Have you heard of the May Creek project? Three kilometers West of Grand Forks in the West Boundary Community Forest area, wildfire mitigation efforts are improving wildlife habitat, general air quality, and more. Joint efforts between The West Boundary Community Forest and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC with support from the Osoyoos Indian Band make the project possible. Dan MacMaster with Vaagan Fibre Canada recently led a tour of the project.

He says removing ladder fuels is a way to make remaining trees more resilient to land fire:

“We’re reducing the fuel levels, and we’re taking a look at the ladder-fuels that would take a normal fire up into the canopy and getting rid of those as well too, we’re talking about dead snags and different types of trees that would bring a lower ground fire into the canopy.”

MacMaster explains how a variance in trees increases fire resilience:

“Certain species like the lodgepole tend to have a shorter lifespan, and they’re on the ground, dead-standing, there’s opportunities to put a healthier more fire resilient type of species in here such as western larch or Douglas fir.”

He adds they’re trying to convert the landscape to be more natural. Dead and dry pine can be converted to bio-energy.┬áMitigation efforts also help fill timber supply shortfalls.

MacMaster says they’re planning a prescribed burn:

“Once the snow is off the ground we can take a look at how much fuel is still left on the ground…. Anything that can’t be transported out safely by a truck will need to be burnt or at least gathered and disposed of. After a burn comes through here we’ll have that nutrients from the ash and a broadcast burn….”

He says new species will then be planted. The future will allow for recreational opportunities such as biking and hiking trails as early as this year.