Executive Director’s Newsletter Sep. 2022

We have developed this monthly newsletter to curate the good news stories we share throughout the province featuring FESBC-funded projects which are generating excellent economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Stories are shared in collaboration with our project partners to highlight the exceptional work happening in our forests to reduce wildfire riskenhance wildlife habitattake action on climate change, and more.

Read this month’s Executive Director’s Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest newsletter in your inbox every month!

Watch FESBC’s Executive Director Steve Kozuki talk about the 2022 Accomplishments Report on Vimeo.

Faces of Forestry: Kirsteen Laing

Faces of Forestry is an initiative of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to highlight people doing great work to enhance our forests throughout British Columbia. This month, we feature Kirsteen Laing, RPF (Registered Professional Forester), Administrator at Seaton Forest Products Ltd.

Born in England, Kirsteen originally moved to Vancouver with her family at the age of 10. Where she later decided to pursue higher education at the University of British Columbia, and after two years of pre-med school, she discovered that her true passion was in the outdoors.

“I decided medicine wasn’t for me, so I went to talk to one of the forestry professors. He was enthusiastic and told me of all the possibilities found in forestry. I entered the program thinking I would do Forest Recreation, but I ended up in Forest Silviculture,” remarked Kirsteen.

In the early stages of her career, Kirsteen joined CUSO International and worked as a forester in Mozambique. During her stay, she first worked for a national logging company and then for a plantation, where she gained experience revitalizing a nursery.

“It was a forester’s dream to have our own little forest to work with. The project was fascinating because it covered beekeeping, fishkeeping, planting orchards, and vegetable gardening,” said Kirsteen.

In 1986, Kirsteen decided to relocate to Smithers, British Columbia, where she started a forestry consulting firm. After many career changes, in 2015, Kirsteen met her partner Andy Thompson and joined Seaton Forest Products Ltd.; as an Administrator in charge of payroll, payables and receivables, log deliveries, product shipping, reporting and various hands-on tasks.

Seaton Forest Products Ltd. is nestled among coastal mountains in the beautiful Bulkley Valley, where the mill sits at the foot of Seaton Mountain. The company has been in business since 2016, employing approximately 25 people, the majority being from local Indigenous communities. The primary business is processing dry balsam, pine, and spruce that cannot be used by traditional mills and historically has been left in the bush or burned, ensuring the 100% utilization of fibre.

During her career, Kirsteen has done it all. From working for industry, volunteering overseas, consulting, working for not-for-profits, and now working at a sawmill. She describes her career as a rewarding journey. In every role Kirsteen excels at, she puts other people and the environment first.

“Forestry is a very diverse field with many different career paths to choose from after graduation,” remarked Kirsteen.

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.

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.

Executive Director’s Newsletter Jul. 2022

We have developed this monthly newsletter to curate the good news stories we share throughout the province featuring FESBC-funded projects which are generating excellent economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Stories are shared in collaboration with our project partners to highlight the exceptional work happening in our forests to reduce wildfire riskenhance wildlife habitattake action on climate change, and more.

Read this month’s Executive Director’s Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest newsletter in your inbox every month!

Watch the Seeding Innovation in Forestry video on Vimeo.

Faces of Forestry: Frances Swan

Faces of Forestry is an initiative of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to highlight people doing great work to enhance our forests throughout British Columbia. This month, we feature Frances Swan, RPF, Operations Forester for Nakusp and Area Community Forest.

Frances has deep roots in the Kootenay region and has called Nakusp her home since 1997. Her appreciation for forestry and love for the community have always been fundamental parts of her life.

“Looking back, I can appreciate that my dad was a forester and inherently understood the concept of sustainable management long before it became practice, so it was easy to follow in his footsteps,” said Frances.

Frances then completed a Diploma of Forest Technology from Selkirk College, a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Northern British Columbia and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management from Royal Roads University.

Frances is the Operations Manager of Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR). In her role, she manages a broad range of strategic and operational projects and supports PR and communications strategies.

Since 2008, NACFOR has operated successfully as a BC corporation owned by the Village of Nakusp and is part of the BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA). Its operations are contracted, primarily with local contractors, and have delivered numerous benefits to the local community.

