The City of Prince George was provided a "Probationary" Community Forest Agreement (CFA) in 2006 to harvest timber on Crown lands within the City limits. The license was extended to October 31, 2016. The main objectives of harvesting activities are to reduce wildfire hazards, and to salvage mountain pine beetle-killed pine trees in the interests of public safety.
CFA operational harvesting (also referred to as "fuel treatments") must respect the rural, urban and natural values associated with working within the municipal boundaries and within neighborhoods and around people's homes. Much of the work involves hand work or small, specialized equipment to reduce brush, remove dead or hazard trees, and prune mature trees in order to reduce the intensity and rate of spread of a wildfire and provide a better chance for fire-supression crews to control a fire. In order to avoid added air quality impacts, forest debris and slash is not burned on site, but rather chipped and removed or spread on site. Therefore this work is much more expensive than conventional logging and the City appreciates the grant funding programs from the Federal and Provincial governments that support this important work.
UPDATE (May 2014):
- Please note that the sites in the CFA that were identified as a high priority for wildfire hazard mitigation and that meet the criteria for the provincial grant funding (managed through the Union of BC Municipalities Strategic Wildfire Program) have been treated for fuel reductions. Through this work since 2006, the CFA has treated 508 hectares and an additional 85 hectares along the Cranbrook Hill Greenway Trail. This work involved operations in small patches, selective removal in most cases, and contending with many constraints including steep slopes, proximity to private property and structures, challenging access, public safety and the need for small equipment and hand work.
- Since no other CFA sites qualified for wildfire hazard mitigation grant funding, City Council directed staff to work with the Provincial government to retire the CFA licence. The Prince George still has significant forest stands in and arround the city, and with that, wildfire hazards will remain an important part of the City's monitoring with help from the Provincial government. There are important things that home owners can do to lessen their risk, such as keeping vegetation at least 10 metres from their home, keeping gutters and roofs clean of needles, keeping anything combustable (such as firewood) away from homes and decks. For more information on what home owners can do, please visit: www.firesmartcanada.ca
- The City wishes to thank the volunteers who participated for many years on the CFA Advisory Committee, and to the excellent work provided by our consulting foresters from Industrial Forest Service (IFS) and from our contractor TDB Consultants Ltd.
The overarching objective for the community forest is to improve the safety and quality of life for the residents of the City of Prince George. This is in keeping with the principles that provide a foundation for the vision of the Official Community Plan (OCP), which include “A Focus on Quality of Life”, “Environmental Stewardship”, and “Social Responsibility”, among others. The urban interface wildfire hazard is at the forefront of the need to manage the Crown lands within the city, for the safety and quality of life of all residents.