This week I attended the Wildfire & Climate Change conference in Nelson. The Kaslo and District Community Forest sums it up well – (see bottom of this post), but I will add two outcomes from my perspective:
First- we recognize that the historical way of managing forests has caused a ripe environment for massive fires. This conference brought to my attention that we do need to manage our forests, how is the debate. As in farming, mono-cropping and reducing diversity are two of the primary culprits in our current situation. Managing forests into the future needs to focus on integrating biological diversity with various forms of fuel breaks, akin to taking a permaculture approach to forest management. While forest management is not a local government service, understanding how to reduce the risk from a Wildfire and Emergency Services perspective is essential in how we design fuel prescriptions.
Second- Area D has several high priority areas I will be focusing on, Argenta/Johnsons Landing being one. I was grateful to see several community champions from these communities in the audience, engaging and planning. Fuel prescriptions that have recieved successful funding for the upcoming season are:
Kaslo Back Road and
Kaslo Airport area
I will be providing funding to support these projects. Each one will include community consultation in the near future.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST!!
Fire Smart starts at home- then the community- then the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)- then the landscape level.
The RDCK has 8 Wildfire Mitigation specialists this year that you can call on to assess your home and will assist all communities that would like to acquire Fire Smart status. As an added bonus- I will award a $1350 grant to each community that does attain Fire Smart status. In Area D, we have Woodbury Village and the BackRoad community who have been successful so far. In the cue: Lardeau and Loki Lots!
To request a residential Fire Smart assessment OR as a community champion that would like to inquire about the community recognition program, please call or email:
From Kaslo and District Community Forest: Summary of Wildfire conference
The sold out Nelson Wildfire and Climate Change Conference is underway with close to an even attendance of field professionals and community. Attention is highly focused on the packed schedule of expert speakers invited from Canada to New Mexico, but the days maintain a great flow thanks to the many skilled local volunteers and hosts. While management of carbon balance remains a complex topic, the urgent message that we need to restore an ecosystem managed by controlled, landscape level fire events is a message understood by all.
We heard that forest fuel accumulations have reached critical levels due to years of fire supression and that climate extremes are expected to become the new norm, precipitating frequent ingitions. Over the course of the past 2 days the hushed audience listened to several personal and heartfelt accounts of presenters and guests personally affected by catastrophic events of the 2017 wildfires. It was apparent that no one was prepared for the scale of trauma these events bring along.
We will bring messages heard at the conference to our community meeting on July 12 and have invited John Cathro to give an update to the Community Wildfire Protection Plan [CWPP] as well.