VICTORIA - As part of the Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan, the ministry has started two pilot projects to mitigate the risk of wildfire in mountain pine beetle-impacted areas in the Merritt timber supply area and the Vanderhoof and Fort St. James portions of the Prince George timber supply area.
A third pilot project is also underway in the Soo timber supply area near Squamish.
The pilots will develop objectives to guide land management activities such as the use of silviculture techniques -including tree planting, brushing and spacing - to reduce wildfire risks from hazardous forest fuels. Working in collaboration with First Nations, industry and local communities, the pilots' results will be used to assess high wildfire threats and identify strategies to improve the fire resiliency of the land in order to further protect communities and infrastructure.
The pilots also will identify where the re-introduction of managed fire or prescribed burns can be used to help restore habitat and increase ecological diversity. The final results will be used for management projects such as the establishment of landscape level fuel breaks, fuel hazard reduction, alternative reforestation and prescribed burns.
The ministry has invested $225,000 to support the three pilot projects and complete initial computer modelling of wildfire risk throughout British Columbia within two years. These computer models will be used to help prioritize work, support operational planning and mitigate the impacts from large-scale intense wildfire activity.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
"These are the kinds of collaborative pilot projects that will protect ecosystems and strengthen our communities' ability to prevent wildfire. I look forward to seeing how the project results can guide future planning across the province."
Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry John Rustad -
"These pilot projects are an important part of mid-term timber supply action plan. By integrating wildfire and resource management expertise, we can reduce the risks and impact of wildfire to communities, infrastructure, ecosystems and timber values."
- Since 2001, British Columbia has committed $884 million to battle the beetle and mitigating future impacts.
- Through the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative and other fuel management work, approximately 46,838 hectares of have been treated provincewide.
- Currently, 305 local government and First Nation Community Wildfire Protection Plans are approved for funding. These plans identify the fire hazards in and adjacent to communities and propose a wildfire hazard reduction strategy focused on higher-risk areas of the community.
On Oct. 9, 2012, the Province announced the Mid-Term Timber Supply Action Plan, consisting of nine sustained and 11 new actions. For more information on the action plan and the mountain pine beetle, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/pinebeetle
For more information about wildfire management, visit www.bcwildfire.ca
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations