Forestry Ink columnist Jim Hilton. (Photo submitted)

Forestry Ink: Public encouraged to review the community wildfire protection plan

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about Williams Lake’s plan

Jim Hilton

Observer Contributor

As the work continues on the wildfire plan, the citizens have the chance to see what is involved with meeting the objectives of the document. Based on some comments I have been getting, there is a wide variety of opinions as to how and why such things as the various logging activities are being done. While most people should have been aware there was going to be some major changes in the adjacent Crown land, especially those favourite recreational areas, it isn’t until the logging is done that one can appreciate just how much disturbance may take place. My first suggestion is to take some time to at least review the Williams Lake and Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). You should be prepared to spend a few hours to see what has been done and is planned in the hundred-page report.

As described in the first section of the plan, “The purpose of this CWPP is to identify the wildfire risks within the Area of Interest (AOI), to describe the potential threat to human life, property and critical infrastructure, and recommend treatment options to reduce the wildfire risk. This plan will need to be renewed as the land, resources and communities’ needs within the AOI change, after approximately five years. This plan provides an accurate assessment of the risk areas within the AOI that need fuel treatments, as well as an overview of different forest fuel modifications that can be utilized. The CWPP planning process has provided a detailed framework to inform the implementation of specific actions that will ultimately result in: • reduced likelihood of a wildfire entering the community • reduced impacts and losses to property and critical infrastructure • reduced negative economic and social impacts to the community • reduced impacts on the local forest values.”

If you want to better understand the level of activities going on, I suggest you review the treatment section of the report.

“In general, the sequence of treatments under this plan will follow these steps: 1. Thin the overstory and understory to reduce Canopy Bulk Density and increase Canopy Base Height 2. Prune residual trees to increase Canopy Base Height 3. Gather and remove surface fuels, either by piling and burning or by removal to roadside for grinding. 4. Retain deciduous trees and shrubs 5. Retain up to 50 m3/ha of new coarse woody debris (> 7.5 cm diameter on the small end) scattered across the area, 6. Retain large soft snags (with appropriate danger tree measures) and coarse woody debris.”

There are also lots of tables, charts and maps for those who want to take a closer look at what activities may be proposed adjacent to their specific areas of interest.

I have visited some of the treated areas next to the B.C. Hydro power line in the Esler area and in general was encouraged that the much more open forest would no doubt be better able to withstand a wildfire, in addition to being a very pleasant open woodland to enjoy from a recreation point of view.

I think Ken Day and the many people and organizations involved with the writing and research going into the plan deserve a lot of credit for producing a very comprehensive and useful document, which should put the whole community in a much better position if and when there is another threat of a wildfire.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo-Chilcotin for 40 years. Now retired, he volunteers with community forests organizations.

READ MORE: Forestry Ink: Are the Tarsands a blessing or a curse?

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Quesnel’s Billy Barker Days Festival will happen but may be delayed and look different

‘It will be something different than it has been in other years,’ say organizers

COVID-19: Quesnel RCMP adjusts workers’ hours at the detachment

Police are also encouraging online reporting

B.C. Wildfire Service will expand its operations at Quesnel Airport

A new lease agreement with the City of Quesnel will allow BCWS to house additional crews at airport

COVID-19: Signs of the times

Hearts for frontline workers and social distancing reminders around Quesnel

COVID-19: Quesnel considers its most vulnerable

City in contact with the shelter and B.C. Housing to ensure well-being of homeless during pandemic

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

Most Read