped guide forest operations for almost three years. Through the implementation projects, KDCFS helped reduce the risk of wildfire not only for the community of Kaslo but for the property of a private landowner and the community of Schroeder Creek, all by reducing fuel loading in the forests close to them. Recreation values were also further increased in the Buchanan project, with a happy private landowner benefiting from the reduced fuel loading near their residence and driveway in the Schroeder project.

Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Senior Manager, said, “FESBC is very pleased we were able to assist the Kaslo & District Community Forest with their wildfire risk planning and treatments. This work contributed to reducing the wildfire risk to the Village of Kaslo and surrounding areas, plus providing local employment, and enhancing some of the important recreation features in the community forest.”

Of the three projects that KDCFS undertook with FESBC funding, the Schroeder Creek fuel reduction/stand conversion project, which was located next to the private land where the landowner’s house had almost burned down due to wildfire in 2012, made a substantial impact on the community, explained the manager of the community forest, Jeff Reyden, RPF.

“Schroeder Creek, which is 15 kilometres north of Kaslo, is where the private landowners almost lost their house because of a wildfire. Their driveway is one way in, one way out. Most of the area had over-dense, stagnant regen growth and a lot of forest fuel on the ground due to old high-grade logging,” explained Reyden. 

In the area, the forest had been logged in the 1970s and had regrown primarily with thick, immature hemlock. High winds in recent years had blown down many trees making the forest almost impassable on foot. In some areas, dead trees were piled nearly five feet tall.

Doug Drain and Helen Hird, the landowners, watched as the wildfire spread through the cedar stand on the steep slope of their property. While the wildfire was stopped before reaching the home through the efforts of the Kaslo Fire Department and BC Wildfire Services (BCWS), a delay in deployment or a shift in the direction of the wind could have had more devastating impacts. Since the wildfire in 2012, the site had become even more dangerous and susceptible to a potential wildfire.

Post-fire, the area was evaluated and designated as Extreme Fire Risk by BC Wildfire Service (BCWS). It was after this that Sabrina Mutterer and Jeff Reyden of the KDCFS applied for and received funding for fire mitigation in the area, including the Schroeder Creek community, for which Drain and Hird are thankful.

“Fire mitigation work has had a major effect on our lives, especially our peace of mind,” explained Drain. “Over the years we have lived here, we have feared what might happen with a tossed cigarette butt along the highway below us every summer, especially on long weekends. Watching the fire mitigation work, it was apparent that had a fire started, we had absolutely no hope of escaping alive. Fire mitigation does not mean fireproof, but at least now, with preparation, we have a fighting chance or at least a safe means of orderly retreat.”

The community forest divided the area into two treatment units (TU). TU1 was more mature timber with funding for post-harvest cleanup and pile/burn. TU2 was overly dense, skinny hemlock regen which was too small to fit on a logging truck, so the contractor skidded them (a process of pulling cut trees out of a forest using heavy machinery) to a burn pile. 

Connor Robertson, from Timber Ridge Contracting pictured piling debris.
Photo Credit – Kaslo and District Community Forest

“The FESBC funding allowed us to skid these trees and burn them concurrently with harvesting. If we had to do the harvesting first while piling the debris to be burned by another contractor, the piles would have been enormous, a potential fire hazard, and difficult to work around, costing the community forest and the grant funder significantly more time and money,” said Reyden.

The area will now be planted with fire-resistant species, with reduced stocking along the driveway, to provide a more fire-safe route back to the highway.

Drain noted that the project has also enhanced wildlife habitat. “Opening up the forest has made a huge difference to the wildlife that lives here. Spring now brings a huge crop of sweet clover just about when the bears wake up. This year we had seven bears and two cubs contentedly grazing on clover for a few weeks. We have deer and elk that were never here before as there was nothing to eat,” adding that most creatures seem to be thriving post-treatment.

The work also brought employment opportunities to local contractors. Shane McKinnon, owner-operator of Timber Ridge Contracting Ltd., pointed out that the work KDCFS was doing meant a steady stream of work for his company that allowed him to add two full-time employees, as well as hire local logging truck operators. He believes the work done by KDCFS was important for the community.

“Right now, we have options and time to plan our harvesting areas and access, and we need to take advantage of this because when there’s a fire close to our community, the planning has to happen fast. Creating access around our community is important for response times, and the work KDCFS is doing is vital,” said McKinnon.

