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.”
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 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
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.”
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.