The City of Cranbrook will be conducting a prescribed burn starting on Wednesday, March 30 with the potential for smoke to be visible from Cranbrook, Kimberley, ʔaq’am, Fort Steele and surrounding highways.
The prescribed burn will take place near the Canadian Rockies International Airport and will straddle the road entrance to the airport.
The purpose of the burn, the City says, is to control fuel loads and limit conifer regeneration. It will take place so long as weather conditions and the venting index remain favourable.
“We are tackling this work as part of a larger coordinated effort to protect communities and infrastructure with our partners and neighbours in ʔaq’am, Kimberley, the BC Wildfire Service, MFLNRORD staff and local industry,” the City of Cranbrook said, adding that there are a few key goals for the burn.
Those goals include reducing accumulations of dead wood and other combustable material, promoting ecological biodiversity by suppressing growth-regenerating trees and reducing wildfire severity.
“Fire is a very normal and natural process in this ecosystem, and it is our intention to return this landscape to a healthy, fire resistive state,” the City said.
The burn comes as Cranbrook’s Fire and Emergency Services received word of their successful application to the 2022 Community Resilience Initiative Firesmart Funding and Supports Grant.
The City has been awarded $149,640 to carry out fuel treatments, prescribed burning and Firesmart program supports, according to the City Council agenda for Monday, March 28. The City intends to use much of the 2022 funding for a continuation of wildfire hazard treatments at the airport.
“We continue to build off of our 2020 and 2021 projects and are extending treatments east of the airport property where it will eventually connect to a large 1,500 hectare treatment unit on the adjacent ʔaq’am community lands,” Scott Driver, Director of Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services, wrote in the Council agenda. “Along with continued Firesmart initiatives, this work is helping to protect the city and its residents from the significant impacts of interface wildfire and is necessary in perpetuity as Cranbrook is surrounded by thousands of hectares of fire-adapted forests.”
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