The need for creating access was highlighted recently when a wildfire broke out near Kaslo just last month. Reyden, who got an opportunity to fly with the BCWS to assess the fire situation, noted that it was a little unnerving to see how fast and far the fire spread in one evening.

“When we see fire close to our community, people want to see bombers and choppers, but due to the terrain and the way the fire was burning these actions wouldn’t have been as effective as hoped. It’s a bit of a wake-up call in that fire can affect any community and can spread rapidly under the right conditions, and the best way to fight forest fires is by having access to enable crews to action the fire,” Reyden noted.

Minister of Forests, Katrine Conroy, understands the importance of this proactive work and is pleased to see the efforts put forth by the KDCFS in collaboration with so many community members.

We have a shared responsibility to help build communities that are resilient to the impact of wildfire and climate change,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “That’s why we invested an additional $25 million through FESBC this year so that local governments, Indigenous communities, and rural communities can deliver projects that lower the risk of wildfires and the damage they can cause. The proactive work they are undertaking is alongside historic investments in Budget 2022 to transform the BC Wildfire Service into a year-round service. Our shared efforts will ensure a safer and more resilient future for all British Columbians.”

“Kaslo residents have lived with fire for over a hundred years, with old pictures of Kaslo from the turn of the century showing barren, treeless hillsides as they had all been burned,” added Reyden. “Having access to fight a forest fire is crucial, as well as a coordinated effort between stakeholders to effectively fight the fire. The funding from FESBC has been essential in getting started on these efforts.”

For an interview with FESBC contact: 

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221 

For an interview Kaslo and District Community Forest Society contact: 

Jeff Reyden, RPF, Manager | manager@kaslocommunityforest.org | 250.354.9803

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Minister of Forests Announces New Projects Funded by FESBC

Projects underway in B.C. will reduce community wildfire risk, enhance forest health

A previously funded project by FESBC with the City of Quesnel > Dragon Towers.

Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the impacts of wildfire and climate change in British Columbia.

Through a provincial investment of $25 million, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has funded 22 new community projects. This includes work to reduce wildfire risk, while enhancing wildlife habitat, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from slash pile burning, and support 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.”

Wildfire-mitigation projects funded include:

  • Clinton District Community Forest of BC Ltd., $450,870 – Treatment of 300-metre-wide fuel break adjacent to the transmission line west of Clinton. Low-grade fibre will also be recovered.
  • Elhdaqox Developments Ltd., $500,000 – Wildfire risk reduction planning and treatments to reduce the wildfire risk to the Yunesit’in Community and rehabilitate burned and beetle-affected stands that will create local employment opportunities.
  • Eniyud Community Forest Ltd., $1,500,000 – Fuel management treatments to reduce the wildfire risk from forests affected by mountain pine beetle near Horn Lake and along Tatlayoko Lake, which is a vital main access/egress route for the local residences.
  • The City of Quesnel, $529,000 – Prescriptions and treatments will be conducted on specific sites identified for wildfire risk reduction in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Treatments will include thinning, pruning and debris cleanup while promoting fibre removal and utilization
  • Chinook Community Forest, $3,000,000 – Reducing fuel loading in areas heavily impacted by mountain pine beetle, which has created a considerable fire risk to communities on the south side of Francois Lake and near Rose Lake.
  • McLeod Lake Mackenzie Community Forest, $1,401,666 – Wildfire risk-reduction treatments along Highway 39, to create a safer egress corridor on the main road to and from Mackenzie.
  • Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative, $223,125 – Planning and treatment work on priority areas identified in a community wildfire protection plan. When finished, the work will create landscape-level fuel breaks around Harrop and Procter. 
  • Kaslo and District Community Forest Society, $89,980 – Fuel treatments conducted after a harvest will fireproof a stand close to Kaslo. Low-value fibre will be fully used.
  • Kaslo and District Community Forest Society, $98,150 – A manual thinning and pruning treatment will reduce fuel loading in a well-used recreation area close to Kaslo. 
  • Kaslo and District Community Forest Society, $41,520 – Work will be planned for an area that has been identified as a fuel break in a landscape-level wildfire plan.
  • Creston Valley Forest Corporation, $1,249,825 – The goal of the project is to develop plans and treat areas within community watersheds in and around the town of Creston.
  • Shuswap Indian Band, $664,724 – The project includes planning and treatment work in an area north of the Shuswap community. Fibre from the project will be fully used.
  • Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative, $500,000 – This project will focus on completing treatments on areas identified as high priority in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan. This work will build on recently completed projects.
  • West Boundary Community Forest, $1,137,375 – This funding is for five projects focusing on treatment to reduce wildfire risk including: two addressing forest-fuel buildup using both mechanical and hand treatments; two to treat forest stands after they’ve been harvested to prevent catastrophic wildfires; and one to create a safer evacuation route for locals and those visiting the community forest.
  • Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, $60,323 – Wildfire risk reduction treatments on areas identified as priority treatment areas in their Wildfire Fire Risk Management Plan with the goal to enhance wildfire resiliency.
  • Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, $129,381 – Manual treatments on area identified in its Wildfire Risk Management Plan that will enhance the wildfire resiliency of the community forest.
  • Silver Star Property Owners Association, $474,600 – Completing a combination of hand and mechanical wildfire risk-reduction treatment to reducing the wildfire risk along the main road in and out of SilverStar Mountain Resort.
  • Lower Nicola Indian Band Development Corporation, $544,425 – Complete wildfire risk reduction treatments to reduce the wildfire risk to Steffens Estates subdivision located north of Lower Nicola Indian Band’s Mameet IR #1, approximately 17 kilometres north of Merritt on Highway 97C.
  • Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation, $746,550 – This project aims to develop prescriptions and treat areas near Logan Lake, creating a large landscape-level fuel break.
  • Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation, $127,050 – Complete planning and preparation required to complete treatments along a corridor along the Coquihalla Highway, leading to the reduction in risk to the highway, reducing the risk of human-caused ignitions from the highway spreading into surrounding forest.
  • Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation, $105,000 – Complete the planning work required to complete a fuel-reduction treatment to allow for a safer evacuation route for the community at Paska Lake.
  • Vermilion Forks Community Forest, $814,078 – A steep area close to the community of Coalmont will be thinned to create a fuel break.

