The authors of a draft wildfire protection plan for Williams Lake and surrounding area will be seeking feedback during an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at city hall.
Professional forester Ken Day, who has been working on the plan with foresters Steve Capling from Williams Lake and Mike Simpson from Fraser Basin Council, said the plan covers the areas west to the Sheep Creek Bridge, north to Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation, east to Rose Lake and south to Knife Creek.
“It sets out a process to develop a picture of the risk that forest fires present to the community and how that risk is distributed around the area of interest, it’s not uniform,” Day told the Tribune Friday.
“It then develops proposals for treatments to mitigate that risk.”
To prepare the plan Day, Capling and Simpson examined the capabilities of volunteer fire departments, the BC Wildfire Service, First Nations, forestry licensees and their contractors to respond to forest fires.
Williams Lake Fire Chief Erick Peterson said he is looking forward to seeing the drafted plan and having the opportunity for the city to work with other stakeholders on fire protection.
Fraser Basin Council has a contract with the City of Williams Lake with funding from the Union of BC Municipalities and the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition to create the plan and hired Day and Capling to help write the plan.
“We have been working with a mapping consultant in Quesnel who has the experience of having done the Quesnel plan, which was finished a year ago,” Day said.
One of the main recommendations of the plan is the need for co-ordinating body to implement the plan.
“The plan sitting on the shelf is completely worthless, so we will be trying to figure out how that happens in the early days of the plan being created because it will take effort to write the funding proposals and develop the collaborations and determine who owns what land or who has the rights on the land.”
The intent of developing the plan is to support an application for funding to go forward with continuing with treatments.
“Lots of treatment has started already,” Day added.
Day said they began working on the plan in late March of 2018 and in May hosted a meeting with local governments, First Nations, woodlot associations, fire departments and community forests to give input on the plan.
During a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13, Mayor Walt Cobb said the plan is a great idea.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, but it will basically be an agreement with the Cariboo Regional District and local First Nations bands for the areas the surrounding Williams Lake.”
The open house at city hall will see the “near-finished” plan presented between 4 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27. After that, at the evening’s committee of the whole meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. city council will be asked for a resolution to support the plan.