Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says they will use a three pronged attack…
“First and foremost protection of our community and our community assets, so that’s the work done under our Community Wildfire Protection Plan, getting private land treatments. The second piece of work is to reshape the existing land base between West Fraser and where the Plateau fire was, where this year’s fires occurred and where we expect next year’s and future year’s fires to be focused. How do we get in there, put in the kinds of fire breaks, know what the fuel types are so that we can manage fire on that landscape so that it doesn’t get away from us, and that’s going be led by the Ministry of Forests and they’re going to be pulling that work plan and that team together. And then the final piece is out of Dr. Hessburg’s shop to give us advice on how we do the longer term rehabilitation of the landscape. So what is that longer term strategic framework that we can then put all of our rehabilitation efforts into.”
Dr. Paul Hessberg is a researcher with the U.S. Forest Service and his plan is to use Quesnel as sort of a working lab that could also help other areas of the province.
Simpson says this strategy was hammered out over the past three days and also involved input from some of the top Canadian forestry researchers, and local resource managers from the Ministry, industry and First Nations…
“All sitting down in a room together really asking the question what data do we have ? What systems do we have in place ? And what do we need to know in order to get a handle on these catastrophic pest and disease events and the fires that are now happening, especially over the last two years. So it’s a question of do we have the information we need and do we have the modelling capacity we need to remodel the landscape that has been impacted by the mountain pine beetle and the fires, so that we re-build healthy resilient ecosystems on that landscape.”
Simpson says throughout October teams will now develop actual work plans, budgets, look for where the resources are, and begin to put the teams together to do the actual work starting in November.
This whole process started back in May with a two-day Forestry Think Tank at the college in Quesnel.