“FESBC is thrilled that communities will be able to continue this important work to reduce their wildfire risk to better protect their residents and important infrastructure,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director, FESBC. “These newly funded projects take a proactive approach to reduce the risks of wildfire and many will also improve wildlife habitat, increase the health of forests so they are more resilient to climate change and use the left-over wood waste to make green energy. Achieving multiple objectives is good forest management and good value for money.”

Work has already begun and all projects are expected to be complete by March 2024. To date, approved funding from the FESBC 2022-23 Funding Program totals $14 million. Additional applications through the FESBC portal are welcome and will be accepted until the $25-million fund has been allocated.

Since 2016, FESBC has supported more than 260 projects throughout B.C. Sixty-three of these 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 slash pile burning by 2030 and will divert materials away from slash piles and into bioproduct development. This will reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, while creating new opportunities in British Columbia’s expanding forest bioeconomy.

The $25 million provided to FESBC is a component of $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.

“Through provincial investments, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC has funded critical projects to help reduce wildfire risk and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Doug Routley, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests. “Diverting materials away from slash piles not only reduces fire risk but creates new opportunities in our province’s forest economy. These projects accomplish multiple objectives to help communities be more resilient to climate change.”

A Community Forest Reduces Wildfire Risk, Increases Employment

-A local project to protect communities led by locals-

Creston, B.C. – When the heat of summer hits, the focus of many people turns to the forests and the potential threat of wildfire to communities, important infrastructure, and transportation corridors.  Taking proactive steps to mitigate the risk of wildfire can help better protect communities and bring a higher level of comfort to many, which is exactly what the Creston Community Forest (CCF) has done.

With a grant of $670,000 from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), the CCF was able to target an area on Arrow Mountain, three kilometres north of Creston B.C., to reduce the risk of wildfire to the neighbouring communities of Creston and Wynndel. The project site at Arrow Mountain, also known to locals as Goat Mountain, is popular for hiking, off roading, and hunting, and accessed by a Forest Service Road.

“We were very thoughtful in our planning and in the treatment of the area,” noted Daniel Gratton, Forest Manager of the CCF. “We opened the forested area up by taking out some of the unhealthy trees and we left a good number of trees behind. Then we had a crew come in and do the cleanup work of gathering up some of the small bushes and shrubs – called the understory – to be piled and burned.”

