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Fuel management burn planned for Elkford
Elkford residents may notice burning in the south end of the community next week, but don't worry about calling the fire department. The Southeast Fire Centre will be holding a fuel management burn for roughly five days, starting Monday, June 1.
“A lot of forests get overwhelmed with dead wood over the years with fires not running through them. We try to mimic what nature does by clearing out some of that so there's not a build up,” explained Jordan Turner, communications officer with the Southeast Fire Centre. “Basically, the objective is to increase public safety, both within and adjacent to the community of Elkford, to enhance the ability of the fire department to protect both the public and private property at risk due to these higher fuel loads, improve the natural barriers that reduce the fuel loads and wildfire risk, and increase the stability and diversity of wildlife habitats.”
The area in question is three hectares in size and located on the south end of Elkford, adjacent to Highway 43. It currently contains trees varying in density from about 1,700 to 7,000 stems per hectare.
Turner said they hope to lower that to only 700 stems per hectare.
“We're trying to reduce the possibility of crown fires,” he said. “Crown fires are fires that are not low level burning fires. They're bigger, higher intensity fires that are in the tops of trees and pass from tree to tree. We're trying to reduce that by about 40 per cent.”
Turner went on to say, “As far as impact to to the community, there could be some smoke from the piles burning when we take down these fuels, but we will comply with all Ministry of Environment smoke regulations and limit the impact as much as possible.”
The fuel management project is a collaboration with the district of Elkford. Two 20-person unit crews from Cranbrook will begin the burn on Monday and hope to have the work finished by Friday.