National Forest Week 2021

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

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Planting trees is good for the environment STEVEN F. KOZUKI

SPECIAL TO KTW

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he climate is becoming warmer and one reason for this is believed to be the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Like other greenhouse gases, such as water vapour and methane, carbon dioxide absorbs heat from the sun. The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere, the more heat is absorbed. Therefore, one way to take action on climate change is to use forests to remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon moves and changes all the time on planet Earth. It exists in the air, water, land and every living thing. It moves around and back again in an endless cycle and forests are a significant part of this global carbon cycle. Growing trees use sunlight and water to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. At the same time, growing trees make a type of sugar and release oxygen. The carbon in the tree becomes part of the tree’s roots, stems and leaves. This process of using sunlight to grow organic biomass is called photosynthesis and is the basis for most life on Earth. The Paris Agreement is an international treaty to limit global warming. Article 5 of the agreement invites countries to

Steven Kozuki in his work environment.

take action and manage greenhouse gases in their forests. This is because forests absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen as they grow and carbon is stored in the wood until it decays or burns. Therefore, planting more trees absorbs more carbon and burning less wood emits fewer greenhouse gases. Further greenhouse gas benefits are also possible by using more wood in buildings and less concrete or steel — and by using wood to make green energy instead of using fossil fuels. Most healthy forests have a positive carbon balance, absorbing more greenhouse gases from

the atmosphere than they emit. However, severe events, such as the mountain pine beetle epidemic and the catastrophic wildfires of 2017, 2018 and 2021 in British Columbia, can cause many trees to suddenly die and become greenhouse gas emitters. Government reforestation projects involve planting trees in areas affected by natural disturbances. Compared with natural forest regeneration, planting accelerates the rate at which these areas return to being healthy growing forests. Healthy young forests have a positive carbon balance, drawing down more carbon

dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit. However, when disturbances occur, such as wildfire or insect attack, many trees die, tree growth decreases, decomposition rates increase and the stands shift to having a negative carbon balance. Forest carbon balance is quantified in units of “tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent” (tCO2e). This unit is used to describe the impact of all types of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and nitrous oxides, which are released by fire and are much more potent for global warming.

When determining if a potential forestry project is net carbon positive or net carbon negative, the BC Forest Carbon Initiative models estimate 1) how many tonnes of CO2e are absorbed or avoided, 2) the amount of CO2e expended to do the project and 3) whether the project is overand-above what would naturally happen. By 2022, the projects funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC will have planted more than 70-million trees, which, along with other FESBC projects, will generate a net positive 5.3-million tonnes CO2e, which is equivalent to taking 1.1-million cars off the road for a year. Planting trees in areas that otherwise would not have been reforested is a big part of the climate change solution. And in B.C., many climate change heroes are the hardworking women and men working in our forests. Registered professional forester Steven F Kozuki is executive director of the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. He has worked within the forest industry since the 1984. Kozuki graduated with his bachelor of science in forestry in 1994 and has held various positions, from timber valuation co-ordinator for Weldwood and general manager of forestry for the Council of Forest Industries, to working in BC Timber Sales and timber pricing for the BC Public Service.

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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INTERIOR LOGGING ASSOCIATION A UNIFYING VOICE Forestry is British Columbia’s founding industry and logging is its lifeblood. The Interior Logging Association knows the importance of timber harvesting to BC’s economy and has been a strong and unifying voice for its members since 1958. Our association’s strong and influential voice in the forest industry represents independent loggers’ interests throughout this region. We work to keep the timber harvesting industry thriving, promoting the benefits of a robust and sustainable industry, raising awareness and educating our youth about the importance of forestry and ensuring our members continue to be a strong economic force in the province. Through our solid alliance with other forest sector organizations, the ILA has contributed to the growth and cultivation of a healthy, sustainable and vibrant forest resource in British Columbia that will support our communities, families and economy today and always. The ILA works with the provincial & municipal governments and BC Forest Safety Council to ensure our members’ interests and safety are recognized in policy and regulations that impact our industry, our businesses and the communities we live and work in.

