Cayoose Creek Band

January 10, 2019

Forest Fuel Management Community Profile Honoring ~ Sekw’el’was

{Cayoose Creek Band}

Compliments of Tawnya J. Collins, RPF | Landscape Consulting Corporation [excerpts from CWPP Updated 2016]

The First Nation community of Sekw’el’was (Cayoose Creek Band) encompasses a total of 712 hectares within three individual Indian Reserves on the west side of the Fraser River near the District of Lillooet. There are 84 on- reserve community members as reported from the 2011 Census.

The First Nation community of Sekw’el’was (Cayoose Creek Band) is situated in the hot, dry Fraser Canyon region of British Columbia, an area where wildfires are a natural part of the landscape. Wildfires occur frequently, generally every 4 to 50 years in any given location.

Changing conditions in our climate and forests mean that wildfires are posing a greater risk to communities than ever before. The wildfires experienced in 2003 were some of the most catastrophic in recent British Columbian history. The Okanagan Mountain fire destroyed over 200 homes and resulted in the emergency evacuation of tens of thousands of residents. Closer to the Sekw’el’was community, the 2009 Mt. McLean fire burned 3,696 hectares and resulted in the evacuation of the entire communities of Sekw’el’was, Xwisten, T’ít’q’et and Lillooet.

The purpose of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is to guide the Sekw’el’was community in the management of wildfire risk within reserve lands and adjacent       crown lands.    It provides a prioritized  list of treatment areas  for  fuel management work.  Through the implementation of  this  plan, Sekw’el’was aims to become a fire-resilient community. Sekw’el’was received national recognition as a FireSmart Community in 2014, 2015, and renewal in 2017.

The CWPP WUI Area includes lands within a 2 kilometre radius of the community core. It includes reserve land, private land, and provincial crown land. Forests are made up of Ponderosa pine and Interior Douglas-fir ecosystems with varying aspect and topography. Ladder fuels exist throughout the forest; including shrubs, partly fallen trees, and low-hanging branches. In the event of wildfire, ladder fuels bring surface fires into the crowns of trees. Impacts from the Mountain Pine Beetle have increased the fuel load of dead standing and fallen trees, and increased ignition potential and risk of severe wildfire activity.

The overarching goal of the CWPP is to assist the Sekw’el’was community in managing wildfire risk to the community. Specifically, the CWPP will: 

  • Delineate the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Area around inhabited areas at risk of wildfire, including locations of homes and essential community infrastructure;
  • Determine wildfire threat throughout the WUI Area, 
  • Identify priority areas within the WUI 100 (Zone 1) & WUI 500 (Zone 2) for forest fuel reduction treatments and develop a detailed Treatment Plan, including maps, treatment methods and proposed costs
  • Provide recommendations to further the community efforts to be FireSmart and resilient, and
  • Provide a baseline to facilitate future landscape level planning processes within and beyond the WUI 2000 (Zone 3).

Sekw’el’was supports the Community Wildfire Protection Plan program and the opportunity to conduct forest fuel management work within and surrounding the community to reduce the wildfire threat, become fire-resilient, and protect the safety of its residents. A Band Council Resolution adopting the CWPP and supporting its implementation is included on the second page of this document.

To date, the Sekw’el’was community has successfully treated over 101 hectares of on- reserve and provincial crown land within the WUI Area from the Fall of 2007 through Spring 2016. In addition, the community fuel management crew has also successfully treated 4 hectares of adjacent BC Hydro land, and over 10 hectares of private land. The community has a trained, skilled, experienced and certified/qualified workforce that can be applied to forest fuel management activities. The community also has assembled the necessary equipment and resources to properly and safely conduct the operational ground treatment activities proposed in this CWPP. 

cayoose

Compliments of Sekw’el’was (Cayoose Creek Band): http://cayoosecreek.ca/community/about- cayoosh-creek/