Fuel management

A weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

This week the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) announced that the west side of the Walker Valley would be thinned by 40 per cent to reduce the risk of interface fire and remove hazardous burnt trees.

The area is owned by the CRD and managed by the 108 Greenbelt Commission. Given the risk the 108 was under due to fires this summer, this is exactly the type of step I’m sure many locals were expecting to mitigate fire risk going

forward.

It’s the type of step that I’m sure any government, regulating body or group would be pleased to announce, making it a little shocking that this is the first example I’ve heard of. There’s been some heli-logging of beetle infected trees near Williams Lake, but one could argue that’s for beetle control as much as fire protection (in any case I’ll get back to this).

According to the release, it’s a continuation of Fire Smart management undertaken in recent years. Furthermore, while it’s surprising it’s the only instance I’ve heard of so far, it’s not surprising that it’s the first.

With the land owned by the CRD and a commision and budget already in place, as well as the threat to the 108 over the summer, it’s undoubtedly one of the best set up situations to do this type of

thing.

However, just because it’s well set-up to do so, doesn’t mean it’s the only area that needs it.

Electoral Area G Director Al Richmond, said that he’s also working with a group in Lac la Hache and was willing to sit down with any group in his electoral area looking to do the same.

Similarly, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett worked on the heli-logging in Williams Lake and said she’d be willing to work on a petition that was going around Canim Lake to get beetle infected trees there logged.

Obviously, it’s great that locals and local politicians are willing to put in the effort to make sure our communities are safer but quite frankly after the summer we’ve had, I don’t think we should simply accept the patch-work type

approach.

The biggest player in all of this is easily the Provincial Government with crown land stretching across district borders.

Our small local players shouldn’t be in the position where they’re going to the provincial government with ideas for fuel management, but rather the Province should be asking them to come to the table and take the initiative.

If they are working on a strategy or have one in place, they should be shouting it from the rooftops, as I’m sure people would really like to

know.

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