An aerial view of some of the area impacted by the 2017 Wildwood wildfire adjacent to the Williams Lake Airport as seen in April during a tour with the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Tolko gets burned timber harvest permits on Crown land

The Ministry of Forests has issued permits through the Cariboo Chilcotin, 100 Mile and Quesnel Natural Resource Districts

Tolko Industries Ltd. will begin logging burnt timber on Crown Land in the Cariboo region now that it has received permits from the government.

Up until now, the company has been working with the Williams Lake Indian Band and private landowners on fire salvage operations, said Tolko woodlands manager Kevin Sytsma.

“Recently we’ve actually received several cutting permits from the Ministry of Forests in the Wildwood fire area.”

Work will commence in and around the Williams Lake Airport in the near future, Sytsma said, noting it was a large fire, running from 150 Mile all the way through to Xat’sull First Nation.

“Each cutting permit has a specific volume and I’m aware of two permits for a total of 100,000 cubic metres,” he said.

When he was doing the planning and development to apply for the permits last fall, he saw saw mortality in the stands.

“In some cases the fire killed the whole stand, in other cases it was more light or moderate severity. As things now dry out from the winter we are seeing mortality increasing in many of those stands,” Sytsma explained.

Most of the areas they will be harvesting in are either severe fire damage or heavy ground fire through the areas, he said, noting some of those stands were probably 150 years old.

The permits will be completed in the 2018 harvest season and processed, for the most part, at Tolko’s operations in Williams Lake.

Read more: Tolko gears up for processing wildfire timber

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations confirmed Tuesday that stumpage rates for fire-salvage timber range from $12 to $30 per cubic metre, depending on location, development costs and species type.

Permits approved for fire-salvage to date, the ministry confirmed, include 170,000 cubic metres in the 100 Mile House Natural Resource District and with BC Timber Sales (BCTS), another 52,000 cubic metres. For the Cariboo Chilcotin Natural Resource District, 572,400 cubic metres have been approved, and with BCTS another 323,000 cubic metres have also been approved.

In the Quesnel Natural Resource District, 41,900 cubic metres of fire-salvage have been approved.

The ministry said so far 444,000 cubic metres of fire-salvage timber has been harvested to date.

Systma said some oversized logs have been going to operations in Kamloops and the Okanagan.

All of the harvesting is completed by local contractors as is the hauling of the logs, he added.

Read More: Columns: Salvage of burned timber on the military reserve

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