The project treated over 120 hectares on Arrow Mountain. Approximately 10,400 cubic metres was harvested from all seven blocks and mistletoe, infected larch, and unhealthy Douglas-fir were removed. The resulting state of the forest is now more like what would have existed when wildfires frequented the area prior to the introduction of the fire suppression programs in the early 1900s. 

Forest Manager, Daniel Gratton in completed treatment area. Photo Credit: Creston Community Forest

“A lot of people don’t know it, but wildfires used to go through the Creston Valley and through the forests every 30 to 40 years,” said Gratton. “Many of the forests we see in our area today are not what they would have been 200 years ago because we’ve removed the occurrence of wildfires. What we are trying to do now is mimic what a wildfire would do; clean up the understory, take out some of the ladder fuels, and restore the ecology of the area.”

Since completion of this project, the community forest has now identified several other blocks that need this mitigation work.

“The Creston Community Forest has taken on a leadership role in their community, taking action, reducing the risk of wildfire to the community, and doing good forest management at the same time,” said Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Senior Manager. “They are finding the balance between forest management and wildfire risk reduction activities to meet the many needs of the public in the area.”

The project also saw outstanding economic benefits to the community extending beyond wildfire protection and created a steady source of income for many locals.

“The funding from FESBC helped provide employment to at least 15 locals who were involved in the development and planning phase, and the implementation to facilitate the piling, chipping, slashing, and burning,” said Gratton.

Jim Macaulay of Macaulay Forestry Ltd. has worked in the Creston area for 27 years and was thrilled with the opportunity the project brought to his company.

“It is very good working with local licensees to be able to complete this type of work. It’s beneficial to the surrounding community as we are trying to minimize the impact if we were to have a wildfire, so it won’t be so severe,” said Macaulay, adding, “We have nine employees on the payroll right now and the project supplied us with nine to 10 months of full-time employment.”

Macaulay’s crew was involved in completing the slashing, piling, and burning on the majority of the project site and they even assisted the BC Wildfire Service, the Creston Fire Department, and the community forest on two broadcast burns, which are controlled burns that take place under specific conditions.

“We all worked very well together,” said Macaulay. “The project got different parties working together and it was fantastic!”

Another contractor working on the project was Lance Huscroft of Northspar Holdings Ltd, who also echoed the sentiments shared by Macaulay.

“It has been very enjoyable working so close to home on these projects with the community forest,” said Huscroft, who has been logging in the area for 28 years. “We’ve all appreciated being able to work so close to our homes to be close to our families, to get to town quickly for parts, and then back to the job site should something break-down. In the process, we supported local businesses for our service/parts needs and hired a local mechanic and trucking contractor. The majority of the timber was also shipped to the J.H. Huscroft sawmill in Creston.”

Summer Student, Erich Endersby standing on fully treated area.
Photo Credit: D. Gratton

For Gratton, the success of this project is defined by the areas treated and the employment of locals.

“It was extremely important to have received funding from FESBC,” concluded Gratton. “We wouldn’t have done this amount of work and in such a short period of time without it. Quite honestly, it is something that was very important to us, but economically, I don’t think we would have been able to carry out this work in these areas, so we are grateful.”

For an interview with FESBC contact: 

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221 

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Boundary’s Wildfire Risk Reduction Project a Model of Collaboration

Greenwood, B.C. – After receiving a grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) led a project to create a fuel-treated area near a popular Boundary recreational area adjacent to Jewel Lake, while also adding recreational value to the community. The project, which was undertaken in an area 20 minutes north of Greenwood, moved forward thanks to a $254,100 grant from FESBC on a 32-hectare area. The project has just wrapped up and has brought to the forefront what successful collaborative efforts can look like in B.C.’s forests. 

Example of completed wildfire risk reduction treatment in the Jewel Lake area.
Pictured are members of the community touring the prescription with RPFs from WBCF. 

“A lot of collaboration from many partners were a hallmark of this project,” said Dan Macmaster, RPF, Forest Manager of the WBCF. “The local residents were involved in the initial planning and the cleanup we are finishing up now. We had great support of BC Parks, Vaagen Fibre Canada (Vaagen), and the Osoyoos Indian Band showing what can be achieved when we work together.” 

