Pacific BioEnergy Corp. achieved another milestone Friday by planting its first seedling in the Bobtail Fire Biomass Recovery Area west of Prince George.
In 2015, the Bobtail area was hit by a major early season wildfire which burned an area covering 25,533 hectares. The extent of the damage in the fire area prevented salvage by the traditional forest industry.
In 2019, PacBio reached agreement with one of the major licensees in the area to salvage some of the burned fibre utilizing their bioenergy licence. In order to complete the harvesting, PacBio hired several local contractors to harvest the burned fibre and truck it to the company’s Prince George plant to make wood pellets. Had this harvesting not occurred, the fibre would have remained on site and decayed in the forest releasing greenhouse gases for many years.
Through tree planting and utilizing this fibre, PacBio has effectively changed the Bobtail fire area from a carbon source to a carbon sink while at the same time restoring the forest ecosystem and reforesting the site for the benefit of future generations.
“Today is another milestone event for PacBio,” said John Stirling, PacBio president. “We’ve led the wood pellet industry in the development of innovative fibre supply strategies including grinding and trucking harvest residuals which would have been ‘piled and burned’. Harvest residuals include low-grade, beetle-killed, and deciduous logs that the sawmills and pulp and paper mills can’t use. Our ability to access this material has allowed us to supplement our fibre supply and keep our PG plant operating. It has also enabled us to help advance reforestation of this area that was devastated by the 2015 wildfire by planting over one million seedlings in the coming weeks. In addition to the fibre supply, and carbon benefits, we are pleased to support local employment in these challenging times.”