Peachland, B.C.: the Syilx Territory and the Thompson-Okanagan Region have historically been maintained by fire events, but active fire suppression tactics have led to vegetation ingrowth and extreme fuel loading throughout Syilx Territory, a territory covering approximately 69,000 square kilometres. Combined with climate change, fire suppression has led to longer, more intense, and more destructive wildfire seasons and a less resilient forest ecosystem. A collaborative project has local First Nations, industry, the Provincial government, and the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) working together to develop solutions to benefit and protect all citizens, wildlife habitat, ecosystem functioning, and cultural values of the land.

“The Syilx territory is a diverse and beautiful landscape of deserts, lakes, forests, and endangered grasslands with the highest concentration of rare and threatened species in British Columbia,” said Cailyn Glasser, Biologist for Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA). “This project is the product of collaboration between local First Nations Penticton Indian Band and ONA, Gorman Brothers Ltd. (GBL), the Provincial government, and FESBC. Our objectives were to reduce wildfire risk, increase forest stand values, protect ecological values, and enhance cultural resource values.”

Recently, representatives from GBL, FESBC, the Syilx territory, ONA, and the Provincial government were on site for a field tour to see the work that has taken place.