Chinook Community Forest hosted an open house at Southbank Firehall June 11th where-at the logging plan, mapping etc was made available for the proposed fire mitigation forestry activity in the Indian Bay (Francois Lake) vicinity. The logging plan is extensive, 30 pgs, and informative. Out of that came realization of some of my worst fears.
I am the property owner at the western extremity of the area, it bordering my east-west line running from the lakeshore up and across Uncha Lake Rd. I had asked for a 100 yard set back to ensure my privacy and to give wind protection for the standing trees on my property. The proposal calls for a clear-cut strip right on my property line and up the hill side some distance above, reasons given that there is already evidence of wind shear from the prevailing winter winds (easterly) therefore it’s thought the best action is to clear this right out. In fact what I believe will happen is that this will form a wind tunnel up the hill side and trees on my property will be hit even harder.
Secondly, a large part of the area, which we were initially led to believe would be carefully stripped of the dead wood only, is to be clear cut. This will be visible from the lake, and from Uncha Lake Road. Two areas adjacent Uncha Lake & Indian Bay Rds with easy access in which residents are quite actively removing dead wood are also slatted to be clear cut. We are told a “deck” of firewood will be left for local residents in lieu of loss of this supply and this in fact could provide an easier supply. This methodology has been seen to be used here on the Southside before and people from far and wide have been seen to come in and cut; it is not necessarily left for the local residents who have otherwise lost their supply.
Many people I have spoken with are against the plan, some who would have accepted it previously with the idea of only reducing the amount of dead wood present. As the summer prevailing winds almost always cause wild fire to travel eastward, this mitigation plan basically affects 6 permanent residences in the Indian Bay subdivision, and myself to a lesser degree as I’m adjacent but to the west. Of the six Indian Bay residences, three are lake front and should be defendable with some proactive fire smarting and the proximity of a large water supply like Francois Lake, as is my home. Admittedly, the other three would be somewhat more challenging.
In closing, many see this as an excuse to log more than anything else, and wish the area would simply be left alone. As an alternative method of cleaning up at least some of the dead, why not open the area up as a free use area and promote wood cutting? The logging plan does reference previous, expired, free use permits within the area.