Projects underway in Thompson-Okanagan will reduce community wildfire risk, enhance forest health
Work is underway to enhance forest resilience to protect against the effects of wildfire and climate change in the Thompson-Okanagan.
The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is investing in 12 new wildfire risk reduction projects, including three in the Thompson-Okanagan region. The FESBC has approved a total of 34 new wildfire risk reduction projects to be completed by March 2024. These projects are reducing wildfire risk, while enhancing wildlife habitat, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from slash pile burning, and supporting forest recreation and ecological resiliency.
“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a proven partner in delivering projects on the ground that protect people from wildfire risks and reduce emissions from slash pile burning,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “Along with the 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 funded by FESBC will help build communities that are safer and more resilient to climate change.”
Wildfire-mitigation projects funded in the Thompson-Okanagan region are:
- Ntityix Resources LP, $613,512 – conducting hand thinning and pruning treatments in the Glenrosa area. This work builds on thinning treatments recently completed by the Westbank First Nation (WFN) crews within the WFN Community Forest.
- Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, $124,830 – post-harvest piling and debris removal to enhance wildfire risk reduction treatments to improve wildfire resiliency for the area.
- District of Summerland, $391,619 – create plans for future fuel reduction treatments and manually thin stands in strategic locations near the community.
“FESBC is pleased to further support communities in reducing their risk of wildfires,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director, FESBC. “Their thoughtful and collaborative approaches result in numerous additional objectives also being achieved at the same time with the same funding: improved wildlife habitat; greater forest recreation opportunities; local employment; community economic benefits; forests that are more resilient to fire, insects, disease and future climate change; and sometimes reduce greenhouse gases and improve Indigenous participation in the forest economy in British Columbia.”
FESBC has approved 263 projects over the past five years throughout B.C. Sixty-three of the projects have been led by First Nations and another 23 have significant First Nations’ involvement. FESBC projects have reduced wildfire risk in 120 communities and have created more than 2,100 full-time jobs.
As part of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, the Province will work toward near elimination of slash pile burning by 2030 and will divert materials away from slash piles and into bioproduct development, which will reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while creating new opportunities in British Columbia’s green economy. The projects funded through FESBC will help achieve these goals.
The $25 million provided to FESBC is part of the $359 million announced in Budget 2022 to protect British Columbians from wildfires, including $145 million to strengthen the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC.
FESBC is a Crown agency established to advance the environmental and resource stewardship of the province’s forests by preventing wildfires and mitigating the effects of wildfires, 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.
Mike Francis, registered professional forester, Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society –
“We are so pleased that the Forest Enhancement Society of BC has approved our project for funding. This funding will help us reduce fuel loading on areas following harvest to create a more fire resilient landscape that should reduce the risk of fire spread in the event of a future wildfire. In the past, funding from FESBC allowed us to assess our community forest’s land base and develop a plan and prescriptions for the management of our forest resources. Wildfire risk reduction treatments can get very costly, and the funding from FESBC is critical in ensuring that we are able to reduce the risk of devastation from wildfires for our community forest and our communities.”
Forest Enhancement Society of BC: https://www.fesbc.ca/
To view funded projects, visit: https://www.fesbc.ca/projects/