Dying and dry forests combined with an uncommon fuel load in the woods and long dry periods of weather threaten public safety, wildlife and traditional foods and medicines in rural communities. First Nations communities have recognized the need for protection from wildfires, particularly as the potential fire threat increases due to the devastating impacts from the mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic in the interior of British Columbia.
The First Nations Forestry Council (FNFC) recognizes the critical need in First Nations communities for protection from wildfires and plays an active role in the First Nations MPB Forest Fuel Management working group (FFMWG). The working group’s purpose is to support a team approach to the timely implementation of fuel management activities amongst organizations that are accountable for funding and delivering fuel management programs to MPB impacted First Nations Communities. Representatives from the following organizations form the FMWG:
- First Nations Forestry Council (FNFC)
- First Nations Emergency Services Society (FNESS)
- Ministry of Forests and Range (MFR)
- First Nations MPB Initiative (FNMPBI)
- Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)- Canadian Forest Service; and
- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
The working group is currently completing work on a responsibility matrix that will outline the role of each working group member in relation to fuel management programs and activities. The responsibility matrix and a status report will be posted to the website later this month, check back soon and check back often for updates.
A responsibility matrix identifies the roles and responsibilities of governments and other agencies in addressing wildfire protection and fuel management needs in First Nations territories and communities.