Beehive Burners Behind Us

 Paintings of Beehive Burners in Central B.C. by Lou Englehart

 

March 2020 - T.B.A. 

DUE TO THE CURRENT COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THIS EXHIBIT IS NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. 

Please visit our channel on YouTube "Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum" for a virtual tour of the exhibit. 

WE HOPE TO OPEN THE EXHIBIT TO THE PUBLIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE. 

Thousands of sawmills and planers, large and small, littered British Columbia’s landscape throughout the mid-twentieth century. Enormous amounts of sawdust, bark and other waste wood accumulated at these sites. This biproduct was buried and burned in open pits in an attempt to control the refuse. 

As a follow up to these techniques, conical steel “beehive” burners were designed to incinerate waste wood in a controlled and safe way. They soon became a fixture at almost every saw and planer mill in the province.  The many burners in Prince George produced a lot of ash and smoke which caused the atmosphere to become clouded.  

It was clear to artist, Louis J.  Englehart (1915-1989), that the technology of the beehive burner would not be utilized forever due to their environmental impact. He travelled to mill sites and created watercolor sketches of the beehive burners he saw. Englehart used these sketches as the base of the paintings exhibited here. These sketches are now stored at the Royal BC Museum. It was important to Englehart to record the B.C. landscape before the burners vanished. 

The BC government enacted the Environmental Management Act in 1997. Burners now require a permit to burn wood waste. Today there are only 33 burning facilities in B.C. Many abandoned beehive burners can still be spotted in the Central Interior of B.C. They are slowly decaying and being absorbed by the natural landscape.