Wildfire prevention, recovery, preparedness and ways of doing things differently to manage forests in the future will be the focus of a March workshop in Williams Lake. Photo of the Spokin Lake Road Fire of 2017’s impact on a nearby forest. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Wildfires focus of upcoming workshop for B.C.’s community forests

Alex Fraser Research Forest and the B.C. Community Forest Association presenting the seminar

Wildfire impacts on community forests will be the focus of a provincial workshop taking place in Williams Lake next month.

Alex Fraser Research Forest manager Stephanie Ewen said they will be hosting the seminar with the British Columbia Community Forest Association from March 11 to 13 and already many people are expressing an interest in attending.

“I’m excited about the number of people who want to attend, despite how overwhelmed I think people are with dealing with these issues, such as wildfires,” Ewen said. “I’m also excited about the fact they are willing to come together and learn collectively on how to manage for wildfire, how to recover from wildfire and new ways of thinking about our forests going forward.”

Read more: Forest management post wildfires, focus of Federation of BC Woodlot Associations AGM

Having Williams Lake be the centre of that type of training is a good thing for the community because it reflects well on some of the positive things that are going on within the local forest industry — some of the innovations and thoughtfulness that’s happening in the area with respect to those challenges, Ewen said.

Registration opened on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and it is estimated 100 people will attend.

“We are more concerned about our maximum capacity than getting enough people to show up,” she added.

There will be a welcoming reception during the evening of Monday, March 11 at the Tourism Discovery Centre and the two-day workshop will be held at the Cariboo Memorial Complex’s Gibraltar Room.

The second day will focus on changing the ways of thinking about forest management on the land base and potentially creating areas for future innovation and research, Ewen said.

Ken Day, former manager of the Alex Fraser Research Forest, said they have been collaborating with the BC Community Forest Association for many years.

“It’s been primarily on forest management and governance of community forests — the legal details and how boards and managers relate to each other to make that productive.”

The work has been funded for a decade by a donation from an anonymous donor, and there was enough money left over that was not spent in 2018 to sponsor the upcoming workshop.

“That same donor has been supporting UBC forestry summer student positions at community forests,” Day noted.

A workshop on wildfires seemed a “sensible” way to spend the money, given the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons, which severely impacted several community forests in different regions across the province.

“Quite a few community forests had substantial damage from fires,” Day said. “We are leaning on our experience in 2017 to bring forward the agenda and the speakers and we are drawing on examples from the 50 community forests around the province.”

Day said the workshop will also examine ways to improve collaboration between community forests and the B.C. Wildfire Service in fire operations and explore ways community forests can be productively engaged during wildfire operations.

Before Christmas the research forest received funding from the University of British Columbia to support the planning phase of a Cariboo Fire and Ecology Centre in Williams Lake.

Peak Solutions was hired as the consultant to do the planning project.

Read more: Christmas arrives early for Alex Fraser Research Forest

“Peak Solutions has been contacting potential partners, people that would have interest in working with us on building that centre and I’m expecting that by the end of February I might have a bit of summary on that from them,” Ewen said. “So far their initial response to me is that there is a ton of interest in seeing more formal forestry research in an applied sense, especially focusing on large scale disturbance after all these changes that we’ve had.”



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Williams Lake Highway 20 bump to be repaired once load restrictions are lifted

A historical slide area is actively causing ripples in the road

First annual Forest Service Road Clean Up For Wildlife goes until May 31

Taking place from May 16-31, the contest is open for anyone to enter

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read