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B.C. brings in new salvaging measures for wildfire damage

B.C. brings in new salvaging measures for wildfire damage

VICTORIA – The Government of British Columbia has introduced new measures to streamline the salvaging process in order to increase use of wildfire-damaged timber.

Changes to the Interior Appraisal Manual effective April 1 have increased flexibility and established pricing policy for forestry operations and First Nations wanting to salvage wildfire-damaged timber in B.C., a release said.

“Wildfires are increasingly having devastating impacts on our communities and economies. During my visits in forestry communities throughout the province, speeding up salvage is something I’ve been hearing a lot from people. Making the salvage of fire-damaged wood faster, easier and more economic means more forestry operations can access fire-damaged wood, supporting forestry-dependent regions and forestry workers,” said B.C. Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Andrew Mercier in a statement.

The updated pricing guidelines reflect the price of wildfire-damaged wood in government’s stumpage fees and in the associated costs of salvage logging, the release said.

“The pulp and paper industry has always used wood considered to be waste – sawdust, shavings, chips and others – to make household staples. Wildfire salvage is yet another excellent, sustainable source of fibre. With government increasing the ability to access this burned timber, our mills, our employees and our communities have greater stability,” BC Pulp and Paper Coalition general manager Joe Nemeth added.

In response to the 2023 wildfires, salvage cutting permits have been issued for almost 1.4 million cubic metres of volume and wildfire salvage opportunity agreements were created to increase salvage opportunities for First Nations in the forest sector and support timely salvage post-fire. Thirteen agreements have been signed by First Nations since agreements were established in 2022, the release said.

B.C. has also convened a wildfire salvage leadership committee consisting of specialists across government, the forestry sector and the First Nations Forestry Council, which will be tasked with developing actions, overseeing their implementation and measuring and reporting on salvage progress. A wildfire salvage guidebook is also under development.

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