As an RFP with more than 20 years of project management experience in the natural resource sector, Frances has worked with FESBC as the recipient lead on several projects in Nakusp. Frances and the team at NACFOR have been able to deliver projects focused on wildfire risk reduction treatments and fibre utilization.

“Working with FESBC has been a very positive experience. Through direct and leveraged funding, FESBC has supported NACFOR to take a collaborative approach to reduce the threat of wildfires, while building local capacity to carry out fuel treatments,” said Frances.

During her career in forestry, Frances has volunteered with many local and regional organizations, from ski coaching to economic development. As the community forest manager, she combines resource stewardship with local land-use decision-making that reflects community priorities and values. Frances currently sits on the BCCFA Board of Directors.

“Forest management is a complex process, with many moving parts. It requires a thoughtful, balanced approach to land and resource use, as decisions made today will have enduring outcomes,” said Frances.

Celebrating 134 B.C. Forestry Projects Taking Action on Climate Change

-A Review of Projects Supported by the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund-

British Columbia – In a report released today, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has published information on the stunning outcomes of the Province’s $150 million investment under the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund (LCELF), showcasing the tremendous progress made through this fund toward the Government of Canada’s targets under the Paris Agreement.

In 2017, the Provincial government deployed $150 million of its $290 million in funding from the federal government to FESBC, as a part of the federal government’s made-in-Canada climate plan. The LCELF is an important part of the plan and leveraged investments in projects that generated clean growth and reduced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. 

Minister Katrine Conroy on a field trip in Williams Lake.
Pictured are (LtoR) Ken Day, Brian Banfill, Katrine Conroy, and Jim Snetsinger.

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a proven partner that delivers on-the-ground forestry projects that protect people and communities from wildfires,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “Our investment in sustainable and innovative forestry projects strengthens our ability to prepare and adapt to the impacts of climate change that put our forests and communities at risk. I recently visited Williams Lake and saw firsthand how the Forest Enhancement Society of BC is working with its partners to improve forest health, reduce carbon emissions, and protect BC communities.”

Provincial Forest Carbon Reforestation Project. Photo: Mike Madill

Through the LCELF funding, FESBC provided grants to 134 projects throughout the province to create 1,300+ full time-equivalent jobs*, plant 66 million trees*, and sequester approximately 4.2 million tonnes of CO2e by 2050*, which is equivalent to 904,000** gasoline-powered vehicles off the road for one year. Through these projects, FESBC met the target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the forest sector and increase the capture of carbon through the restoration of forests damaged by disease, insects, and wildfire, under B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan.

The report highlights nine of the projects, examples of tree planting, fertilization, and increased utilization of wood waste.

“We are in alignment with the Province of BC, the Government of Canada, and the United Nations in recognizing that forestry is a significant nature-based tool we can use to take meaningful action against climate change,” said Steve Kozuki, Executive Director, FESBC. “This report showcases the impactful work undertaken by our project partners and the long-term benefits that these projects will bring to the province.”

To read the full report, follow this link: bit.ly/TakeActiononClimateChange

*with LCELF Funding since 2016 **SOURCE: calculation-greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator (US Environmental Protection Agency)

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.

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.

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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Accomplishments Update Highlights – 14 New FESBC Projects Throughout B.C.

Kamloops, B.C.: From the Province’s $1.5 billion StrongerBC For Everyone: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) received $3 million and funded 14 forestry projects throughout the province to increase the utilization of wood fibre creating many positive benefits.

“Projects funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC address a number of environmental, social, and economic priorities of British Columbians,” said Jim Snetsinger, RPF, FESBC board chair. “Forest enhancement projects achieve social, environmental, and economic aspirations of British Columbians. Investing in forests reduces our carbon footprint, reduces wildfire risks, enhances wildlife habitat, and creates jobs. It’s a win-win-win on all fronts.”

Moe MacLean is the scaler for All West Trading Ltd. where NorthPac is taking their logs.

The $3 million in funding helped to sustain approximately 100 forestry jobs this past winter to utilize wood fibre that is normally left behind after logging and burned in slash piles.

“Upon receiving word of the allocation, our team moved quickly to prepare and announce its seventh intake for funding applications,” said Snetsinger. “We were delighted with the quality and innovation shown in the proposals. It demonstrates the significant role the forestry sector plays in our province’s broader economic recovery, while at the same time helping to achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets.”

