Wildfire audit of oil and gas sites coming to Fort St. John next week

An oil and gas rig in Northern B.C. File photo

The Forest Practices Board will audit the fire protection activities of oil and gas operators in the Lower Beatton Landscape Unit, in the Peace district, during the week of September 21th, for compliance with the Wildfire Act.

The audit will include whether the operators have completed fire hazard assessments, treated any identified forest fuel hazards, and have sufficient fire suppression tools and water delivery systems on active sites.

Chair of the Forest Practices Board Tim Ryan says the rampant wildfires this summer didn’t bring on any of these audits – they are conducted on a fairly random basis every three to five years.

In audits this year, Ryan says a number of forest companies had room for improvement in regards to how they identify and eliminate hazards on their sites.

He said he doesn’t foresee any problems for the auditor.

“We anticipate everything will go well, the oil and gas operators are very diligent with respect to fires … We except to see some excellent operations.”

The auditor will be in the region for about a week, no work will be shut down because of this process.

The audit area covers 500,000 hectares, surrounded by the Halfway River to the west, the Blueberry River to the north, the Peace River to the south and the Alberta border to the east.

Once the audit work is completed, a report will be prepared, and any party that may be adversely affected by the audit findings will have a chance to respond. The board’s final report and recommendations then will be released to the public and government.

The board audits forest and range practices on public land, as well as appropriateness of government enforcement.

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