About 45 people turned out for Thunder Ridge’s first FireSmart working bee on Saturday. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Fernie ski hill community gets FireSmart

Thunder Ridge is the latest community to join the national fire prevention program

Linda Hunter has lived on the ski hill for two decades but in recent years she has become more aware of the threat of wildfires.

Just last summer, several fires flared up on Lizard Range near Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR), not far from the condos, which Hunter calls home.

On Saturday, the Thunder Ridge community took steps to reduce their wildfire risk, hosting a FireSmart working bee with about 45 people, including FAR staff.

“In the past couple of years, we’ve really noticed the risk of fire and seen how it affects other communities, so I think this is a great chance to make an impact here on the hill,” said Hunter, who is the Thunder Ridge community champion.

FireSmart is a national program that encourages shared responsibility for fire protection and aims to empower individuals, communities, and industry to directly reduce the risk from wildfires in or near populated areas.

There are currently 13 active FireSmart communities in Fernie, including three from the ski hill.

Hunter took part in a community champion workshop last fall and helped organize Saturday’s working bee.

“We’re going to be focused on the highest risk area that was identified when the fire department did their assessment last October and that’s right behind Thunder Ridge in between the Elk Chair and Thunder Ridge, and also the south side of Hobbits Trail,” she said.

Lt. Troy MacLachlan from the Fernie Fire Department explained why this area was important.

“That’s a dangerous area because one, the chairlift is right there and in the summer months you have a lot of the bikers… even mountain bikes now with disc brakes, how hot they get… if they fall in dry bush, that can become an issue,” he said.

“The reason they’re focusing in behind is because the brush on the ground, we want to get it off the ground, clean up the area so that fire can’t travel along the ground as easily.”

The Thunder Ridge community thanked local realtors Sandra Goode and Jason Andreola, and Tim Hortons for their donations of drinks and snacks to the working bee.

On Thursday, May 9, Fernie residents can learn how to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency events, such as wildfires, at a free emergency preparedness workshop.

The event is being hosted by the City of Fernie at The Arts Station from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and includes a cash bar with all proceeds going to the Fernie Firefighters Association.


Just Posted

Strong volleyball culture contributes to Fernie club’s success

Three youth teams make nationals; club to introduce outdoor volleyball this summer

Elk Valley pride groups celebrate milestone

LGBTQ community marks 50 years since decriminalization

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

VIDEO: Sick eagle released back into wild

Three months after a golden eagle suffering from lead poisoning was found… Continue reading

New program to get Elk Valley youth into workforce

Elk Valley once again facing labour shortage with over 150 job vacancies

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Sparwood Save-On-Foods partners with Food Share

A Sparwood supermarket is on its way to becoming waste free after… Continue reading

Sparwood coal mine to expand in October

Baldy Ridge Extension to extend life of EVO until 2045, increase the disturbance area by 862ha

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Most Read