A project to reduce wildfire risk to the rural areas around Big Bar Lake is nearing completion.
Zanzibar Holdings Ltd. and the community of Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (SXFN) partnered to reduce wildfire risk to the area, about 40 kilometres west of Clinton, with funding support from the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. FESBC provided close to $625,000 toward two projects.
The joint project with SXFN (formerly Dog Creek Indian Band and Canoe Creek Indian Band) has provided employment for local crews for the last two years.
Crews have been creating a series of landscape-level fuel breaks to help reduce the intensity and rate of spread of any approaching wildfire and provide a safer point of attack for firefighters if a wildfire occurs. The treatments include:
• removing accumulations of forest fuels (e.g. wood waste, vegetation and other flammable material)
• decreasing the number of trees
• pruning other trees, from the ground up to shoulder height, to remove “ladder fuels” (e.g. low branches that could allow a fire to spread into treetops)
• clearing away ground fuels by gathering them into piles and burning them
“There is tremendous potential for a significant wildfire to come through the area close to the community of Big Bar Lake,” said Bill Layton, RPF, a senior forester with Zanzibar Holdings Ltd., said in a news release. “Depending on a fire’s behaviour and the site conditions, the fuel breaks that we’re working on would do a lot to stop a fire’s progress from the northwest and southeast.”
The width of the fuel breaks ranges from 100 to 300 metres in strategic areas around Big Bar Lake, and total more than three kilometres in length.