Jewel Lake Environmental Protection Society, a local society led by residents of Jewel Lake, supported the WBCF’s vision for the project, recognizing that the Community Forest’s objective was to care for the forest and protect important infrastructure, like homes, recreational trails, and camping sites. 

“Dan, together with the forest professionals at Vaagen, involved the local residents of Jewel Lake in the development of their plans right from the start. They listened to our concerns, implemented many of our ideas, and led field trips when requested,” noted Jewel Lake resident, Randy Trerise. “The partial cutting treatment has reduced the fuel load in the forest, and we expect the treatment will improve the safety of our homes should a wildfire take place in the future.”

The Osoyoos Indian Band provided post-harvest treatment work, which included contributing to parts of the mechanical and manual treatment activities.

“Vaagen and the West Boundary Community Forest involved our Band in all aspects of planning and mitigation work. Our forestry team assisted with the manual treatments needed to ensure the area was protected in the future from a major wildfire,” noted Vern Louie, Forest Manager, Osoyoos Indian Band.

The Band was also involved in the initial work and design of the project itself. 

“It was a very strong effort by the West Boundary Community Forest, to meet the goal to reduce the wildfire risk to the community while collaborating and addressing recreational and other aesthetic values in the forest,” noted Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Senior Manager. “From the start, it was all about collaboration and they showed openness and great leadership in realizing the important outcomes of the project.”

For the project itself, fuel mitigation was the key objective. Over the years, the area had seen major accumulation of blowdown and dead standing trees, increasing the risk of a wildfire spreading rapidly through the area. 

“This is in an area that is on the Southern tip of our province and it’s an area of hot dry weather,” said Pratt. “The forest type in the area is very susceptible to wildfire and this project has decreased the likelihood of a devastating impact from a wildfire to the community surrounding Jewel Lake. 

Another major challenge for the area was the fuel accumulation around a single access road for residents and visitors in and out of the area. 

“Because of the ‘one road in, one road out’ predicament, our focus was to prioritize the reduction of wildfire risk immediately closest to the houses and the road,” said Macmaster. “By doing this work, we can buy more time for residents to get out and firefighters to come in if there is a fire. None of this would have been possible without the funding from FESBC.”

The area was also enhanced and made safer for visitors who frequent the area for camping, fishing, hiking, etc. 

“In that entire area, there are all kinds of recreational trails the public cares strongly about. So, we are not only maintaining, but improving that recreational infrastructure with new trails, new signage, and interpretive signs to teach people about the local plants, trees, and wildlife,” added Macmaster. 

In total, the community forest was able to remove 40 loads of small-diameter logs and pulp, which would have otherwise been burned, but instead was sold to local mills. The project also relied heavily on the local workforce with approximately 20 people involved through all stages, a boost to the local economy. And while the initially funded project’s objectives have been met, the WBCF will now continue maintaining the area.

“Just the sheer volume of fuel that had accumulated in the area, was why we needed FESBC to be involved, as we needed the financial support to help us clean up the area,” noted Macmaster. “We are proud that, moving forward, we will continue adding on to the work we were able to do with the FESBC funding.”

For an interview with FESBC contact: Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221 

For an interview West Boundary Community Forest contact: Dan Macmaster, Forest Manager | dmacmaster@vaagen.ca | 250.528.0344

About FESBC: the purposes of FESBC are to advance environmental and resource stewardship of B.C.’s forests by: preventing and mitigating the impact of wildfires; improving damaged or low-value forests; improving habitat for wildlife; supporting the use of fibre from damaged and low-value forests; and treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases. As of March 2021, FESBC has supported 269 projects valued at $238 million, in partnership with the governments of B.C. and Canada.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Province provides update on wildfire season, latest seasonal outlook

Minister Katrine Conroy hosts the BC wildfire outlook and preparedness update

British Columbians can expect a transition to warmer and dryer conditions in July, signalling an increase in overall wildfire risk and fire danger ratings as the season progresses.

As shown in the BC Wildfire Service’s latest seasonal outlook, current wildfire activity is minimal and concentrated in the northern half of the province, where recent rainfall has been minimal. Cool and wet conditions through June in the southern half of the province have tempered overall fire activity.

Watch the BC wildfire outlook and preparedness update with Minister Katrine Conroy

To help protect British Columbians from wildfires, applications are open for $25 million for community projects that reduce the risk of wildfires. The Province is providing the funding to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).

“Last year, we saw just how devastating fire season can be to communities and how critical it is to invest in wildfire prevention,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “Cultural and prescribed burning and forest thinning are proven approaches to reduce wildfire risks. I recently visited Williams Lake and saw firsthand how the Forest Enhancement Society of BC is working with its partners to deliver projects like these and help build more resilient communities.”

The Province’s investment in FESBC supports community projects that reduce wildfire risk and enhance wildlife habitat, greenhouse gas reduction, forest recreation and ecological resiliency.

Projects include:

  • harvesting and removing beetle- or fire-damaged trees to reduce wildfire risk and rehabilitate the land base;
  • thinning trees, removing underbrush, pruning trees and other fuel management techniques; and
  • the creation of emergency wildfire escape routes for communities.

FESBC has supported 263 projects throughout B.C., and 43 of these projects have been in partnership with First Nations. These projects have reduced wildfire risk in 120 communities and have created approximately 2,200 jobs.

“Working with local communities to reduce their wildfire risks makes a lot of sense, because they know how to manage their forests to achieve numerous co-benefits to create win-win projects,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director, FESBC. “They are not only protecting their communities, but at the same time with the same funding, they also enhance wildlife habitat, create recreation opportunities, increase ecological resiliency of forests, use the biomass to make green energy, and more.”

The $25 million provided to FESBC is a component of $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.

This is the largest investment in the history of the wildfire service and is helping to transform the BC Wildfire Service into a year-round service, shifting from its reactive mode to a more proactive approach. It will enable the BC Wildfire Service to focus on all four pillars of wildfire management: prevention and mitigation; preparedness; response; and recovery.

Quick Facts:

  • FESBC is a Crown agency established in 2016 to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by:
    • preventing wildfires and mitigating wildfire impacts;
    • improving damaged or low-value forests;
    • improving wildlife habitat;
    • supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests; and
    • treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases.

Learn More:

Read more about the July Wildfire Seasonal Outlook: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/wildfire-situation/fire-weather  

BC Wildfire Service mobile app:

Apple (iOS), download directly from the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bc-wildfire-service/id1477675008?ls=1

Android, download directly from the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.bc.gov.WildfireInformation&hl=en

Read more about the FireSmart program and the seven FireSmart disciplines at: https://firesmartbc.ca/

Forest Enhancement Society of BC: https://www.fesbc.ca/

Lower Nicola Indian Band Creating Community Safety through Partnerships

MERRITT, B.C.— With the support of close to $250,000 in funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), the Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB) removed dangerous trees and reduced wildfire risk in two areas close to the city of Merritt, BC.

The two locations border the edge of both Merritt and the Lower Nicola Indian Band Reserve Lands. Lindley Creek is located south of the Nicola River, south of Lower Nicola; and Fox Farm is located on the north side of the Coquihalla highway just east of Merritt on Fox Farm Road.

Crews from Shulus Forest Enterprises Inc., a company owned 100 per cent by the LNIB, did all the manual treatments of these sites including tree pruning, spacing, falling, bucking, piling, and burning, covering about 20 hectares at Lindley Creek and 11 hectares at Fox Farm.

Bruce Morrow, RPF, Bruce Morrow Forest Consulting Ltd., who submitted the application for funding to FESBC on behalf of LNIB, noted that the project was important because forest fuel treatments will make the area safer for wildfire suppression crews accessing the area in the event of a wildfire.

“Spacing of trees to reduce crown closure, pruning to remove ladder fuels to reduce the risk of crown fires, and reducing the amount and continuity of ground fuels will all contribute to reducing wildfire risk, and allow wildfire crews to respond faster,” said Morrow.

The Fox Farm community is located halfway up a steep hillside. The forested area below has been subject to wildfire suppression for over 60 years, resulting in a significant accumulation of dead and downed fuels.

“About 40 per cent of the trees were dead standing or lying on the ground ready to burn, creating a high fire hazard for a one-way in, one-way out community,” said Morrow. “We created a situation where hopefully a fire in the area will now move along the ground instead of through the crown. This will make it easier to fight and reduce the risk of structure loss from ember spotting onto the nearby houses from a crown fire.” 

Don Gossoo, General Manager, Lower Nicola Indian Band Development Corporation (LNIBDC) said the crews employed an average of six people from the community who are trained in the use of hand tools for this type of forestry work.

