The City of Fernie will be conducting wildfire fuel management in the Ridgemont area to reduce the risk of wildfire to the community.
The fuel management project is being funded by a $150,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust, and a $35,000 contribution from the City of Fernie, and will cover the area around St. Margaret’s Cemetery that was identified as a top priority in the City’s 2018 Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
The work will be completed over an 8-week period beginning later this month and will involve removing ground fuels, pruning, thinning of the smallest diameter trees, thinning the understory, and removing sick or dead trees to better protect nearby residences by making the area more resilient to wildfire. The tree removal will be selective, leaving behind a resilient stand of trees that will continue to provide the community with the forest values expected from municipal land.
Due to the nature of the terrain, the majority of the fuel management will be done by hand using chainsaws, but residents can expect to see some machinery in the area, an increase in traffic, periodic closures of recreational trails and an accumulation of material forming slash piles that will be burnt this spring, accompanied by smoke during the burning on days with favourable smoke dispersion.
The work will be conducted during daylight hours and the sound of chainsaws and equipment may be heard during that time. The timeline for this project has been selected to limit ground disturbance and to observe migratory bird regulations.
Here are some of the things you can expect during the 8-week project:
• contractors in the area removing ground fuels, pruning, thinning, and removing sick or dead trees mainly by hand using chainsaws
• an increase in area traffic
• periodic closures of recreational trails
• accumulation of material forming slash piles that will be burnt in the spring
• localized smoke during burning