Skeetchestn fire keeper Joe Gilchrist is on a mission to make the regenerative burning practices his grandfather taught him commonplace. At stake is an important practice for culture, food security and the future of B.C.'s forests.
The White Rock Lake wildfire hammered B.C.'s Paxton Valley last summer, levelling houses, destroying ranchland and killing cattle. But even after the worst of the fire had moved on, residents knew one nasty wind could whip up the flames again.
Ten thousand years ago, when the last ice age gave way to the Holocene, a great migration was triggered in North America: trees began travelling northward, colonizing newly thawed landscapes at a pace of up to 500 metres a year. In a geoclimatic blink of an eye, trees colonized 38 per cent of the landmass now known as Canada, ultimately giving us nearly a 10th of all the forest in the world.
At least 50,000 hectares of the at-risk forest identified by the province for logging deferrals — an area four times the size of Vancouver — is already approved for logging, has approvals pending or may already be cut down, says the Wilderness Committee.
Canada's continent-spanning forest used to remove massive amounts of CO2 from the air each year. It was a hugely valuable "carbon sink", slowing the pace of climate change and benefiting our logging industry.