Westbank First Nation builds a unique plan for wildfire mitigation

Indigenous practices are the future — and past — of wildfire prevention

By Aaron Hemens
The Discourse
March 2, 2022
Photo features the Westbank CF Team during a presentation at the @BC_CFA  2021 Conference

In 2021, the Mount Law wildfire near West Kelowna scorched 976 hectares of land. …the wildfire burned for over 19 days before crews Contained the spread. Miraculously, only one structure was damaged. Favourable weather and dedicated firefighters managed to control the blaze, but the groundwork for keeping the area relatively unscathed was laid by Westbank First Nation (WFN) years before the first tree caught flame. …This boots-on-the-ground approach to wildfire mitigation is a part of syilx (Okanagan) culture and has been around for “years and years and years,” according to WFN councillor and NRLP president Jordan Coble. …While Dave Gill, the general manager of WFN-owned NRLP, acknowledged there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to managing a community forest and developing a wildfire mitigation plan, he said the recipe is to gather local stakeholders and First Nations to come up with a unique strategy that reflects community needs. READ MORE

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