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

Wells Gray Community Forest Enhancement Project achieved through collaboration and innovation

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any areas of B.C. are facing the challenge of a shortage of wood fibre that was once more plentiful only just a few

years ago. Today, with many of the damaged mountain pine beetle stands harvested, wildfires and other factors, the scarcity of wood fibre supply has led the forestry sector to find innovative and collaborative ways to utilize the fibre that was previously piled and burned. A project in the Wells Gray Community Forest (WGCF) in Clearwater, funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), has meant a homecoming for Greg Kilba, division manager Portable Wood Processing and Log Buying for Arrow Transportation Systems Inc. (Arrow). Greg grew up in the community and spent time raising his family there too. “Clearwater is a pristine and beautiful area I have many fond memories of, and the Wells Gray Community Forest is a gem for the community,” Kilba said, now based in Kamloops. “When our team at Arrow first looked at a fibre utilization project in the Community Forest, there were many challenges — wet ground and large road ditches. There was a lot of fibre that could not be utilized by sawmills because of the amount of rotten wood typical of this type of stand. The Community Forest group’s goal was to log four cut blocks to help get a healthy stand of trees growing again. Together, we figured we could

make economic sense of the project if we applied to FESBC for a grant. With the good news of an approval of a grant for $720,748, we developed a project plan for approximately $307,000 for the Wells Gray Community Forest, then got to work.” Greg, his son Benton, his father Mike, and the rest of the Arrow team went back to the blocks last fall, taking the residual wood left over from earlier logging operations and ground it into hog fuel, a mixture of bark, branches and wood, which is used to make green energy. Because of the planning of the project prior to harvesting, the WGCF was able to work with the logging contractors to build more accessible road systems to ensure Arrow’s grinder and trucks could access the slash piles. “It was amazing to see trucks in the forest hauling out fibre,” Kilba said. “Early in my forestry career, I had contracts to burn slash piles like this. We would light up the piles and there was an amazing amount of energy coming from them. I had always wondered how we could harness that energy instead of wasting it. With the introduction of boilers that use this wood fibre, we now take this fibre we once burned and use it to create electricity. The grant from FESBC made it economically feasible to haul the material. Without this funding, piles of fibre would have otherwise been burned on site.” CONTINUED ON C5

Happy National Forestry Week! F R O M LO G A N L A K E CO M M U N I T Y F O R E S T We would like to say thanks to so many that played a role over the years and in August of this year protecting the town of Logan Lake. We look forward to continued collaboration as we learn from this experience and help further FireSmart for all.

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

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In total, Arrow ground 18,992 cubic metres of wood fibre, translating roughly to 350 logging trucks worth of wood fibre. The ground-up fibre was then transported to Domtar in Kamloops to generate electricity to run operations, with additional green energy being put back to the grid. The grinding project not only created an estimated 600 person days of work, or close to 5,000 employable hours, but by avoiding the burning of slash piles, the Clearwater airshed was spared smoke from fires, something George Brcko, WGCF general manager, and many Clearwater residents appreciate. “As a Community Forest, we can be nimble and innovative in finding ways to be collaborative and get work done,” Brcko said. “The grinding and hauling of these residuals meant that we didn’t have smoke hanging in our valleys from burning slash.

FAR LEFT: Logging low value Cedar Hemlock stands in the Wells Gray Community Forest, the pulp decked on the road is destined for Domtar. Inspection of the chipping trial of sorted biomass logs.

“Additionally, by removing the leftover wood fibre, this meant we lessened the opportunity for a catastrophic wildfire in these areas. Without FESBC filling the gap financially, this project would not have happened. This kind of collaboration and support of community forests is the way of the future and I believe just the tip of the iceberg in forest stewardship as

we all work to do things better.” The WGCF has been an asset to the citizens of Clearwater as revenues generated from operations flow directly back into the community. Since 2004, almost $3 million has gone back into community projects like seniors housing, summer camps for kids and accessibility projects like multiuse pathways — a boon to the

community BC Community Forest Association’s (BCCFA) executive director Jennifer Gunter applauds. “As we work to grow the bioeconomy and make our communities and forests more resilient, FESBC is providing the missing link by enabling community forests and local entrepreneurs to partner on innovative projects like this,”

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Gunter said. “By supporting the utilization of residual fibre, multiple benefits are created for the communities, the forests and the province as a whole.” Helping to fund and oversee the project on behalf of FESBC was operations manager Dave Conly. “Arrow, in partnership with Domtar, has been able to develop great solutions with our local community forests, and by using fibre that would otherwise be wasted, they created wellpaying jobs and assisted the Province in achieving climate goals,” Conly said. “Overall, FESBC projects will have generated 5.3-million tonnes of net carbon benefits, which is equivalent to removing 1.1 million cars off the road for a year. Forestry is a great way to achieve B.C.’s and Canada’s climate change targets, while at the same time creating more jobs in the bioeconomy.”