“The work at the Fox Farm area was done downslope of several large properties adjacent to the Coquihalla Hwy. where someone could toss out a lit cigarette etc. The residents there were happy to see the work done,” said Gossoo.

“Lindley Creek is a corridor from the forest down to the valley where there are more houses,” noted Morrow. “The local winds and topography create a funnel in the Lindley Creek drainage, which can push wildfires downslope toward the homes at the bottom of the treatment area.”

Similar work being done in the area on reserve land and adjacent Crown land is being funded through the Community Resiliency Investment Program and the Cascades Resource District. Morrow noted the project is a great example of collaboration and cooperation in recognizing an issue and working together to protect the community.

“We are leaving behind a much happier forest ecosystem. Dry belt trees compete for moisture and nutrients and the trees there were competing for these and weakening each other. The trees left behind are healthier and more resilient to drought, pests, and weather because there’s less competition.”

Gossoo described it as taking a stagnant coniferous jungle and turning it into parkland, adding nutrients, sunlight, and moisture to the stand.

“This type of project provides socioeconomic benefits to the community through employment opportunities, and an environmental benefit in improving overall forest health.”

Stu Jackson, Chief of the Lower Nicola Indian Band said projects like this one have multiple benefits to the community.

“They provide employment opportunities, improve safety, and help support healthy forests. We look forward to more partnership opportunities like this which enhance communities overall.”

Gord Pratt, FESBC Operations Manager, highlighted the importance of completing this work in support of addressing high-risk areas identified by Merritt’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan and the BC Wildfire Service.

“This is a multi-benefit proposal to the community, the forest, and the area as a whole,” said Pratt. “This project aligns with FESBC purposes, provides employment, and is exactly what we want to support in terms of rural communities working to implement wildfire risk reduction projects.”

The project also had the full support of the local Resource District and BC Wildfire Service. FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

For an interview with FESBC contact: 

Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca| 250.574.0221

For an interview with the Lower Nicola Indian Band Development Corporation contact:  Don Gossoo, General Manager | don.gossoo@lnibdc.com | 250.315.9277

FESBC Awarded $25 Million in Funding to Help Protect Communities from Wildfire Risk

British Columbia: With $25 million in new funding from the provincial government, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is launching its FESBC 2022-2023 Funding Program today. FESBC will be accepting applications to fund projects that will assist the Province of British Columbia in reducing wildfire risk and increasing community resiliency to wildfire across B.C.

“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, this new funding for FESBC will help build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”

Steve Kozuki, RPF, FESBC Executive Director, explained what this funding would mean for the work undertaken by FESBC to reduce wildfire risk throughout the province, and said that it was encouraging to see more people realizing the benefits of protecting communities from wildfire risk.

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is thrilled with the funding announcement, and we are looking forward to seeing applications for projects focused on reducing wildfire risk throughout the province,” said Kozuki. 

FESBC has previously helped to reduce wildfire risk in 120 communities across the province. 

Many of these projects have also gone above and beyond the primary objective of reducing wildfire risk and have identified additional outcomes that have proven beneficial to communities.

“Our favourite wildfire risk reduction projects not only reduce the risk of wildfire but also improve wildlife habitat, create recreation trails, increase the health of the forest so they are more resilient to climate change, and use the left-over biomass or wood waste to make green energy,” noted Kozuki. “Achieving multiple objectives is good forest management and good value for money.”

When it comes to wildfire risk reduction work, typically, communities will start by creating a wildfire risk reduction plan. The plan identifies infrastructure and priorities that need to be protected such as homes, buildings, water, power, communications towers, safe gathering places, escape routes, etc. Next, areas of risk are identified; oftentimes, these can be thicker or more dense forests near communities that might throw embers into the air if the forest catches on fire during a drought. 

Then, after consulting with the citizens and considering other values such as wildlife habitat, recreational amenities, visual aesthetics, climate change, and so on, treatment prescriptions are written by forest professionals. FESBC funds all of these project activities from start to finish.

“In our five-year history, we have helped Indigenous communities, municipalities, regional districts, woodlots, and community forests take action to protect their communities from wildfire,” said Kozuki. 

