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Fire Department continues wildfire risk reduction efforts around Kimberley

Wildfire risk reduction efforts continue around Kimberley through a partnership between the local fire department, the provincial government, and Canfor.

The City of Kimberley said the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development completed 80 hectares of fuel treatment, while Canfor completed 185 hectares.

“We’ve had excellent support from the province for winding within the City’s boundary. We’ve been treating a lot of the nature parks, for instance,” said Rick Prasad, Kimberley Fire Chief. “The Province has been supportive and has been promoting work in the Matthew Creek area just northwest of town, and creating a fuel break in there.”

Prasad said Canfor and Skookumchuck Pulp Inc. have both been doing work in the area with mechanical thinning.

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The wood waste has been used by the companies to produce sawlogs, pulp chips and fuel to produce electricity.

The City of Kimberley said spring and summer fuel management operations will be underway in the near future. The work will be done through a partnership between the Cities of Kimberley and Cranbrook, BC Wildfire Service and industry contractors.

“We have some burning plans, and we’re hoping to see some smoke in the air in April. As long as conditions are conducive, we’re going to try burning off some of the treated areas to relieve the undergrowth so we can eliminate some of that fuel,” said Prasad.

According to the City, contractors will conduct prescribed burns in the areas around the Kimberley Nordic Centre and adjacent to Forest Crowne Estates on Highway 95A.

The burns are focused on fine fuels that create embers during a wildfire.

“Canfor is committed to safety and working with our local communities to help reduce the risk of wildfire. We were pleased to work in partnership with the Government of BC, City of Kimberley, Paper Excellence, Kimberley Trail Society and Kimberley Nature Park Society on a project south of the community to create a shaded fuel break to help prevent wildfires,” said Michelle Ward, Canfor Senior Director.

Kimberley is reminding residents to stay clear of any active wildfire risk mitigation projects, and stay alert for any road or trail closures. The public can also do its part by reducing wildfire risk on their property, such as removing any possible fuels.

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