Mayor puts pressure on Ministry of Forests

As forest fire season draws ever closer, Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen says he’s concerned about what the 2011 season will bring.

As forest fire season draws ever closer, Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen says he’s concerned about what the 2011 season will bring.

“We’re very concerned.”

“In our district we’ve gone from losing in an average year around 150-160 hectares to last year around 50,000 hectares … those numbers are just too huge.”

Several community leaders, from Vanderhoof, Fort St James, Fraser Lake, three First Nations communities and the Regional District of Bulkey Nechako, met with representatives of the Northwest Fire Centre in Burns Lake the week before last to discuss possible forest management plans to reduce the risk of such widespread fires.

“Whether it’s harvesting changes or some kind of forest management plan – we need to make sure that we do everything possible not to have those kind of intense fires that we had in 2010.”

“We have to be very careful because it’s the future of our children both in the First Nations community and the community of Vanderhoof,” said Thiessen.

He added that several community leaders have also written to the ministry of forests requesting that an audit be carried out of the 2010 forest fires in the area.

“We have written asking for an audit and we will be writing again asking for an audit,” said Thiessen.

Another meeting to discuss forest fires has been planned for April 21 at the Regional District office.