Wildfire risk reduction work is now underway in the Dog Creek neighbourhood of Williams Lake over a 46-hectare area.
The work is taking place in the forested area behind homes on Dog Creek Road and Gibbon Road, noted the BC Wildfire Service in news bulletin.
Kingsley Kyere-Donkor, land and resource co-ordinator with the Cariboo Chilcotin Natural Resource District, said the work is being done by Borland Creek Logging and Cariboo Fire Centre crews.
Both mechanical treatment with heavy equipment and manual treatment with hand crews will be utilized on site.
When contractors are nearby, trails will be closed on those days, with signage and road blocks placed on the trails as needed.
The project areas, however, will not encroach on private land.
Risk reduction activities may include removing hazardous trees and flammable shrubs; reducing woody debris and other fuels on the forest floor by piling and burning or chipping and grinding the material for offsite use; thinning forested areas by cutting smaller trees and some mature trees and pruning low-hanging tree branches to help prevent fire from moving into tree tops.
In addition to making it easier for firefighters to defend the community against future wildfires, these projects will improve the long-term health and resiliency of forests and enhance habitat for mule deer and other wildlife. Other important factors, such as recreational use, riparian areas and cultural values, were considered when planning these projects.
About 1,200 hectares of land in and around Williams Lake are slated for treatment over the next two years.
Work will take place in areas where urban development and forests meets, with priority given to areas close to residences or critical infrastructure, or where steep slopes, weather patterns or fuel hazards could impact fire behaviour. Many of these locations were identified as treatment priorities in the Williams Lake and Area Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which was developed by multiple agencies, communities and First Nations. Preliminary field work and planning for these projects began in 2019.
Treatments will begin in additional areas of the community throughout 2022 and 2023.