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.”
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 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
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.”
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.