Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Author: Victor Fobert | April 8th, 2021
THE CONTENT IN OUR WEEKLY EMAIL IS CURATED BY FORESTERS FOR FORESTERS
Curated information is derived from a combination of Forteck crew members with first-hand experience and verified online sources or government sites. We work very hard to provide quality educational information relevant to the forestry industry to promote forestry and the great things foresters can do. Please let us know if you find any misinformation and we will correct it immediately. It takes a village to educate! Thank you for reading and working together in further teaching people about forestry. #forestryproud
Image from: www.firesmartcanada.ca
With an ageing forest comes many additional risks. We have seen the effects over the years of Mountain Pine Beetle in western Canada, which in turn, can increase the risks of severe large-scale fires in those compromised forests. Many municipalities have faced the challenge of wildfires threatening or destroying properties and facilities within their jurisdictions. Some of these recent examples include Kelowna, BC in 2003, Slave Lake, AB in 2011, and Fort McMurray, AB in 2016. We, as an industry working with all levels of government, are working quickly to mitigate these risks around municipalities and high-value structures through an effort known as FireSmart.
What is FireSmart?
FireSmart is the term used for the process in which the wildland-urban interface is assessed and plans are put into place to meet the target objectives. Many of the plans created fall into two main categories; partial removal or complete removal of timber surrounding key structures or municipal areas located near or in the forested lands. Partial removal is considered as a percentage of the overstory crown being taken out. This reduces the amount of available fuel to burn, in turn reducing the intensity of the fire in this standing structure, making it easier for firefighters to work with. In addition to the spacing of the overstory, removal of lower branches on the remaining stems ensures that a ground fire does not turn into a crown fire. Full removal is as it sounds. All standing trees within a given area are removed to create a gap in the forest cover that a fire will not be able to travel directly across it. These gaps vary in size depending on the surrounding vegetation and what is to be protected.
What can you do to help?
The Canadian government has put forth strategies that each province has been working to implement. Many communities bordering and within forested lands have developed or are in the process of developing plans to protect their unique values. Some of these plans include plans for acreages or properties that meet these criteria. For additional information check out Firesmartcanada.ca or your provincial FireSmart website.
BC FireSmart has created the following document, as well as many others, that can help protect or at least try to minimize the risk associated to your property.