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

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Prepare, be aware when on resource roads More and more vehicles are heading out on the resource roads for work and play. With in excess of 620,000 kilometres of resource roads across B.C., these roads are travelled by many types of vehicles, from large, heavyloaded logging trucks to industrial pipeline vehicles to pickup trucks carrying fire fighters and other workers. Added to this volume of industry traffic is an increase in recreational users and vacationers, many without radios, heading out for some weekend fun. Resource roads are typically not built or maintained to highway standards and pose various risks for all users, requiring drivers to exercise caution at all times and have the necessary knowledge and ability to safely navigate these roads. “This major increase in

vehicle traffic is an important factor to consider for companies sending workers out on these roads but also for the public when planning a trip,” said Trish Kohorst, manager of transportation and northern

safety with the BC Forest Safety Council. “The new resource road safety video is very timely and is an excellent awareness tool to help the public understand the dangers of driving on resource

roads and what they need to do to help avoid collisions with other vehicles.” Kohorst said drivers need to be extra vigilant to ensure they reach their destination safely. “So plan your day and allow

for extra time to get there and back from your planned destination — all drivers need to be aware of fatigue, follow appropriate road-calling procedures, not be distracted and, if able, communicate hazards with other road users to help ensure everyone makes it home safe at the end of the day,” Kohorst said. The BC Forest Safety Council offers tools to help drivers prepare themselves with the skills and knowledge they need to travel safely on resource roads including a resource road safety section on the BCFSC website (bcforestsafe.org). This dedicated section provides information on public use of resource roads, radio communication, safety tips, driver training and more. — BC Forest Safety Council

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

Slashing wood waste and greenhouse

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grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) helped Valley Carriers take a new approach to bring 24,000 cubic metres of wood fibre into Merritt to be used to generate electricity instead of burning it in slash piles. With the FESBC grant, Valley Carriers initially explored an opportunity to use a forest slash bundler to see what they could recover in waste residual forest fibre piled along forestry roads in the area. The pilot project hoped to prepare biomass bundles that could be transported by regular logging trucks. Valley Carriers modified their approach after a full evaluation of the bundler and approached the remaining utilization opportunities with a more conventional grinding operation. “The project trial had some initial challenges, but what we appreciated

VALLEY CARRIERS PHOTO A grinder works to load a tractor trailer with residual forest fibre.

about working with the team at Valley Carriers is their approach and innovative style,” said Dave Conly, operations manager for FESBC.

“They have been able to pivot and get into the grinding business to assist the local economy in improving forest fibre utilization.

“By all accounts, it has been a great success so far and a benefit to B.C.’s environment and economy.” With a funding grant of $416,029 from FESBC, the recovered fibre was delivered to Merritt Green Energy and used to generate electricity. When residual fibre is utilized instead of burned in slash piles, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the electricity generated can displace electricity otherwise generated by fossil fuels. “The FESBC funding allowed us to provide a solution for fibre removal that was previously burned because of high hauling and transport costs,” said Derek Mobbs, interior operations manager with Valley Carriers. “It was great to see the wood fibre in the brush piles being utilized instead of burned and to see extra value being created out of our local timber resources.”

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gas emissions in the Nicola Valley Valley Carriers’ Merritt-based division specializes in forest product transportation, sawmill residual service, supply and grinding residual forest fibre. The FESBC funding made it possible for the company to extend its grinding operations and keep up to 10 people employed with 5,750-person hours generated from the project. Employment included the fulltime operations of a grinder, loader, four 53-foot trucks and the part-time employment of a dozer, excavator and a spare truck. The fibre produced from this project provided Merritt Green Energy with approximately 37 days of run time. “Our small community has been hard hit by the mountain pine beetle and mill closures,” said Ben Klassen, CEO of Valley Carriers. “Being able to keep our people working and producing fibre for our customers is critical.” Klassen noted the FESBC grant

members of the community who have endured multiple sawmill curtailments and closures over the last decade. “We have been able to support our community with good paying jobs from a resource that otherwise would have gone unrecovered,” he said. “At times, we have had to juggle our operations to address customer needs, and without the flexibility of this FESBC support, this would not have been possible.” The project has also led to collaborative working relationships with Stuwix Resources, Tolko and Aspen Planers to recover forest fibre in other parts of the Southern Interior.

