Wildfire Protection Work Gearing Up
City-owned land parcels located adjacent to Iron Colt, Black Bear, South Belt and both sides of the Star Gulch reservoir will soon be getting a haircut. Rather than a little off the top, however, it will be a little off the bottom as the Fire-Start Fuel Treatment Project gets underway.
This past winter, all three Regional Districts·(RDKB, RDEK and RDCK) were awarded $5 million in grants for commencement of an Operational Fuel Management Program. The program, to be administered by B.A. Blackwell and Associates of Vancouver with local assistance provided by Don Mortimer, an interface fire protection specialist, is gearing up to get underway in August. .
23 hectares of city-owned land have been designated as a priority treatment area. The work to be done will include thinning from below, the removal of dead and diseased trees as well as the removal of ladder fuel and small woody surface debris. It is anticipated that the fuel removal will result in the renewal of forest health, improve the biodiversity of the forest as well as provide fire prevention measures to reduce the likelihood of extreme fire behavior in these areas. Where possible trees will be salvaged for firewood.
The current funding for this project comes through the Jobs Opportunity Fund OOP). The treatment work under the JOP program must be completed by March 31, 2011. The project will attempt to leverage additional funds through the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and if additional funding can be obtained, treatment work may continue beyond March 31,2011.
Initially, forestry professionals from BA Blackwell visited Rossland in late April and worked with local Project Manager Don Mortimer to lay out and prepare treatment prescriptions. The city will soon be issuing tenders; however, before work begins there will be public notification and a consultation opportunity.