Healing the land after wildfires: Lessons from St’at’imc Nation

CBC News
February 26, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

In 2021, a deadly heat dome produced a devastating wildfire season across British Columbia. While immediate media coverage often focuses on evacuations and the numbers of homes destroyed, many First Nations say what these fires do to the land in their territories — and the cultural lives of their communities — is often overlooked. IDEAS visited St’át’imc territory around Lillooet, B.C. to learn how 21st-century wildfires are reshaping the landscape — and their consequences for plants, animals, and humans alike. This two part-series follows a post-wildfire research project led by northern St’át’imc Nations — Ts’kw’aylaxw, Xwísten, and T’it’q’et-P’egp’íg’lha — alongside the Indigenous Ecology Lab at UBC and the Lillooet Regional Invasive Species Society. More than two years after the McKay Creek wildfire, the nation and their co-researchers are working to document the effects of wildfires — and to chart a new future based on Indigenous approaches to healing and balancing an ecosystem.

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