Dear Cortes Islanders
The purpose of this email is to provide you will an update on the $310,000 worth of wildfire risk reduction initiatives that SRD has completed or are ‘in the pipeline’ since Winter 2020 (following the completion of the Cortes Island and Klahoose First Nation Community Wildfire Protection Plans).
Updated Cortes Island Evacuation Plan Finished
Between feedback from community consultation, the CI Emergency Preparedness Committee and CI Emergency Support Services Volutneers nearly 100 people provided their thoughts and guidance into the new CI Evacuation Plan (attached). Thank you so much to everyone throughout the last year I couldn’t have done it without you.
Wildfire Fuel Prescriptions and Treatments - $95,000 received through grants
A Wildfire Fuel Prescription (WFP) is a document that describes the recommended fuel treatment activities in an identified area that will reduce fire behaviour. It is expected that the post treatment stand conditions will result in reduced fire behaviour such as a decrease in fire intensity and the potential for sustained ignition. WFP’s must ensure a cost effective and measurable reduction in expected fire behaviour with the consideration and management of other values on the landscape. A sound fuel management prescription follows three guiding principles: (1) it prescribes specific and measurable targets for fire behaviour reduction; (2) it contains site specific considerations; and (3) it aligns with other legal, resource management and non-statutory objectives including First Nation consultation requirements.
Wildfire Fuel Management is the process of modifying forest to reduce the fuels available to burn. This can involve thinning out of trees, pruning branches, removing brush and other best practices. The primary objective is to manage hazardous wildfire fuels at the landscape level thus reducing the potential for loss of life, property and infrastructure.
SRD has completed Wildfire Fuel Prescriptions for the CARR (9.8HA), SQ (10HA), RECY (5.7HA) under the 2021 FireSmart Community Funding Support grant (map attached).
The SRD received funding from the 2021 FireSmart Economic Resiliency grant to undertake Wildfire Fuel Management on RECY. Prior to any Wildfire Fuel Management taking place the Tla'amin First Nation have requested that a Preliminary Field Reconnaissance and Traditional Use Survey be completed in these areas. The SRD and Cortes Forestry General Partnership are working with a certified consultant and the Tla'amin First Nation directly to undertake this work. While we are a team of many, I cannot thank Mark Lombard and Mac Diver enough for their endless support for wildfire risk reduction on Cortes Island.
SRD did apply for Wildfire Fuel Management funding for CARR under the 2022 FireSmart Community and Supports grant, but due to the size of the CARR parcel BC Wildfire has requested that this potential project be redirected to the Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction Committee (a different grant stream). Stay tuned to find out if funding is received.
This funding total does not include grants that Klahoose First Nation have also received to undertake wildfire risk reduction activities in their community.
FireSmart Renovations - $115,000 received
Through the 2021 FireSmart Economic Recovery grant the SRD received funding to help the Gorge Hall, the Linnaea Farm Education Building and the Whaletown Firehall undertake FireSmart Renovations to decrease their vulnerability to damage from a wildfire. This grant is also funding Critical Infrastructure FireSmart Assessments for Klahoose First Nation and an Emergency First Aid course for the Teen Szene.
2022 FireSmart Community Funding and Supports Grant - $50,000 (tbd)
In February the SRD will find out if we have received $50,000 through to offer the free FireSmart Residential Driveway Wood Chipping Service again, and offer Neighbourhood Wildfire Hazard Assessment services to interested neighbourhoods. https://firesmartbc.ca/resource/fcnrp-neighbourhood-wildfire-hazard-assessment-form/
We haven’t forgotten about concerns regarding the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) policy regarding wood waste disposal offered under the FireSmart Residential Driveway Wood Chipping Service. We understand some residents would like to see the woodchips kept in their community rather than have them disposed of in Campbell River, which until recently was a policy of the UBCM. We have been working with the UBCM on a compromise to this policy and last month the Regional Board passed the following resolution. THAT the Regional District accept proposals from community organizations that outline the intended use of the woodchips for public purposes and the measures to be taken to ensure that the woodchips are used only for those purposes.We will be releasing more information soon about what this will look like.
If you ever have any questions, comments or concerns you know where to find me. skoopmansrd.ca 250-830-6702