Tree Talk| 2 min read

Restoring Williams Lake: Our Wildfire Reforestation Mission

In 2023, Canadian forest fires set records for their duration and destruction, impacting wildlife, people, and communities. Wildfires from years before have also devastated our land, especially British Columbia's Cariboo region. Learn what we’re doing to restore the area.

Wildfires are happening every year, and they are causing, what feels like, more destruction each year.

While some fires are natural or part of a controlled burn, wildfire intensity and frequency are currently out of balance in our country. In the summers of 2017, 2018, and 2021, British Columbia, Canada, faced devastating wildfires — particularly in the Cariboo region. These fires scorched over 1.3 million hectares of land, damaging the forests and soil. In 2023, our forest fires set records for their duration and destruction.

The Hanceville fire of 2017 alone ravaged ancient Douglas-fir forests, which are essential for deer during harsh winters when their usual food sources are buried under deep snow. And these fires didn’t just impact wildlife; they also disrupted Indigenous communities by destroying traditional hunting grounds and food sources.

But there are actions we can take to replenish the land after wildfires and prevent the spread of future fires.

Planting with Zanzibar through ReLeaf

Planting a sapling (Greenforce Staffing/Unsplash)

We have already supported the planting of a million trees in post-wildfire areas through our ReLeaf program, but we’re not stopping there. To help continue to restore this beautiful part of our home, we’re teaming up with our planting partner, Zanzibar, to continue reforesting the area. Together we’ll plant a diverse mix of species, including:

  • Douglas fir
  • Lodgepole pine
  • Ponderosa pine
  • Hybrid spruce
  • Cedar
  • Western larch

These tree species will be planted in Williams Lake, BC, a city in the heart of BC’s Cariboo region and within the Secwepemc traditional territory. Due to seed source destruction or soil degradation, many tree species lost in wildfires may either not regrow on their own or take decades to regenerate naturally. Active reforestation efforts help accelerate the recovery of these forests, ensuring biodiversity is maintained, and critical habitats are restored.

To mitigate future wildfire risk, Zanzibar uses forest management practices like planting Aspen as natural fuel breaks and plans to replant in the area in the case of future fires. This project will also provide work to local communities, particularly the Yunesit’in First Nation. From managerial tasks to site preparation, many locals are involved in this seasonal work.

This reforestation project aims to foster a thriving forest through assisted natural regeneration. With the support of our community, we’re committed to protecting the world we play in by reforesting the land, repairing the ecosystems damaged by wildfires, and doing what we can to prevent future ones.

By planting trees for every item you purchase, it’s our mission to plant 1 billion trees by 2030. Visit our website to get planting today.

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