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Pacheedaht ask old-growth logging protesters to leave due to fire risk

Citing increased risk of wildfires, the Pacheedaht First Nation is asking protesters to vacate the Fairy Creek area and other forested areas during the extreme heat.
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May 11, 2021: A sign is shown at the entrance to Eden blockade in the Fairy Creek area near Port Renfrew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne

Citing increased risk of wildfires, the Pacheedaht First Nation is asking protesters to vacate the Fairy Creek area and other forested areas during the extreme heat.

The nation said it’s worried about the possibility that human-caused wildfires could threaten the Pacheedaht community, businesses and natural resources, including old-growth forests in the Fairy Creek area.

“With old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek watershed now deferred for two years, an integrated resource management planning process underway and with the increased risk of forest fires due to high temperatures, there is no reason for the protesters to continue to occupy our traditional territory,” said Jeff Jones, chief councillor of the Pacheedaht. “We respectfully reiterate our request for protesters to leave our traditional territory and let our nation get on with the business of deciding how best to manage our ḥahahuułi [traditional territories].”

In a statement, the nation also noted it is the constitutional right of First Nations to decide what is best for their lands, waters and resources for the well-being of present and future generations.

This month, the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations signed the Hišuk ma c’awak Declaration, declaring that in accordance with its traditional laws, aboriginal rights and title and treaty rights, its governance and stewardship responsibilities in the traditional territories must be acknowledged and respected.