Work is currently underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in the Thompson-Okanagan region.
Through a provincial investment of $25 million, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) funded 22 new community projects, including eight in the Thompson-Okanagan region. This includes work to reduce wildfire risk, while enhancing wildlife habitat, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from slash pile burning, and support forest recreation and ecological resiliency.
“These newly funded projects take a proactive approach to reduce the risks of wildfire and many will also improve wildlife habitat, increase the health of forests so they are more resilient to climate change, and use the left-over wood waste to make green energy,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director, FESBC, “Achieving multiple objectives is good forest management and good value for money.”
Wildfire-mitigation projects funded in the Thompson-Okanagan include:
• Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, $60,323. Wildfire risk reduction treatments on areas identified as priority treatment areas in their Wildfire Fire Risk Management Plan with the goal to enhance wildfire resiliency.
• Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, $129,381. Manual treatments on area identified in its Wildfire Risk Management Plan that will enhance the wildfire resiliency of the community forest.
• Silver Star Property Owners Association, $474,600. Completing a combination of hand and mechanical wildfire risk-reduction treatment to reducing the wildfire risk along the main road in and out of SilverStar Mountain Resort.
• Lower Nicola Indian Band Development Corporation, $544,425. Complete wildfire risk reduction treatments to reduce the wildfire risk to Steffens Estates subdivision located north of Lower Nicola Indian Band’s Mameet IR #1, approximately 17 kilometres north of Merritt on Highway 97C.
• Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation, $746,550. This project aims to develop prescriptions and treat areas near Logan Lake, creating a large landscape-level fuel break.
• Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation, $127,050. Complete planning and preparation required to complete treatments along a corridor along the Coquihalla Highway, leading to the reduction in risk to the highway, reducing the risk of human-caused ignitions from the highway spreading into surrounding forest.
• Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation, $105,000. Complete the planning work required to complete a fuel-reduction treatment to allow for a safer evacuation route for the community at Paska Lake.
• Vermilion Forks Community Forest, $814,078. A steep area close to the community of Coalmont will be thinned to create a fuel break.
Work is already underway, and all projects are expected to be complete by March 2024.
“People across the Okanagan have first-hand experience with the disastrous affects of wildfires, and these investments will take important steps to protect people, communities and land,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “Not only will this keep our communities safe, but it will also help ensure that our backcountry areas are environmentally stable and resilient for generations to come.”
FESBC is a Crown agency established in 2016 to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating wildfire impacts, improving damaged or low-value forests, improving wildlife habitat, supporting the use of fibre from damaged or low-value forests, and treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases.
~ Source: Ministry of Forests, Forest Enhancement Society of BC
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