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

An update of forest enhancement accomplishments

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uring wildfire season, many British Columbians understandably become focused on the fires burning throughout the province and close to their communities, threatening treasured hiking and biking trails, recreational sites and more. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) released an accomplishments update featuring 39 forest enhancement projects that are protecting and enhancing important recreational values, from campsites and hiking trails to ski resorts and heritage sites. “Our team was reviewing the 269 projects FESBC has funded since inception and we noted a number of the projects throughout the province had a secondary benefit to them — protecting and enhancing

recreational values,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director of the FESBC. “The primary purposes of FESBC projects range from mitigating wildfire risk and enhancing wildlife habitat to improving the recovery of wood fibre and replanting forests. At the same time, FESBC projects often deliver additional co-benefits such as climate change mitigation, job creation, Indigenous peoples’ participation in the forest economy, as well as protecting and enhancing forest recreation.” Of FESBC’s 269 funded projects, 39 were identified to protect or enhance one or more recreational values, including: • Development and implementation of fuel management prescriptions created two landscape level fuel breaks within the proximity

of the Big White ski resort. It was done by Davies Wildfire Management with a FESBC grant of $265,760. • Treatments for a wildfire fuel break in the Williams Lake Community Forest. Logging debris and small diameter wood will be sent to the Williams Lake bio-energy facility. It was done by Williams Lake Community Forest LP and Williams Lake First Nation with a FESBC grant of $433,791. • Construction of a wildfire fuel break aligned with the Barkerville Community Wildfire Protection Plan and helped protect the world class heritage site. It was done by Barkerville Historic Town and Park with a FESBC grant of $168,000. • Wildfire risk reduction treatments adjacent to Lac La Hache Provincial Park campground. It was done by

FOREST ENHANCEMENT SOCIETY OF B.C. PHOTOS Before and after photographs of Agur Lake showing spacing, pruning and piling, reducing overall fuel load.

Zanzibar Holdings Ltd. and Canoe Creek Indian Band with a FESBC grant of $227,778. • Spacing, pruning, piling and disposal of vegetation to reduce overall fuel loading near the Augur Lake Camp Society, a campground and cabins

for people of all ages with disabilities. B.C.’s only barrierfree campground. It was done by the Agur Lake Camp Society with a FESBC grant of $51,853. CONTINUED ON C11

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

From C10

“When you live in a community where there’s only one road in and out, you can see the devastation a fire can have on a community, it’s nerve racking,” said Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice-president of Big White Ski Resort Ltd. “We are proud of the work that was done, the results and the safety assurances it brings. This action speaks for itself. We feel protected.” Echoing Ballingall is Ed Coleman, former CEO of Barkerville Historic Town and Park. “We look forward to the future as we care for the past,” he said. “One where the historic town and park are safe from damaging wildfires so we can continue to welcome thousands of tourists each year and provide both employment and enjoyment because of the proactive work we did now.” Since inception, FESBC has empowered local people who want to do local projects that contribute to the achievement

of our climate change goals and enhance B.C.’s forests through wildfire risk mitigation, accelerated ecological recovery after wildfires, wildlife habitat enhancement and increased utilization of forest fibre. FESBC board chair Jim Snetsinger is proud of the efforts of the FESBC team and the many First Nations, community forest leaders, local governments and industry partners who carried out the work. “With support from the governments of B.C. and Canada, FESBC has enabled others to do this remarkable work to enhance our forests, generating immense social, economic, and environmental benefits,” Snetsinger said. “When British Columbians enhance our forests, we are bequeathing an inheritance to our children and grandchildren: cleaner air, fewer greenhouse gases, better timber supply, higher quality wildlife habitat, safer communities, and protecting important recreational assets we all value and enjoy.”

FOREST ENHANCEMENT SOCIETY OF B.C. PHOTO The historic town of Barkerville and park are safe from damaging wildfires, enabling tourists to safely visit, as a result of the proactive work in the forest.

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

Forestry is about trees — and people CHRISTINE GELOWTIZ

SPECIAL TO KTW

In a year when COVID-19 again dominated much of the news, events in B.C. inextricably pulled public attention to the province’s forests. Wildfires scorched much of the Interior, leaving people fearing the loss of life, home and livelihood. The province moved toward shared decision-making with Indigenous Peoples, a much-needed, but complex change to forest management. Pending forest policy changes also left people wondering about the security of jobs in many rural communities. And old growth protests, originating on Vancouver Island, exposed passionate division between urban and rural residents, young and old, Indigenous Peoples and even among the registered forest professionals charged with

caring for forests throughout the province. Sometimes forestry is not about trees. It is about people. Nearly every British Columbian holds values about the forest, be they spiritual, environmental or economic. When forest activities run counter to peoples’ values, emotions run high, fingers are pointed and blame is dispensed. Planning and caring for healthy, sustainable forests is the role of registered forest professionals. Like dentists, engineers, accountants and doctors, forest professionals are regulated. B.C.’s registered forest professionals have university degrees or college diplomas, have completed a two-year articling process, have passed a series of licensure examinations and follow professional standards and codes. Given the complexity of old growth forests, it’s natural that for-

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a small or simple task. There are a multitude of voices clamouring to have their preferred solutions imposed by governments. How do governments balance different values and demands? What should be prioritized? A growing number of British Columbians want the use of forests to reflect their current and future interests, regardless of past uses. That’s fair as priorities should be reset as societal values evolve. But forests are complex ecosystems. As we’ve seen in the past, sometimes decisions based on public desires of the day have unintended consequences in the future. Our history of wildfire is a case in point. For years B.C. followed a policy of wildfire suppression, where fire was seen as something bad to be avoided and resources were utilized to contain and limit fires in order to protect not just nearby communities, but the trees themselves.

