December 19, 2023 By P&PC Staff
Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation (CCR), a First Nations-owned and operated company, has been making significant strides in the forest industry through its participation in wildfire risk reduction, stand rehabilitation and fibre utilization projects, shares the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC).
CCR is a joint venture between the Tŝideldel First Nation and Tl’etinqox Government, both Tsilhqot’in Nation communities, dedicated to safeguarding the land through traditional Indigenous practices. Over the past few years, CCR has received vital support from FESBC, including recently announced funding for three fibre utilization and wildfire risk reduction projects.
FESBC shared that one of the projects CCR received funding for allows for the full utilization of trees and harvesting debris including tree tops originating from stands of dead trees killed by the mountain pine beetle years ago. This low-value fibre will reportedly be hauled to facilities to turn into different products like pulp, electricity and pellets instead of piling wood debris in slash piles and burning. The recovered fibre will reportedly help support the Cariboo pulp mill in Quesnel and the Drax pellet plant and Atlantic Power facility in Williams Lake.
“Over the last four years, close to one million cubic metres of fibre has been recovered in our region, and much of the recovery work was supported with funding from FESBC’s fibre utilization program. If not recovered, this fibre – which is equivalent to over 10,000 logging trucks of fibre – would either have been left behind and increased fuel for wildfires or burned in slash piles. Recovering the fibre results in both reduced wildfire risk and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Percy Guichon, executive director of CCR and councillor with Tŝideldel First Nation.
In another FESBC-funded project, the CCR team will work to rehabilitate the forests devastated by the Elephant Hill fire in 2017. By removing fire-damaged timber and fibre and transporting it to local facilities such as the Drax pellet plant and Atlantic Power Corporation in Williams Lake and the Kruger pulp mill in Kamloops, CCR will be providing a safe working environment for planters who will reforest the area.
According to Philippe Theriault, general manager of Tŝideldel Enterprises, “FESBC’s support has enabled us to maximize fibre utilization through innovative projects, not only reducing CO2e emissions from traditional slash-pile burning but also sustaining jobs in the pulp, pellet, and energy industries. This partnership exemplifies that positive outcomes are possible when organizations collaborate for the greater good of our forests and the rural communities they sustain.”
CCR has completed over 40 kilometres of fuel breaks, where trees in planned landscape fuel breaks were carefully thinned or removed to reduce the fuels that would be contributing to potential fast-spreading wildfires, protecting First Nation communities and neighbouring communities of the Chilcotin. These fuel breaks involve a wide range of undertakings, surrounding hand treatments, fuel removal, spacing, and advanced silviculture, synchronized in a manner to reduce the wildfire risk while creating a resilient forest stand for the future. The complexity and challenge of these projects create wide employment opportunities, which helps support families that live on their traditional land base, something Tŝideldel and Tl’etinqox both completely support.
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