Spring can produce some of the most unexpected wild fires. Even though people look in the mountains and see snow; the contrast is the valley floor, where daytime temperatures can be 18 + C. Grass fires are most volatile in the Spring.
The first areas to plant will be the Fire Preparedness blocks. These areas were logged because the were identified as High-risk for wild fire. The risk was mitigated through harvest activities. Fire Preparedness is done in different ways, sometimes it is by harvesting and making fire breaks. It can also be removing the accumulation of dry lower branches and ground debris (fuel) from the forest floor adjacent to homes/ land owners. If there is a forest fire… the removal of fuel reduces the intensity of heat produced during a wild fire and therefore reduces loss.
Harvesting on the Fire Preparedness Blocks started in June and continued through until October. One of the blocks had an Archeological Overview Assessment. As well a Biologist was asked to review a raptor bird nest and to follow the protocol on the best way to proceed.
The Village of Valemount Community Wildfire Protection Plan (VCWPP) was commissioned in 2012. The VCF initiated the process of updating this plan in March 2018 and continue to treat high risk areas around Valemount and along the corridor towards Tete Jaune. The VCF is committed to help with Fire Preparedness for the community through planning and consultation.
Meetings were held with local agencies, the public and people who live adjacent to the most high-risk forests. The results of consultation were that some people were opposed to any harvest of the adjacent forest while others were frightened by the flammable forests in their back yards. Through this process, amendments were made to fuel management plans to accommodate concerns.
Some fuel management areas are not profitable to harvest as the trees are often non-commercial, dead and/or rotting. In spite of this, the VCF continues to discuss and plan work with the Village and the Valemount Wildfire Base staff to minimize risk by creating fuel breaks that will be defensible in the event of wildfire.
Other fuel management areas around Tete Jaune Cache also require planning but are beyond the boundaries of the Valemount Community Forest.