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

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.

bc wildfires

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Lumber is shown in the back of a van in this recent image provided by the Saskatoon Police Service. The skyrocketing prices for lumber is fuelling a trend that has authorities across the country warning builders to keep their guard up. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Saskatoon Police Service-Const. Derek Chesney *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It is a gold mine:’ Builders warned of rising lumber thefts across Canada

Many North American mills curtailed production temporarily earlier in 2020 because of COVID lockdowns

Most Read