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.

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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B.C. Forestry Workers are Climate Change Heroes

~Acknowledging the Women and Men Taking Action on Climate Change~

BRITISH COLUMBIA: Climate change is a concern for many people around the world. In British Columbia, there are local people throughout the province taking action on climate change through their work in forestry. A new video is being released by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) during National Forest Week (Sept 19 – 25). It highlights nature-based forestry solutions that people in B.C.’s forestry sector are implementing to take action on climate change.

“Our goal was to provide an educational video to help British Columbians better understand the important role of forestry to help in the achievement of British Columbia’s and Canada’s climate change targets,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, Executive Director of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. “We also wanted to acknowledge and recognize people from First Nations, industry, community forests, and others who are doing innovative forestry work which is often unseen.”

When it comes to climate change, the video outlines two main approaches we can make: adapt or take action.

“One approach to tackle climate change is to adapt to increases in drought, wildfires, flooding, and other extreme weather occurrences,” said Kozuki. “We could as a society learn to adapt.”

The second approach is taking action to prevent, or at least limit, further climate change.

“To do that,” noted Kozuki, “We need to improve the management of greenhouse gases. International carbon accounting standards recognize that forestry helps mitigate climate change which makes our forests the biggest nature-based tool we have. The government of British Columbia has climate scientists and expert carbon modellers on staff who evaluate projects for potential greenhouse gas benefits and carbon expenditures to determine how much net benefit there will be.”

The video describes nature-based forestry solutions, including fertilization of trees and reducing the burning of wood waste after harvesting. Another solution is planting trees, a collaborative program with the Office of the Chief Forester which saw a significant number of trees planted throughout the province.

“FESBC was pleased to collaborate to help plant 70 million trees in the span of 5 years,” said Kozuki. “Many of these trees were planted in areas following natural disasters such as insect epidemics or catastrophic wildfires. The science tells us that reforestation is a significant way we can help mitigate climate change, and we have many in the forest industry to thank for that work.”

To see the video, visit https://bit.ly/ClimateChangeHeroes

For an interview with FESBC regarding nature-based forestry solutions to take action on climate change, contact:

Forest Enhancement Society of BC
Aleece Laird, Communications Liaison
Direct: 250 574 0221 | communications@fesbc.ca