Smoke from the wildfire at the south end of Canim Lake Sunday, July 4. (Martina Dopf photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

‘Critical’ fire mitigation work planned for South Canim hillside

Efforts underway for area impacted by summer wildfire

Fire mitigation efforts in the South Canim Lake area impacted by a large wildfire this past summer are being coordinated by forestry officials and contractors.

Cariboo Regional District director Margo Wagner, who represents Forest Grove-Canim Lake, told community residents in an email that she had met with forestry officials and mitigation along the steep hillside above South Canim Lake Road was a main priority within the South Cariboo fire centre.

Canim Lake band members will be clearing the logs that were cut to make a firebreak during the wildfire in order to give access for the further mitigation work, she said.

Consultants and contractors have been hired to carry out the work Wagner describes as “critical” on the hillside, which is aimed at being completed prior to the 2022 spring freshet.

“This work includes creating 65 water bars to allow water to flow across the guards, six cross-ditches on the north and west flanks of there and cleaning and repairing two stream crossings,” Wagner said. “Some dry seeding will also be done along the flank to stabilize the soil.”

The work is not weather-dependent, she said, and if the ground is too frozen to complete it, she was told by officials that “they will hire bigger equipment.”

Wagner explained the work over the winter is an effort to restore parts of the hillside that were disrupted during this summer’s fire, which burned more than 2,500 hectares throughout July.

“When they put these fire breaks in to try to control the forest fire, it messes up all the natural drainage systems on the slope,” she said. “The mitigation work after a fire is to put those back in place so the water flows where it’s supposed to and doesn’t create a new path with a potential for mudslides.”

Given that this year’s fire burned so far down the hillside and closer to residential areas, Wagner said she “pushed really hard” for this work to get underway before spring.

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