The open house saw several people stopping by for information on the planned wildfire mitigation activity. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

The open house saw several people stopping by for information on the planned wildfire mitigation activity. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

Open house over wildfire risk reduction project

Chinook Community Forest along with BCWS engaged in dialogue with locals

Chinook Community Forest along with BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) held an open house last week to update the community about the wildfire reduction measures being planned on the southside of Francois Lake.

On June 11, an open house was held at the volunteer fire department station on the southside for community engagement and feedback for the Wildfire Risk Reduction project with Chinooks tenure area located on the southside of Francios Lake.

Roughly 15-20 people showed up through out the day for the open house with questions and concerns around the wildfire mitigation activities that are being planned for the southside.

The Wildfire Risk Reduction project is located on the southside of Francois Lake, within a two kilometre Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) around communities like south bank/Indian Bay, Danskin, Takysie, Keefes Landing Rd corridor and Ootsa Lake. The project is to address areas that have been identified as high threat areas (heavy fuel loading) around communities.

Residents in the area came to the open house to understand how the wildfire management activity would affect them. Some residents have been expressing concerns over this proposed wildfire risk reduction activity. One such resident, Gord Stanton, stands opposed to it. In a letter written to Lakes District News, Stanton said, “Attended open house Friday, June 11 at Southbank Fire Hall where-in the actual treatment plan was made available. My worst fear was brought to reality in that the proposed treatment calls for clear cutting for a distance back on my east-west property line before reverting to selective. Disrupting my privacy and creating a wind tunnel which will result in increased blow down on my property. I remain strongly opposed.”

Information on how the concerns of the residents was addressed was not available at the time of going to press but BC Wildfire Services is looking to provide the most updated, accurate information on all the concerns and benefits of this activity, in the coming days.

At the moment however, crews are on the ground identifying polygons, determining actual fuel loading and developing prescriptions to address the fuel loading. This phase will more than likely take up the summer, according to Ken Nielsen of Chinook Community Forest.