West Kiskatinaw River Wildfire Review

A review of the damage caused to the Community Forest area

Duncan McKellar
Posted Date

Did the recent wildfire of 2023 burn into the Community Forest?

The West Kiskatinaw wildfire burnt approximately 25,100 ha of forest just north of Bearhole Lake Provincial Park. Approximately 2,500 ha burnt into the CF license area.  The impacts of the fire are under review this summer, however we do know three plantations in the area were burnt and require reforestation.  Salvage opportunities of the mature timber are currently under review.

Although the impacts of the fire or the license area are just underway, an initial visit in June 2023 suggest the wildfire was extremely intense in some areas within the fire perimeter.  Not only were tree limbs burnt off the stems, but all the ground cover was a casualty of the fire.  Reforestation of these areas will be determined in the next few years as to leave for natural ingress or to replant areas that does not have sufficient seed source Reforestation costs for wildfires in crown stands are funded from government programs.

Work done to date:

  • June 6, 2023, the West Kiskatinaw River fire sparked by lightning consumed approx. 2,300 ha of the Community Forest in and around the M road northeast of the town.
  • Two of the three Community Forest plantations were consumed by the fire and the third sustained 20% burnt area. These blocks will be replanted under Section 108 of the Forest Act and funded by government.
  • On July 28, 2023, the Community Forest management flew over the fire damaged area to determine if some of the damaged timber could be salvaged.  The fire burnt extremely hot, destroying most of the fibre in its path.
  • Although much of the area within the Community Forest burn area was immature stands, it was concluded that salvage of the mature timer in the within the Community Forest fire perimeter is not economic to market due to the severity of damage to the boles of the trees and the low stand volumes.
  • A future re-inventory of the forest licence area will be conducted to determine the impact of future fibre flow and annual allowable cut.
Aerial view over the burnt forest area left by the Kiskatinaw River wildfire
Aerial view over the burned area
Close up of warning sign showing the surrounding damage