Preparation of the burnt logs for loading and hauling of the low value fibre. (FESBC photo/Lakes District News)

Preparation of the burnt logs for loading and hauling of the low value fibre. (FESBC photo/Lakes District News)

Chinook Community Forest gets $800,000 to rebuild

Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s grant to make up for 2018 wildfire losses

Chinook Community Forest (CCF) is receiving a massive grant from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) toward revitalization of portions of the 10,000 hectares lost during the 2018 wildfires.

FESBC announced last week that they will be contributing $800,000 that would go towards revitalization of 300 hectares of the hardest hit stands out of the 10,000 hectares lost during the 2018 wildfires.

“The Chinook Community Forest, a partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, is committed to good forest stewardship and seeing this forest thriving for future generations,” said Ken Nielsen, General Manager, CCF. “This is a long-term investment by all parties to get to regeneration.”

The devastating fire reduced the value of the remaining fibre significantly and it had started to look unlikely that salvaging the remaining fibre was ever going to be economically viable. It also meant the possibility of regenerating the site with a new forest was reduced substantially.

The FESBC funding would now allow for the rehabilitation of a portion of this area resulting in the quicker regeneration of a healthy forest.

“As a shareholder in the Chinook Community Forest, we are grateful to FESBC for the funding to salvage burned fibre from the devastating wildfires of 2018,” said Dolores Funk, Mayor, Burns Lake. “This project benefits our local economy through job creation and allowing the utilization of fibre that is no longer economically viable.”

The funding will allow for a high level of utilization resulting in long-term carbon benefit by avoiding the fibre being burned in slash piles. The removal of the fuel will also result in wildfire risk mitigation as there will be less available to burn if there is ever another fire in the area.

“We are happy to support this project and bring some hope and opportunity back to the community after the wildfires,” said Gord Pratt, RPF, Operations Manager, FESBC. “It is important to assist with the heavy lifting due to the economic challenges and bring this area back to a green, healthy forest.”

Nielsen echoed in on this sentiment and said, “We were hit heavily. Through this project, CCF, FESBC and other partners pulled together to rebuild from that devastating loss.”

The Chinook Community Forest salvaged 100 hectares last year and is now planning to salvage 200 hectares of the burned fibre this year. The plan would be to start by bunch skidding the fibre to the roadside from where it will be recovered and the sawlog would be trucked to secondary fibre users such as Pinnacle Pellet or a local fench post operation.

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Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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