Salvage Logging after a Wildfire at Sitkum Creek
In 2007, a wildfire burned in the Sitkum Creek Watershed, near Nelson. The Ministry of Forests and Range (MFR) has approved salvage harvesting of fire-damaged timber in the watershed, to begin in late May 2009. The salvage harvesting is aimed at recovering damaged timber, but is also to address conditions that could lead to a spruce bark beetle outbreak.
In February 2009, the Forest Practices Board received a complaint from a resident of the Sitkum Creek alluvial fan – an area prone to debris flooding. The complainant believes that the MFR has not sufficiently taken into account the increased risk to life, property and water quality created by the fire and posed by the proposed salvage logging. When faced with the prospect of salvage harvesting, the complainant would rather accept the potential consequences of a possible spruce bark beetle infestation than any additional risk posed by harvesting. In addition, the complainant is not convinced that there is a strong, scientific rationale for harvesting to address the spruce bark beetle.
The district manager believes that, if nothing is done about the beetle infestation, the risk to downstream resources may eventually be greater than the risk associated with salvage harvesting the cutblock.