City boundary wildfire mitigation activities move forward
After a recent tour of the City of Cranbrook’s southern forested border, Mayor Lee Pratt feels that it was appropriate to thank the dedicated individuals and organizations responsible for the excellent Wildfire Risk Reduction (WRR) work that has been completed.
To date, more than 300 hectares of forested lands have had fuel treatments applied to them reduce the risk of approaching wildfires. This work has had funding in excess of $1 million applied through the province’s Wildfire Risk Reduction Program.
“This is an issue that has taken years of lobbying, meetings and hard work. We are finally seeing progress with respect to the fuel problem, and I have to thank our partners in government and industry for that,” said Mayor Pratt. “It’s an issue that I have spoken to multiple (provincial government) ministers about, and to see the great work that has been completed certainly helps me sleep at night.”
This has long been a concern for the city, and with the traditionally low value wood fibre in these areas the community was not getting anywhere.
The situation does appear to have changed recently, with the excellent support of staff at the local Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (MFLNRORD) District Office, Paper Excellence has initiated a large portion of this work under contract for the province’s WRR Program.
“There has been a lot of really beneficial work completed in our surrounding forests over the last few years, and it’s important that the public realizes how valuable this is to our community,” said Scott Driver, Director of Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services.
“Our drinking water, our trail networks, our community’s identity all depends on having a healthy forest ecosystem. We have had to adjust the way we look at forest health, and to do what we need to recognize the values that harvest opportunities can return to our landscape. We are seeing vast tracts of land south of the city being treated under the WRR Program at present and hopefully this will roll into a maintenance model for the future.”
“This is a significant change to the traditional model, and it has proven to be beneficial both for the landscape and our economy,” said Mayor Pratt, adding, “we are really seeing value added forest practices, and that’s good for everyone in the community.”
Lead image: Thinned forest, part of the City of Cranbrook’s Wildfire Risk Reduction program south of the city. Photos provided by the Ministry of Forest, Land, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development