In order to restore the health of local forests that had been adversely impacted by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, in 2009 the Cheslatta Carrier Nation undertook a forest fuel management project that has selectively harvested dead standing pine surrounding the Ootsa Lake Sawmill and has left all harvested fibre within the tree stands to regenerate a future healthy forest ecosystem.
This fuel management project included ten blocks of Crown land surrounding the Ootsa Lake Sawmill, with a treated area covering 82.2 hectares. In addition to the labour intensive work within the forests under this project, a Fuel Management Operational Plan was developed that guided the project and will continue to be used by Cheslatta for future forest regeneration projects. The work was completed largely by hand crews, with limited support of heavy equipment that was only used when required for worker safety. The work crew was entirely comprised of local individuals from Cheslatta and other local First Nations.
The fuel management project targeted dead pine trees and dense understory timber that increases the risk of an unmanagable forest fire considerably. The removal of this dead forest content will greatly protect the Ootsa Lake Sawmill which is a principal industrial asset for the Cheslatta Carrier Nation and its neighbouring First Nations.