The public of the day saw fire as undesirable. Today we know better, that fire is an integral part of the ecology in many forests. The legacy of those past decisions means forests today have increased amounts woody fuel that is now more susceptible to our changing climate and, when ignited, produces more violent fire behaviour. So therein lies the challenge. Governments are responsible for setting the rules and policies that reflect society’s desires for B.C.’s forests today. And the informed voices of registered forest professionals are integral in helping the public and government decision-makers alike understand the ecological consequences of whatever policies are introduced to meet those desires. Christine Gelowitz, RPF, is CEO of the Association of BC Forest Professionals.

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est professionals have differing opinions on forest management. But the debate around old growth is not truly about the science and the practice of professional forestry; it’s about the choices the landowner has made about how, and for what purpose, forests are used. With 94 per cent of B.C.’s forested land publicly owned, the provincial government has a responsibility to understand what the public wants from its forests and to set priorities for the use and management of that forest land. Regardless of their personal views or those of their employer, forest professionals are required to follow the law, adhere to public forest policies and keep public interest paramount when making recommendations or decisions around forest management. Determining what B.C. forests will or will not be used for is not

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FOREST WEEK

SEPTEMBER 19–25, 2021

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

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One large, healthy tree can: • Lift up to 4,000 litres of water from the ground and release it into the air. • Absorb as many as 7,000 dust particles per litre of air. • Absorb 75 per cent of the CO2 produced by the average car. • Provide a day’s oxygen for up to four people. White pines have soft, medium-length needles in bundles of five. How do you remember that? Just count the needles: W-H-I-T-E. — Canadian Forestry Association

As an employer it’s your responsibility to: • Identify health and safety risks. • Put appropriate measures in place. • Communicate with workers in order to keep everyone safe. Learn more at worksafebc.com

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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NATIONAL FOREST WEEK

Building community resilience to the threat of wildfires KATE BEZOOYEN

SPECIAL TO KTW

T

he 2021 fire season was catastrophic. Severe drought conditions across the province facilitated extreme fire growth and stretched response resources thin. Countless families were displaced from their homes and communities while enduring immense hardship. This season, more than ever, highlighted the risk of living in the wildland urban interface — areas where homes meet the forest. The speed and intensity of fire spread this season challenged response efforts. However, as communities and homeowners, there are steps that can be taken

to reduce wildfire hazard. Vegetation management around private property and surrounding forests is a tool that can be used to reduce the threat of wildfires. Vegetation management can encompass mechanical, handtreatment or strategic controlled burns to reduce the build-up of hazardous fuels. These treatments are planned by qualified forest professionals who ensure that any forest modifications are ecologically appropriate for the area and balance regional objectives for forest health, biodiversity, wildlife and other values. Likewise, controlled burns are thoroughly planned out by professionals and completed under conditions which allow fires to play their natural ecological role without threatening values.

A B.C. Wildfire Service firefighter performs a controlled burn in Kenna Cartwright Park in 2015.

DAVE EAGLES/KTW

Collaboration with local First Nations can unlock a wealth of traditional ecological knowledge on the intentional use of fire on the land. These treatments reduce the amount of vegetation available

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to burn, if and when a wildfire approaches. Although these modifications cannot stop fires, they provide a wide range of benefits. Managing fuels can lower the intensity of approaching fires;

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provide tactical staging areas for suppression activities, including burn-out operations or sprinkler deployment; enhance firefighter safety and response time and increase the effectiveness of aerial retardant or water drops. As we see a shift to longer, hotter and drier fire seasons, it is critical we take the steps to increase community resilience. Fuel management, done at a meaningful scale, can provide real benefits. Now is the time for all communities to understand their wildfire risk and take concrete actions. Go online and visit, firesmartbc.ca to learn more about how they can directly influence their wildfire risk. Kate Bezooyen is a wildfire management specialist with Forsite Consultants Ltd.


WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021

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Interfor would like to recognize the efforts put forward by our employees and contractors this wildfire season. We continue to be inspired by the determination and selflessness of our employees.