Using forestry techniques to reduce the risk of wildfire is part of the plan to get as much mid-term timber supply as possible out of the provincial forest.
Three pilot projects have been set in motion to study the best ways of doing this, on top of the regular forest fire suppression forces already set up across B.C.
One of those projects is in the Vanderhoof / Fort St. James part of the Prince George timber supply area while the others are in the Squamish and Merritt areas.
"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," said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson. "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."
A lesser used technique, once popular in B.C. forest management, will be reintroduced by these study groups.
"Managed or prescribed burns can be used to help restore habitat and increase ecological diversity," said Thomson. "The final results will be used for management projects such as the establishment of landscape level fuel breaks, fuel hazard reduction, alternative reforestation and
The province is investing $225,000 to support these three pilot projects. The field research and computer modelling to follow is expected to take about two years.
"I look forward to seeing how the project results can guide future planning across the province," Thomson said.
Many suggestions, including this one, were made in a summer report by the all-party committee formed at the Legislature to study the downturn in available middle-aged trees. The downturn was primarily caused by the mountain pine beetle epidemic that killed massive tracts of timber.