WRR work in Unit 8 to reduce the overstory stand density and clean up ground fuels. (Photos submitted)

WRR work in Unit 8 to reduce the overstory stand density and clean up ground fuels. (Photos submitted)

Wildfire risk reduction work around Nakusp improves public safety, builds contractor capacity

NACFOR implementing wildfire risk reduction work in two units north of Nakusp

Submitted by Skye Cunningham

Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR) has been implementing wildfire risk reduction work in two units north of Nakusp over the past six months.

Unit 1 is located along Highway 23, between the highway and Arrow Lake. Unit 8 is located on Airport Road within the municipality of Nakusp. These areas contribute to the northern section of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Nakusp fuel break.

Unit 1 is a 32-hectare area with a mosaic of fuel types and resource values. Fuel management treatments were aimed at reducing the potential for wildfire ignition and spread by removing ground and ladder fuels and reducing over-story stand density.

Wildlife habitat, riparian areas and recreational values were addressed in the fuel management prescription. Both mechanical and hand treatments were implemented to achieve wildfire risk reduction objectives. Project completion is projected for the end of May. Unit 1 funding is through the Forest Enhancement Society BC, valued at $336,000.

Unit 8 is an eight-hectare parcel adjacent to private land and critical infrastructure, including Highway 23, the airport and the Village of Nakusp Public Works facility.

Blowdown from 2020 and 2021 windstorms resulted in heavy ground and ladder fuel accumulation in this area. Mechanical treatments were carried out to salvage blowdown, reduce the over-story stand density and clean up ground fuels.

To protect riparian areas, hand treatments were carried out in areas where sensitive soils restricted machine use. The large debris piles in Unit 8 will be burned in fall 2022. Funding for Unit 8 fuel management treatments was provided by the provincial government’s Community Resiliency Investment, Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction program, valued at $135,000.

Unit 1 and Unit 8 are excellent examples of successful wildfire risk reduction work in the Nakusp area. The WRR treatments not only reduce the risk of wildfire and improve public safety, but these projects have created local jobs and built local contractor capacity.

Nakusp contractors have invested in specialized equipment necessary for WRR work, thus diversifying their operations and expanding their opportunities. Through completing these projects, NACFOR and local contractors have increased the collective local knowledge of wildfire risk reduction and invested in equipment and training to make our communities safer.