Wildfire Management in BC Community Forests

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BC Community Forest Perspectives and Engagement in Wildfire Management 2020 Report

BC Community Forest Perspectives and Engagement in Wildfire Management 2020
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Report Summary

This research draws on interviews with 24 Community Forests across BC conducted in the summer of 2019 as a follow-up to our Community Views on Wildfire Survey Reports in 2018 and 2020.


BC Community Forests have emerged as leaders in addressing wildfire risk around communities and the forests on which they depend by employing innovative solutions through planning, fuels treatments, building capacity for wildfire response, and homeowner preparedness and community outreach. However, limited financial capacity, a lack of operational and scientific expertise, community expectations and the limitations of existing planning and legislative frameworks continue to pose challenges to successful proactive wildfire management. Community Forests identified three priorities for future wildfire management, including refocusing management with a ‘fire lens,’ managing fire (including prescribed and cultural burning) for landscape resilience, and scaling up collaboration to the landscape level.


To support these priorities, our report highlights four key recommendations:

  1. Continue multi-year funding programs, supported by program specific liaisons and experts.

  2. Provide additional tools and training to overcome persistent capacity issues around wildfire science and best practices for fuel treatments, including prescribed fire and cultural burning led by Indigenous communities.

  3. Continue to revisit forestry planning and legislative frameworks, such as the Forest and Range Practices Act, to prioritize wildfire risk reduction where appropriate.

  4. Expand government outreach positions dedicated to building synergistic collaborations that address wildfire risk at multiple scales beyond the Community Forest tenure.


Acknowledgements

We thank the interview participants for providing their views and insights. Project partners for this work comprise: the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), First Nations’ Emergency Services Society (FNESS), BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA) and BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).



This study was conducted by researchers in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. Funding was provided by a Community Solutions Grant from the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia.




Research Team

Dr. Lori D. Daniels

Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

lori.daniels@ubc.ca


Dr. Shannon M. Hagerman

Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

shannon.hagerman@ubc.ca


Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz

Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

kelsey.copes-gerbitz@ubc.ca


Sarah Dickson-Hoyle

Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

sarah.dickson-hoyle@ubc.ca



Citation

Copes-Gerbitz, K., S. Dickson-Hoyle, S.M. Hagerman, and L.D. Daniels. 2020. BC Community Forest Perspectives and Engagement in Wildfire Management. Report to the Union of BC Municipalities, First Nations’ Emergency Services Society, BC Community Forest Association and BC Wildfire Service. September 2020. 49 pp.