FOREST INK: New stance improves timber salvage in 2023 wildfires

Andrew Mercier has been appointed Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation.

It was news to me on January 16 this year that Andrew Mercier was appointed Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation.

As stated on the government’s website, Mercier will assist Forestry Minister Bruce Rolston on some key issues for the province’s forestry industry.

As stated in the press release, recent changes to the Internal Assessment Manual, effective April 1, 2024, provide increased flexibility and pricing for forestry operations and First Nations looking to salvage wildfire-damaged timber in B.C. policy

“Salvage can speed reforestation efforts and land restoration after wildfires. The updated pricing guide better reflects the price of wildfire-damaged timber in government stumpage fees and costs associated with salvage logging, making it more economical for businesses to salvage damaged timber. .

Some recycling may find its way into the pulp and paper industry, which has long used wood considered waste (sawdust, shavings, chips and damaged wood) to make household products such as paper, packaging and tissue.

“Nearly 1.4 million cubic meters of salvage logging permits have been issued in response to the 2023 wildfires, equivalent to approximately 28,000 logging truck loads of wildfire-damaged timber,” the press release stated.

“The province has also convened a Wildfire Relief Leadership Council, bringing together experts from government, forestry services and First Nations forestry councils.”

The committee develops key recommendations and sets goals to improve salvage of damaged timber after wildfires and is responsible for developing actions, monitoring their implementation, and measuring and reporting on salvage progress.

A wildfire rescue guide is being written that will help guide people in better preparing for and recovering from wildfires. Some interesting facts are also listed.

Preliminary estimates suggest that 12% to 15% of wildfire-damaged areas in 2023 wildfires could be salvageable, taking into account factors such as accessibility, extent of damage, burn severity, preserved areas and cultural value.

On February 26, 2024, the Forestry Department updated its forest cover inventory map to reflect the extent of the 2023 fires so that rescue plans can be developed more accurately and quickly.

All of these changes are welcome news to those affected by last year’s Hell Raving Creek wildfire south of Tatla Lake in the Eniyud Community Forest (ECF) in early May.

ECF Forestry Manager Mike Tomlinson summarized the following information in a community announcement: “ECF’s Mid-Lake Fire Rescue Harvest Center is preparing to initiate rescue and recovery efforts following wildfires. Given the difficult terrain and limited infrastructure in the valley, salvage harvest operations will be cautious. carried out to cover less than 3% of the burned area.

“We will focus our efforts on slopes that can be operated safely. This relief package marks the first step outlined in the Road to Recovery document, which has been shared with the community and is available on our website .

“Concentrated harvesting of dead fiber remains a guiding principle in community forests to maximize recovery and minimize the need to harvest green wood.”

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