Viewpoint: ‘Water dome’ deployed to protect Shuswap sawmill during wildfire

By Jim Cooperman
The Salmon Arm Observer
May 31, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Some people may think it was a miracle that the Interfor sawmill at Adams Lake survived the firestorm on August 18, 2023. In reality, the mill is operational today because of foresight, much hard work and many thousands of gallons of water. The effort to protect the mill began in 2017 when a lightning strike ignited a fire on the hillside above the mill, which an Interfor team managed to extinguish with shovels, “piss” cans, pumps and hoses that had to be dragged by hand to the fire. After the 2017 fire, the forestry staff realized how vulnerable the mill was and they began to plan how best to create fire breaks that could protect them during the next fire. Through a carefully thought-out combination of small clearcuts, thinning and the opening of old roads, the fuel was significantly reduced on the hillside forest above the mill. 

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