Codie Long, 3rd generation owner of Longs Logging Terrace, B.C. and Rich-Seymour, Operations Manager, Kitselas Forestry LP

In total, FESBC approved funding for 14 projects which have just been completed as of March 31, 2021.

LocationProject PartnerFESBC-Funding*
Boston BarInterwest Timber Ltd$13,000
ChetwyndDuz Cho Logging Ltd.$300,000
ClintonArrow Transportation Systems Inc$720,748
Fraser LakeThe Corporation of the Village of Fraser Lake$100,818
HazeltonNorthPac Forestry Group Ltd.$279,749
MassetHusby Forest Products$61,750
MackenzieEast Fraser Fiber$294,000
MerrittValley Carriers Ltd.$416,029
NazkoCariboo Pulp & Paper$134,897
PrincetonWestwood Fibre Resources Ltd.$6,000
SmithersPinnacle Renewable Energy Inc.$133,745
TerraceWestland Resources Limited$256,561
Williams LakeAtlantic Power (Williams Lake) Ltd.$199,603
Williams LakeElhdaqox Developments Ltd.$83,100
*approved FESBC-funding as of March 2021

The 14 projects sustained an estimated 100 forestry jobs to utilize about 233,000 cubic metres of wood fibre (approximately 4,600 truckloads) this past winter and the projects are estimated to help avoid 65,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking 13,000 cars off the road for a year.

Maverick Mueller, long-time Mackenzie resident and second generation logger, member of the Tsilqot’in First Nation

“Our Accomplishments Update report highlights these projects and the good work happening in B.C. forests,” said Steve Kozuki, RPF, FESBC executive director. “Our report also features the people behind the projects. It is our opportunity to broadly share with British Columbians the good work not often seen or understood by non-foresters. As we like to say, in B.C. climate change heroes can often be found in the forest wearing hard hats.” 

Read the full FESBC Accomplishments Update

For more information or to arrange an interview with FESBC:

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

Three generations working in the grinding industry. From left to right: Mike Kilba, Benton Kilba, and Greg Kilba
Grinding work of residual wood fibre from harvesting operations in the Wells Gray Community Forest – G. Brcko photo

Cariboo Wildfire Risk Reduction Project Nears Completion

Big Bar Lake, B.C. – Zanzibar Holdings Ltd. and the community of Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (St-wet-lem hight-lem) (SXFN) have partnered to reduce wildfire risk to the rural communities of Big Bar Lake with funding support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).

FESBC provided close to $625,000 toward two projects in the Cariboo region, both of which are nearing completion and are focused on reducing wildfire risk in forested areas near Big Bar Lake, which is located approximately 40 kilometres west of Clinton, B.C. The areas were identified as priorities for wildfire risk mitigation by the 100 Mile House Resource District.

The joint project with SXFN (formerly Dog Creek Indian Band & Canoe Creek Indian Band) has provided employment for local crews for the last two years. Crews have been creating a series of landscape-level fuel breaks to help reduce the intensity and rate of spread of any approaching wildfire and provide a safer point of attack for firefighters if a wildfire occurs. The treatments include:

  • removing accumulations of forest fuels (e.g. wood waste, vegetation and other flammable material)
  • decreasing the number of trees
  • pruning other trees, from the ground up to shoulder height, to remove “ladder fuels” (e.g. low branches that could allow a fire to spread into treetops)
  • clearing away ground fuels by gathering them into piles and burning them

“There is tremendous potential for a significant wildfire to come through the area close to the community of Big Bar Lake,” said Bill Layton, RPF, senior forester with Zanzibar Holdings Ltd. “Depending on a fire’s behaviour and the site conditions, the fuel breaks that we’re working on would do a lot to stop a fire’s progress from the northwest and southeast.”

The width of the fuel breaks ranges from 100 to 300 metres in strategic areas around Big Bar Lake, and they total more than three kilometres in length.

“Wildfire risk mitigation treatments are quite intensive and can be very costly. FESBC funding is critical to being able to complete this work.”

BILL LAYTON, RPF, SENIOR FORESTER, ZANZIBAR HOLDINGS LTD.

