Military aircraft approaches lightning-sparked forest fires near Williams Lake during the summer of 2017. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

MLAs unanimous on B.C. wildfire recovery

Finance committee calls for rapid salvage, reforestation

MLAs touring B.C. communities in advance of the NDP’s first budget have called for incentives to salvage wildfire-damaged timber, and increased forest fuel management and reforestation.

The all-party committee of the B.C. legislature held hearings in 12 communities this fall, and unanimously focused their main recommendation on the aftermath of B.C.’s record area burned in summer forest fires.

“Committee members heard from business owners in areas affected by the wildfires who are facing labour shortages due to a number of employees not returning home after evacuation,” says the committee’s final report to Finance Minister Carole James.

RELATED: Ranchers await AgriRecovery funds

Chaired by NDP MLA Bob D’Eith (Maple Ridge-Mission) and B.C. Liberal MLA Dan Ashton (Penticton), and including B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) the committee stressed the need to “incentivize” the harvest of fire-damaged timber in southern and central B.C.

That’s a delicate issue for B.C., already subject to punitive tariffs by the U.S. government, after their latest industry claims of dumping and government subsidy from the cost of Crown land timber. Any government program assisting Canadian producers is seized upon by U.S. interests.

In an phone call from Tokyo during B.C.’s annual Asia lumber trade mission, Donaldson said efforts are underway to implement the main recommendations of the finance committee.

RELATED: U.S. lumber dispute drives B.C.’s effort in Asia

“We’re expediting the harvest of fire-impacted timber and getting it to the mills in a timely manner, because we know how the wood can degrade quickly,” Donaldson said. “Also, we have allocated $140 million over the next two years into forest enhancement, and that also involves the management of urban interface forests and fuel mitigation.”

The committee also calls for public education “to develop a culture of prevention, preparedness and resiliency among British Columbians regarding natural disasters, including wildfires, floods, hazardous material spills, earthquakes and tsunamis.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Carrot Mountain fire fans smoke over West Kelowna

A cluster of three fires are burning above West Kelowna

Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Two fires caused by lightning at Big White last night

The fires are currently being contained

Three fires sparked in Peachland overnight

BC Wildfire working on scene

UPDATED: Traffic between Peachland and Summerland now getting through slowly on Highway 97

Motorists may use an alternate route via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3

Neighbours jump into action after grass fire ignites 10 feet from Kelowna home

Multiple fire halls responded to a grass fire on the 800 block of Mount Royal Drive.

Hockey trip fraudster receives house arrest

Man duped 16 families with Okanagan Elite Hockey Association out of over $100,000

Four wild fires still burning near Keremeos

One fire was extinguished and another reported after lightning came through area

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Installers to battle Team B.C.

Exhibition men’s fastball Saturday in Vernon

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read