Within Williams Lake and neighbouring communities, there is clear desire to avoid the risk and threat caused by the 2017 wildfires that resulted in region-wide evacuations.
Taking action to protect our homes and communities from future wildfires is a top priority, requiring actions at many levels.
The Williams Lake Community Wildfire Protection Plan, developed by professionals, identifies high-priority actions that each resident can undertake to ‘FireSmart’ their property, and work that can be done by communities, the province, and forestry companies to reduce the threat.
Undertaking these coordinated actions will help slow wildfires by reducing the fire intensity when they approach communities in the future. Embers will have less energy carrying them aloft, and will find less flammable fuels when they land on or near homes.
As you drive, bike or walk around Williams Lake, there are many examples where work has occurred since 2010.
Flammable forest fuels have been removed as a key tool to reduce the risk of damaging fires.
Whether you are strolling the lands around Nesika School, biking on the Westside trails or flying out of the airport, you will see forest lands with fewer trees, less undergrowth and few branches to help stop the fire from climbing up the trees to the canopy.
Further work is planned within and around the City of Williams Lake and many communities in the Cariboo Regional District.
Many organizations and companies are involved in planning and undertaking this work in addition to the City of Williams Lake.
We are thankful to the BC Forest Service, BC Wildfire Service, Williams Lake First Nation, Xatśūll First Nation, Esk'etmc First Nation, Williams Lake Community Forest, participating Woodlot Licensees, Cariboo Regional District, volunteer fire departments, Alkali Resource Management, Tolko and West Fraser, and the contracting community actually doing the work.
So, keep your eyes open in areas such as in the Dairy Fields, Westridge and the River Valley Trail during the spring and summer of 2022. Flagging tape is up to mark areas planned for treatments. All year around, you will see projects under way to thin trees, remove underbrush and reduce smaller surface fuels. Together these actions will reduce the scale, size and intensity of seasonal wildfires- while giving us great places to walk, ride and explore nature!
The Williams Lake Stampede Grounds (pictured) was the subject of a prescribed burn to reduce fuels in 2021.