Understanding and Assessing Impacts
The Wetzin’kwa Community Forest is near the Town of Smithers. Climate change has exacerbated wildfire threats in many communities in BC including within the Bulkley Valley. Under the right conditions, a fire could result and put community values and property at risk.
For residents of the Bulkley Valley, Hudson Bay Mountain Road is a key piece of local infrastructure and its protection helps to ensure protection of local values. The road provides vital connection to recreational areas for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and a variety of other activities, and allows for access to the local ski hill, Hudson Bay Mountain Resort, and the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre. Hudson Bay Mountain is home to functional subalpine and alpine ecosystems from grizzly bears and mountain goats to endangered Whitebark pine and is an iconic landscape feature in the Bulkley Valley and in the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest.
WCFC’s SWHMP and Tactical Plan indicate the need for the development of several wildfire reduction measures known as “prescriptions” due to the identification of several targeted stand types.
BC Wildfire Services fire weather stations indicate that during core fire season, prevailing peak burn wind directions could produce high head fire intensities and aggressive fire behaviour due to the current stand composition and structure along Hudson Bay Mountain Road. The alignment of critical winds and the presence of hazardous stand types makes the establishment of a fuel break a high priority to reduce the risk of wildfire to the community of Smithers. Additionally, maintaining the Hudson Bay Mountain Road corridor will be critical to support evacuation efforts from rural areas due to the presence of high public use areas during the fire season, as well as to support suppression efforts.
For additional climate information, look at the Resources section of this example (below).