This year, successful applicants will receive funding to undertake activities that fall under at least one of the three criteria: 

  • Wildfire Risk Reduction planning and treatment prescription development
  • Wildfire Risk Reduction treatments
  • Recovery and utilization of low-value residual fibre resulting from wildfire risk reduction treatments funded by FESBC

Gord Pratt, RPF, FESBC Senior Manager said, “The primary purpose of our work is to assist the Province in reducing the wildfire risks to the people of B.C.”

A document with details on the application process, eligibility criteria and a step-by-step guide on next steps is available on the FESBC website, titled FESBC 2022-23 Funding Program Guide.

FESBC will host a virtual information session that will guide proponents on the criteria FESBC wants to see in the applications, as well as on the steps that need to be taken to put together an application through the online portal. 

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC wants all good projects to succeed, and the information session will help people get the information they need to enable them to submit excellent proposals for our consideration,” said Pratt. “The information session is there to help them be successful.”

For those who cannot attend the information session, a recording will be available to view on FESBC’s website the following day or by contacting FESBC Communications Liaison, Aleece Laird, at communications@fesbc.ca 

FESBC 2022 – 2023 Funding Program Information Session

When: June 28, 2022 at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time) 

Where: Online, via Zoom

To register for the information session, please visit: bit.ly/FESBCFunding 

Applications will be accepted through the Forest Enhancement Society Information Management System (FESIMS) starting on June 20, 2022. The on-line FESIMS portal will remain open for applications until all the funds have been allocated. Proposal evaluations will begin July 11, 2022. Funding applications will be required to clearly demonstrate that all activities under the proposal will be fully completed and invoiced by March 15, 2024. Interested proponents are encouraged to visit www.fesbc.ca and to click the Applying for Funding tab for details on how to apply through the FESIMS system.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

For an interview with FESBC contact: Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison | communications@fesbc.ca | 250.574.0221 

About FESBC: the purposes of FESBC are to advance environmental and resource stewardship of B.C.’s forests by: preventing and mitigating the impact of wildfires; improving damaged or low-value forests; improving habitat for wildlife; supporting the use of fibre from damaged and low-value forests; and treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases. As of March 2021, FESBC has supported 269 projects valued at $238 million, in partnership with governments of B.C. and Canada.

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Province provides funding to reduce community wildfire risks, enhance forest health

To reduce wildfires in higher-risk communities, the B.C. government is providing $25 million in new funding to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).

This investment will support community projects that reduce wildfire risk and enhance wildlife habitat, greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, forest recreation and ecological resiliency. Applications for this funding will open on Monday, June 20, 2022.

“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, this new funding for FESBC will help build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”

FESBC has supported 263 projects throughout B.C., and 43 of these projects have been in partnership with First Nations. These projects have reduced wildfire risk in 120 communities and have created about 2,200 full-time-equivalent jobs, among other outcomes.

“Our government is working together with First Nations and local communities to reduce the risk of wildfires so we’re better prepared for climate change,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “This investment is an important part of our upcoming Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy to support more resilient communities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide job opportunities for people. By increasing actions, such as cultural and prescribed burning, we’re using powerful tools that can help reduce wildfire risk and improve ecosystem health.”

Since 2017, FESBC has funded the use of 4.8 million cubic metres of wood fibre that otherwise would have been burned in slash piles or abandoned. The combined GHG benefits of FESBC fibre use, tree planting and fertilization projects is 5.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent sequestered or avoided, which has the same GHG benefit as taking 1.1 million cars off the road for a year.

“Many Indigenous communities, municipalities, regional districts, woodlots and community forests have taken action in the last few years to protect their communities from wildfire,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director, FESBC. “They reduced the risk of extreme wildfire near buildings, communications infrastructure, water supply, power, safe place, and emergency escape routes. This funding will enable more communities to do this important work.”

As part of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, the Province will work toward near elimination of slash-pile burning by 2030 and will increasingly divert materials away from slash piles and into bioproduct development. This will reduce air pollution and GHG emissions, while creating new economic opportunities.

The $25 million provided to FESBC is a component of $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. This is the largest investment in the history of the wildfire service and is helping to transform the BC Wildfire Service into a year-round service, shifting from its reactive mode to a more proactive approach. This will enable the BC Wildfire Service to focus on all four pillars of wildfire management: prevention and mitigation; preparedness; response; and recovery.

Learn More: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022FOR0038-000957