Partnerships in the Cariboo region reduce wildfire risk in community forests

Residents of the Cariboo region will benefit from better protection against wildfires thanks to a provincial investment in a series of community projects.

The BC Community Forest Association has coordinated 48 Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction (CLWRR) projects with 15 community forests, including eight in the Cariboo Fire Center region. These projects are part of ongoing work to adapt and better prepare for climate change.

“Led by local communities and First Nations for the benefit of the whole community, community forests are key partners in our work to reduce wildfire risk across the province,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “Along with historic investments in Budget 2022 to transform the BC Wildfire Service into a year-round service and double funding for proactive wildfire prevention, these new projects will help build safer communities and more resilient to climate change.

Projects completed or underway in the Cariboo Fire Center region are:

  • Williams Lake Community Forest Limited Partnership: $403,576 for operational treatment.
  • Esk’etemc Community Forest: $486,374 for three operational treatment projects and one prescribed burning project.
  • Eniyud Community Forest Ltd. $589,200 for one treatment prescription development project and two operational treatment projects.

Community Forests has generated $5 million in CLWRR projects aimed at increasing wildfire resilience for communities and critical infrastructure. These projects include cultural and prescribed burning, hazard reduction, tactical planning, fuel treatment and prescriptions, and other actions.

“Community forests are important partners in managing forest lands near communities,” said Jennifer Gunter, Executive Director of the BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA). “By partnering with the BC Wildfire Service, Community Forests are showing an effective and efficient way forward in addressing wildfire risk while supporting local employment opportunities.

These projects are part of the Community Resilience Investment program administered by the BC Wildfire Service. It supports wildfire risk reduction treatments on provincial Crown lands near communities, around critical infrastructure and in areas at higher wildfire risk. Year-round action is needed to reduce the risk and severity of wildfires by promoting local leadership in building local networks for training, planning and implementation.

Quotation:

Doug Routley, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests –

“Community forests are an innovative form of forest management that generates economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits for local communities, the province and the environment. These 48 projects help support the resilience of forests to the impacts of climate change and give local communities the opportunity to become leaders in reducing wildfire risk.

Fast facts:

  • The 48 wildfire risk reduction projects on Crown land align with the largest investment in British Columbia’s history in wildfire protection.
  • Community forestry is a forestry operation managed by local government, community groups, First Nations or a community corporation for the benefit of the whole community.
  • Fire risk reduction treatments include:
    • fuel management planning, including tactical planning as well as the development of prescriptions prior to the start of operational treatments, which focus on provincial Crown lands around communities that identify how to reduce fire risk forest in specific areas;
    • prescribed fires (including planning and operational treatments) to eliminate flammable materials and reduce risks; and
    • thinning of forest fuels and reduction of undergrowth and low branches (ladder fuels).

Learn more:

To see all the projects, visit: https://bccfa.ca/wildfire-risk-reduction/

Community Resilience Investment Program: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/prevention/funding-for-wildfire-prevention/crip

British Columbia Community Forestry Association: https://bccfa.ca

StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca

FireSmart BC: https://firesmartbc.ca/