On Apr. 1, the B.C. government announced it is investing over $5 million to help Community Forest Agreement holders complete as part of the province’s economic recovery plan to create jobs and help communities deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
“It’s a priority for our government to do everything we can to keep people safe from the threat of wildfires,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “This money will help recipients reduce those risks and also support local employment opportunities.”
The BC Community Forest Association will distribute the more than $5 million to 15 holders of community forest agreements around B.C. to fund 44 Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction (CLWRR) projects.
The CLWRR funding stream is part of the Community Resiliency Investment program administered by the BC Wildfire Service. It supports wildfire risk reduction treatments on provincial Crown land near communities, around critical infrastructure and in areas facing a higher wildfire risk.
The risk reduction funded activities will vary, depending on the project, but they may include: thinning trees; cutting back underbrush and low branches (ladder fuels); conducting prescribed burns to remove flammable material; developing operational plans to reduce wildfire risks; or developing treatment prescriptions to identify how to reduce wildfire risks in an particular area.
One of these projects, funded at $85,096, will be overseen by the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society (LNTCFS) for a prescription development project near the community of Barriere for an area of approximately 275 hectares.
LNTCFS Chair, Harley Wright, says the funding will allow the society to lay the groundwork for a prescription regarding their community forest by “going into the bush and looking at what’s to be done”.
“We’ve hired Forsite Contracting to do the analysis on how best to do the wildfire risk mitigation,” said Wright, “Then once we have that prescription it will be submitted to the government for approval. It’s all pretty exciting.”
Wright is also the chairman of the BC Community Forest Association.
All community forest agreement holders are represented by the BC Community Forest Association and are important partners in managing forested land near communities. They play a key role in fuel management treatments, advocate for their communities, and provide expertise and local knowledge to successfully implement fuel management projects.
“Community forests are leaders in wildfire risk reduction. This new partnership between the BCCFA and the BC Wildfire Service will further their efforts to make our forests and communities more resilient,” said Jennifer Gunter, executive director of the BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA).
Projects to be funded include (grouped by fire centre):
• $1,479,824 within the Cariboo Fire Centre:
– $486,374 to Esk’etemc Community Forest for three operational treatment projects and one prescribed fire project (covering about 293.5 hectares)
– $589,200 to Eniyud Community Forest Ltd. for one treatment prescription development and two operational treatment projects (about 174 hectares)
– $404,250 to Williams Lake Community Forest Limited Partnership for one operational treatment (about 70 hectares)
$1,527,673 within the Kamloops Fire Centre:
– $409,023 to Logan Lake Community Forest Corporation for two prescription development projects and one operational treatment (about 251 hectares)
– $85,096 to Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society for a prescription development project near the community of Barriere (about 275 hectares)
– $667,004 to Monashee Community Forest LLP for three prescription development projects and two operational treatments near Lumby (about 77.4 hectares)
– $366,550 to Vermilion Forks Community Forest Corporation for one prescription development project and one operational treatment between Princeton and Tulameen (about 200 hectares)
• $1,178,600 within the Northwest Fire Centre:
– $420,000 to Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd. for two operational treatment projects and one prescribed fire project (about 150 hectares)
– $663,600 to Wetzin’Kwa Community Forest Corporation for three prescription development projects and two operational treatments near Hudson Bay Mountain and Seymour Ridge (about 270 hectares)
– $95,000 to Terrace Community Forest LLP for risk reduction tactical planning near Terrace and Kitimat
$822,695 within the Southeast Fire Centre:
– $204,620 to Creston Valley Forest Corporation for one prescription development project, one operational treatment and one prescribed fire project (about 57.6 hectares)
– $184,070 to Harrop-Procter Community Co-operative for one prescription development project and four operational treatments (about 107.1 hectares)
– $260,505 to Kaslo and District Community Forest Society for a combination of three prescription development projects, with one of those projects also incorporating an operational treatment (about 145 hectares)
– $25,000 to Nakusp and Area Community Forest prescription development (about 185.7 hectares)
– $148,500 to Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative for one prescription development project, two operational treatments and one prescribed fire project (about 193.2 hectares)