The Big Bar Lake area is a relatively dry and cool ecosystem with stands ranging from even-aged juvenile pine to multi-layered Douglas-fir dominated forest with dense understory. Future treatments such as low-intensity prescribed burns or cutting of new growth will be required in the area to ensure the objectives of the fuel break are maintained.

“These projects are a great example of proponents working with their partners and staff from the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District to help protect a rural community from the threat of a wildfire, to support the District in achieving its wildfire risk mitigation priorities, and to provide employment opportunities to local forestry workers,” said Ray Raatz, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “This project is a triple win for British Columbians as it has helped create positive social impacts, employment, and greater resiliency in one of our most significant natural resources: our forests.”

To Arrange an Interview with FESBC or Zanzibar Holdings Ltd.:

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

Sarah Fraser Appointed to FESBC Board

KAMLOOPS, B.C.: The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Fraser to the Board of Directors.

Sarah is currently the A/Assistant Deputy Minister, Rural Opportunities, Tenures and Engineering Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. She is responsible for a diverse portfolio including strategic and operational policies that relate to authorizing disposition of Crown land and forest tenures, sale of high value Crown land, and remediation of Crown contaminated sites.

The FESBC Board is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of the Society, and reviews and approves annual operating plans and budgets, including the proposed forest enhancement projects.

“Sarah’s extensive background and experience in economic development and community transition support programs will be a benefit to the important strategic decisions we make as Board members for the benefit of British Columbians. Her background in public service working to further rural policy and programs will certainly strengthen our organization and our FESBC Board and staff are pleased to welcome Sarah to the team.”

-Jim Snetsinger, RFP, FESBC Board Chair

Fraser is equally enthused to join the Board:

“I am excited to join FESBC to further the important work of the Society,” said Fraser. “FESBC has been a leader and an agent of action, funding projects which help fight climate change, reduce wildfire risk, and build future timber supply. The innovative work is done in consideration of social, environmental, and economic benefits for Indigenous peoples and communities and am pleased to lend my knowledge and experience.”

-Sarah Fraser

For More Information:

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

FESBC Launches its 2020 Accomplishments Report

250 Reasons Why B.C.’s Forests are Better Today

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has launched its 2020 Accomplishments Report to coincide with Canada’s National Forest Week “healthy forests, healthy future” celebrations. There are two-hundred and fifty FESBC-funded projects throughout British Columbia featured in the Accomplishments Report. These projects were proposed by First Nations, woodlot owners, community forests, and many others to enhance B.C.’s forests for today and generations to come.

“FESBC is helping many communities in B.C.,” said Steve Kozuki, Executive Director of FESBC. “We are putting $233 million in the hands of local experts for projects across the province to reduce wildfire risks to protect people and communities, to enhance wildlife habitat, to improve low value and damaged forests, to re-plant damaged forests, and to use waste wood that otherwise would have been slash burned.”

The 36-page Report not only outlines the 250 projects by their purposes, ie: wildfire risk reduction, but also features projects by community so British Columbians can at a glance see the projects that have occurred, or are occurring, in their own backyard.

“These projects are taking action to improve not only the health of our environment but are also creating many social and economic benefits for the people and communities where these projects are occurring.”

Steve Kozuki, Executive Director, FESBC

Since the inception of the government agency in 2016, FESBC has generated significant benefits from the 250 projects including:

  • The creation of 2,124 full time equivalent jobs
  • $357 million in economic activity created from the $233 million investment
  • 60 projects led by First Nations plus 22 with significant First Nations involvement

“With support from the governments of B.C. and Canada, FESBC has been enabling others to reduce greenhouse gases, protect communities from wildfire, improve wildlife habitat, and create jobs for British Columbians,” said Jim Snetsinger, FESBC Board Chair and former Chief Forester for the Province of BC. “This work generates immense social, economic, and environmental benefits, now and into the future.”

Although FESBC is immensely proud of the progress, Kozuki acknowledges there is much more to be done.

“FESBC is well-positioned to continue the successful delivery of a carefully crafted program of initiatives that serve the needs of British Columbians. With so many people in every community committed to forest enhancement, there is no doubt we will achieve our shared vision of enhanced forest resilience for the lasting benefit of B.C.’s environment, wildlife, forest health, and communities.”

View the 2020 Accomplishments Report here:

2020 Accomplishments Report

For More Information or Media Interviews:

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