VICTORIA — A forestry agreement with First Nations will accelerate their ability to harvest timber damaged by wildfires.
The Wildfire Salvage Opportunity Agreements will expedite the awarding of forestry licences to First Nations communities, states a release.
“Streamlining the process to harvest timber affected by wildfire will support mills by ensuring they can access fire-damaged logs before they degrade,” the release reads.
Wildfires have been increasing in frequency in B.C. In 2021, 840,000 hectares of woodland were affected by wildfires. It is estimated only five per cent will be salvaged.
“One of the additional benefits is that expedited harvesting creates the opportunity to rehabilitate forest lands faster, through silviculture and forest regrowth,” the release reads.
The licences will be short-term, lasting between one and three years.
“When we can identify and manage an entire landscape after a wildfire for water protection, such as wildlife corridors, surviving trees and shrubs, and culturally significant areas, immediately after a wildfire has burned, then we can restore the land and emphasize our management values,” said Vern Louie, forest manager of the Osoyoos Indian Band, in the release.