The traditional role of many First Nations men was to tend the fire and otherwise take care of the salmon smoking, a process that can last for up to 4 days. The traditional knowledge behind the preservation of salmon, and the links between the health of salmon stocks and forests of interior B.C. (and recently, scientists have confirmed in their own ways) indicates that the health of salmon stocks has a direct relationship to the health of interior forest ecosystems. Eagles and bears claw out spawning fish from rivers and travel in all directions, leaving their nitrogen-rich droppings to nourish the forest flora as far as 200 km away from salmon-bearing rivers and streams.
The smokehouse was also used for smoking hides. Western-red cedar bark was good for smoking hides because of its low pitch content.