Fuel management work is scheduled for the Walker Valley Greenbelt in the 108 Mile Ranch area over the next month to reduce the risk of an interface fire and remove hazardous burnt trees, according to a release by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD).
“The west side of Walker Valley will be selectively thinned by an average of 40 per cent in order to restore the forest density to its historic norm. This is a continuation of the Fire Smart fuel management work undertaken in recent years in greenbelt areas throughout the 108 Mile Ranch area.”
They expect the costs of the work will be offset by the value of the timber, says to Electoral Area G Director Al Richmond, although further management is expected to take place in the spring, including seeding and other mitigation work, in part to protect the area from noxious weeds.
“This work is necessary and timely for our community following the 2017 wildfires. It is important we take steps to protect our community and the health of our forests,” according to Richmond. “One of our 2018 business plan goals is to assess the fire-impacted areas of the greenbelt to determine if rehabilitation activities or further fire prevention measures are necessary. This is one of the steps forward in that regard.”
Many of the loggers who will be working on it live in 108 Mile Ranch, according to Richmond, adding they definitely understand how protective people are.
“In areas that we did previously in [the Walker Valley], we thinned by about that much [40 per cent], and I would say once a year had gone by, and some of the younger trees had started to fill out and doing some other stuff, they were just spacing. This is not like a clearcut,” although the burned stuff will have to be completely removed, he says.
They’re looking to leave nice straight tall trees so that if fire does get in there it’s harder to get to the treetops, says Richmond. Residents, especially those close to the Walker Valley may experience noise with work beginning as early as 5 a.m., according to the release.
The 108 Greenbelt is owned by the CRD and managed by the 108 Greenbelt Commission and Richmond says that he’s working on a similar fuel management initiative in Lac la Hache. However, not all areas where fuel management might be worthwhile are owned by the CRD, being crown land instead and having to go through the province. This means working with the province on both permission and funding.
“There’s a group I’m working with in Lac la Hache area that are interested in doing some work and if groups in my electoral area want to do some mitigation work, quite fair to sit down with those groups and see what opportunities there are because quite clearly the fires of the last year have [caused] concern for people and there’s a way of reducing, not eliminating, but reducing the risk by doing some thinning.”
Residents are also reminded to ensure their own properties are Fire Smart, says Richmond.