A unit crew from the BC Forest Service was in town last week, clearing out some potentially hazardous natural materials in the Selkirk Heights area.
The Monashee Unit Crew from Revelstoke was conducting fuel management between the Selkirk Heights area and the Bowle-Evans Forest Service Road on Thursday July 19. They were originally supposed to stay for five days, but left after one when they were bumped to number one on the emergency response list.
“What we’re doing here is fuel management, and we do it in order to limit fire activity in certain areas, especially areas surrounding communities like the development up here. So it’s a way of protecting the neighbourhood,” said Jacob Henson, crew leader.
The initiative (Fuel Management Prescription), represents a multi-year planning and implementation project supported in part by provincial funding and required of communities with significant interface wildfire potential within their boundaries. The acquisition of BC Forest Service firefighting personnel to undertake this portion of the initiative this year represents an approximate $44,000 in savings to the Town of Golden in costs to the overall project, according to the Town.
“Golden actually needs it. Golden has all this dry, what we call ladder fuels. When fire climbs up the trees, it’s these ladder fuels that bring it up there. And there’s a ton of really dense ladder fuels all around Golden. So if a fire was to encroach around Golden, we’d have a hard time stopping it because of the kind of steam it could build. So what we’re doing is limiting it’s ability to move,” said Henson.
The five-day plan included removing all the dead brush and trees in the area. Thursday the crew’s job was to remove all the pine beetle wood, which will later get bucked for firewood.
“It opens the area up, and give it more of a parkesque look, in the sense that it won’t be so dense that you can’t see through it. It will be pretty open, you’ll be able to see the big trees, and they’ll have more room to grow,” said Henson.
“From a local standpoint it’s nice because with the animals that stay close to town, you’ve got a bigger sight line. So for people who walk around here, especially with their kids, you can see more than the edge of the trail, you’ll be able to see a ways into the bush as well. So it’s fire prevention, but then it also has other benefits as well.”
After a wet and cold spring and early summer, the fire season is starting to heat up. All over B.C. and North America it is starting to get hot and dry. But before too many fires start up, the crews are finding plenty of preventitive work to keep them busy.
“When there’s no fires in B.C., it’s nice to have stuff like this to do. In Revelstoke we’re building bike trails, and we’re helping with rec sites, but it’s nice to be able to get into the bush and do some work that helps the town as well,” said Henson.