Every effort was made to find a use for wood logged to create a wildfire buffer west of the community before burning what was left, says the District of Houston.
Smoke from fires deliberately set has been drifting into the community, drawing complaints from residents and others.
The project is being financed with the help of a $1 million grant from the provincial Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. agency with the goal of first ridding the area between the Buck Flats Road and the Morice Forest Service Road of fire fuels and then constructing a buffer while also replanting with species less susceptible to wildfire.
In a May 6 release, the District indicated wood from the location went to “two local sawmills, the pellet plant, a fence post manufacturer, a commercial firewood processor, a pulp mill in Prince George as well as allowing the public access for personal firewood.”
“However, there is still material which is unsuitable for use in manufactured forest products consisting of treetops, branches, stems and rotted deciduous stands.”
Leaving that behind would provide fuel for a potential wildfire, the District says.
As of last week 170 hectares has been burned off leaving 103 hectares to go.
The BC Wildfire Service is doing the burning and only when weather and wind conditions are favourable, the District adds.
For those affected by smoke, the District advises contacting Health Link BC at 811 if there’s difficulty breathing or experiencing chest pain or discomfort, coughing or airway irritation.
It also suggests using a portable air cleaner at home, avoiding strenuous exercise outdoors and drinking lots of water to help reduce inflammation.
As it is, Houston perennially ranks high on the list of communities where the amount of particulate matter in the air presents a health concern.
“Resident concerns about air quality and particulate matter are being taken seriously and protecting the health and well-being of our community remains a top priority,” says the District.
Profits from the sale of wood will be used to set up a District of Houston legacy fund and spent on community enhancement efforts.