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Planned salvage logging near Sicamous prompts look at debris flow risk

Columbia Shuswap Regional District to wait for investigation results before commenting
Areas of high intensity burns that occurred in the Wiseman Creek watershed over the summer of 2021 are where a debris flow is likely to begin. (BGC Engineering photo)

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is working with an engineering firm to determine whether salvage logging set to take place in areas burnt by the 2021 Two Mile Road wildfire would increase already heightened debris flow risks.

According to BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) 2022 Okanagan-Columbia Sales Schedule, salvage logging is planned from April 1 to June 30 at two locations near the “Sicamous Fire.”

One proposed location would see an estimated 36,000 cubic metres of sale volume logged across 40 hectares, while the other would see 12,000 cubic metres of sale volume logged across 72.1 hectares.

Another 29,500 cubic metres of salvage logging across 54.8 hectares is planned to take place near the “Mara Wiseman” fire between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.

On Dec. 13, 2021, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) held a community meeting at the Red Barn Arts Centre in Sicamous to discuss post-wildfire debris flow risks in the Two Mile area.

Matthius Jakob and Hazel Wong, of BGC Engineering, led the meeting. BGC has been working in the area of Wiseman Creek for the past nine years and conducted a post-wildfire assessment there in October.

A key point shared at the meeting involved the Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park, at the mouth of Wiseman Creek in Two Mile, being at increased risk of debris flows.

CSRD protective services team leader Derek Sutherland said the CSRD was referred BCTS’ 2022 Okanagan-Columbia Sales Schedule and had concerns the proposed salvage logging could increase the risk of a debris flow.

Sutherland said the CSRD has asked BGC Engineering to provide it a “letter that involves literature review on salvage logging.”

“They’re going to give us their thoughts and opinions on what we should be concerned about and what issues, if any, are present with the salvage logging operations… proposed for those areas.”

He added the CSRD will be waiting to receive BGC’s letter before providing comment back to BCTS regarding the 2022 Okanagan-Columbia Sales Schedule. “Usually BCTS gives us enough time to make an informed decision.”

Read more: Sicamous trailer park at increased risk of debris flow following summer’s wildfire

Read more: Shuswap residents celebrate BCTS decision to not log in ‘high debris flow hazard’ area
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