The City of Kimberley, alongside Canfor and the Province of B.C. conducted wildfire risk management over the winter by treating hazardous fuels in the area of lower Matthew Creek.
A total of 80 hectares of fuel treatment was completed by The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development while a further 158 hectares of treatment was completed by Canfor.
Next winter, the plan is to expand the treated areas south west of Kimberley.
Trees and forest fuels in Lower Matthew Creek were removed with machines. All of the trees that can’t be harvested for commercial purposes, trees that are, for example to small to be used for dimensional lumber, are ground up and used for pulp or fuel in the power generation system at Skookumchuck Pulp Inc., the primary contractor on this project let by the Province.
This means that there is no burning taking place on site, rather they use this biomass to create energy. On-site wood chipping and grinding equipment grinds the material down, and then trucks are brought in, loaded up and then they haul the material back to the pulp mill.
The Skookumchuck mill is always looking for scrap wood that’s getting ground up, so this is a good supply for them.
This method reduces smoke to residents as well as reducing carbon emissions, in addition to generating the economic and employment value.
Additional fuels treatment work will begin soon for the spring and summer months. Prescribed burns will be conducted on previously treated areas at the Kimberley Nordic Centre and the area adjacent to Forest Crowne Estates.
The purpose of these prescribed burns is to consume fine forest fuels, which are the primary source of embers during wildfires.
Further burns are scheduled for 2022 and 2021 in the Kimberley Nature Park and lower Matthew Creek.
“Canfor is committed to safety and working with our local communities to help reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Michelle Ward, Canfor senior director.
“We were pleased to work in partnership with the Government of BC, City of Kimberley, Paper Excellence, Kimberley Trail Society and Kimberley Nature Park Society on a project south of the community to create a shaded fuel break to help prevent wildfires.”
The city asks that with fuels management work being conducted in forest south west of town, residents should check road and trail updates for closures and keep out of the active work areas.