Alternative to residual burning proposed

Fire management plan for residual logging material. Minor adjustments to existing process could lead to a paradigm shift.

Fire management plan for residual logging material. Minor adjustments to existing process could lead to a paradigm shift.

As noted in the information to follow, the main reason for burning residual logging material is the fear that the Wildfire Management Branch may try to lay the blame of a wild fire in a logging block on the tenure holder.

If the government does a post fire inspection and concludes logging waste contributed to the start and or spread of the fire, all or a portion of the firefighting costs will be charged to the tenure holder.

As a result tenure holders leave minimal amounts of logging debris on site.

In opposition to minimal fibre being left on site are concerns about soil depletion, ecological concerns, carbon dioxide release and loss of opportunities for alternate saw log uses.

An alternative is the retention of larger cull logs in piles that are left in a way that meets the criteria of a Fire Management Plan (FMP).

If a wild fire occurs on a block that has followed a fire management plan and the tenure holder ends up in court, the plan should help convince the judge that due diligence was followed in reducing the chance of a fire.

The key work is to reduce not eliminate.

On a dry year a wildfire could easily advance across a cut block containing only dry grass and shrubs with little if any logging residue.

The main tenet of the FMP is that large logs (with a minimum top size of 7.5 centimetres in diameter) stacked in piles represent a minimal fire risk in the field.

The cull logs would be located in such a way as to minimize igniting each other if one did start on fire and would also be surrounded by a fireguard i.e. free of small more combustible material.

The finer material branches, tops, small stems etc. would be stacked in piles that would facilitate burning if chipping is not feasible.

The ideal situation would be to use the logs as some form of bio-energy product (wood pellets, bio-oil or bio-char etc.) but in some cases the logs might not be used, but left on site to eventually contribute to soil organic matter as they decay.

Some other issues are the extra costs of processing the logs, loss of planting sites because of the potential long-term nature of the piles and policy concerns regarding the road access and safety concerns about using the cull material.

Woodlots and community forests or other area-based tenures would likely be the best tenures to initiate the log retention concept because there are many advantages to the locals associated with a change in harvesting practices.

The cull logs would provide the opportunity for fire wood and related products as well promoting job opportunities associated with the bio-energy businesses.

Reducing smoke pollution in the rural communities would also be a potential advantage.

The existing burning program is not perfect, the fire risk was reduced considerably but not eliminated.

In some cases cull piles are only partially burned or left unburned for years. Future articles should include input from the Wildfire Branch regarding the history of fire associated with residual logging material.

The government could change some policies that would encourage tenure holders to consider options other than burning but as we know government is not known for making quick changes.

I am proposing a voluntary adjustment of practices that are already taking place.

For example, a phasing in of the log retention process so government and industry could work out the most efficient methods for storing and using the cull logs and experiment with ways of dealing with concerns discussed previously.

If some of these minor changes reduced the burning by five to 10 per cent in the first year it could lead the way to a paradigm shift that could bring about a major change to our forest and employment picture.

These inconvenient log piles would force government, industry and potential biomass users to work on ways of using the residual material rather than turning it into polluting gases.



Just Posted

Scout Island Nature Centre in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus file photo)
LETTER: Scout Island is a nature sanctuary not an amusement park

Scout Island absolutely does not need an ice cream stand or a food truck

Professor Nancy Sandy of Williams Lake First Nation, seen here travelling on the land in Tahltan territory, is heading up the new Indigenous Law and Justice Institute at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Patricia Squires photo)
WLFN professor named director of Lakehead University’s Idigenous law, justice institute

A lawyer, Nancy Sandy is also a former chief of Williams Lake First Nation

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Mining month in B.C.

Mining Month 2021 gives us the opportunity to learn more about how the industry is changing

Williams Lake Farmers’ Market manager Barb Scharf said Friday, May 7, she was glad to have everyone back for another season. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Farmers’ market season underway in Williams Lake

The Friday market goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read