Slocan Community Forest releases wildfire protection plan

The Slocan Integral Forestry Co-operative, the community forest based in the Slocan Valley, has released its wildfire protection plan.

Among other things

The Slocan Integral Forestry Co-operative, the community forest based in the Slocan Valley, has released its wildfire protection plan.

“To effectively protect rural areas in BC we need a landscape-level approach rather than a piecemeal one in order to really make a difference,” says manager Stephan Martineau. “Strategically located fuel managed zones are required so we can create large defendable fuel breaks. For the past few years we have been working on a plan to identify these zones and a methodology that can be replicated in other areas. As far as we are aware, we are the first tenure holder in the province to create such a plan.”

“With increasing climate change, we expect more fires in most of BC,” says forestry supervisor Tom Bradley. “We also expect the tree species mix in local, low-elevation forests to change. Given these and other changes, it is important to be proactive. We need open forests made up of fire-resistant conifers and deciduous trees, with low fuel loads in the strategic fuel managed zones. The quickest way to get there is to keep the suitable big trees already on the site.”

To move forward with this approach, the forestry co-op completed a tenure-wide fire behaviour-modelling project in 2015. The project goal was to identify the main fire travel paths in the Slocan Valley, considering topography, fuel types, and prevailing wind directions. This modelling highlighted areas where fuel management would create a fire-break and enhance suppression opportunities, while significantly reducing the likelihood of a fire like the one experienced in Fort McMurray this spring.

“If you know ahead of time where fires will most likely travel and you place your fuel managed zones in those likely paths, you are using a pre-emptive approach, significantly increasing your chances of keeping communities safe, and preventing the size and intensity of a wildfire that is very challenging to contain,” Martineau explains.

“We are not talking standard harvesting,” adds Bradley. “We want lots of large trees in the fuel managed zones, and we want those trees to have good odds of surviving a fire. We get there by reducing fuel loads, so the next fire is low intensity. This helps protect the forest ecosystem, and is a perfect fit with climate change adaptation. Low fire intensity also means better suppression chances, which helps protect communities.”

The Slocan Integral Forestry Co-operative has been working successfully to protect municipalities in the Slocan Valley for the past six years.

“We have been instrumental in bringing in over $2 million to help protect the municipalities,” Martineau says. “They are now some of the best protected in BC, but unless we add in a landscape-level approach, our investments are at risks with possible out-of-control large fires. Looking at the big picture is crucial at this juncture if we want to take the next proactive step toward protecting rural BC.

“We took on a community forest within the watersheds we drink from because we believe no one would care as much or do a better job of management than those of us who live and work here. It is now clear that climate change adaptation and fire hazard management are central keys to achieving our ecosystem-based management goals.”

Government support is important to implement this multifaceted approach, Martineau said.

“By including a commercial component to our strategy we reduce our dependence on funding, but funding is still a key component. What we need is a pilot project in the Interior of BC that would demonstrate how all the pieces can come together to make us safe and to start the high priority adaptation to climate change that we really need to do. We are ready to go.”

 

 

Just Posted

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Ammonia leak shuts down Nelson Curling Club

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Four points for Fawcett as Leafs win 7th straight

Nelson edged the Fernie Ghostriders 4-3

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Seven Nelson rec projects granted Columbia Basin Trust funding

Nelson’s baseball and tennis clubs were the big winners

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Bashful Balladeers bring voices to Vernon

Despite hiding behind masks, talent shines with this group

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Most Read