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Fire risk reduction info sessions in Williams Lake area

Two public information meetings will be held in the Williams Lake area to provide details about wildfire risk reduction projects that will be completed over the next two years in areas where urban development borders on forested areas.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development will direct these risk reduction projects and will host the following information sessions:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020
    7 p.m.
    Williams Lake City Hall
    450 Mart St.
    Williams Lake
  • Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020
    7 p.m.
    Miocene Community Hall
    3511 Horsefly Rd.
    150 Mile House

At each of these meetings, a presentation from ministry staff will be followed by a question-and-answer session. FireSmart information will be available for residents who wish to reduce wildfire hazards on private property.

Planned wildfire risk reduction projects in the Williams Lake area:

Preliminary fieldwork for these projects began in fall 2019, and the treatments will continue periodically over the next two years. Areas with steep slopes, fuel hazards or weather patterns that could affect wildfire behaviour have been prioritized, as well as areas close to residences or critical infrastructure.

A primary goal of these projects is to reduce the size and intensity of any future wildfires in the Williams Lake area, which will make it easier for firefighters to defend communities. Risk reduction activities may include:

  • removing hazardous trees and flammable shrubs;
  • reducing accumulations of woody debris and other fuels on the forest floor;
  • thinning forested areas; and
  • pruning low-hanging tree branches to help prevent fire from moving into the upper branches of trees.

About 1,200 hectares of interface land will be treated. Project areas include:

  • South Lakeside neighbourhood;
  • Williams Lake River Valley;
  • Highway 97 South corridor from Broadway Avenue North to the White Road area;
  • Highway 97 North corridor near the Williams Lake Regional Airport;
  • Soda Creek Road and MacKenzie Avenue North area;
  • Fox Mountain, including the Centennial Drive, Eider Drive and Pheasant Drive areas;
  • west side of Dog Creek Road (south of Gibbon Road) and east side of Dog Creek Road (south of Gun A Noot Trail);
  • Chimney Valley Road; and
  • Horsefly Road and Spokin Lake Road junction (Dewar Lake area).

In addition to reducing wildfire risks to communities, these projects will improve the long-term health and resiliency of forests and enhance habitat for mule deer and other wildlife. Other important factors, such as recreational use, riparian areas and cultural values, were considered when planning these projects.

Many of the planned activities overlap the priority treatment areas identified in the Williams Lake and Area Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which was developed by multiple agencies, communities and First Nations. Ministry staff will continue to work closely with residents and First Nations as these projects get underway.

The planned activities may temporarily limit public access to some trails in areas being treated. The ministry will advise the public of any lengthy closures, should they be required.

Learn More:

Wildfire risk reduction strategies:

Read about the FireSmart program or download the FireSmart Begins at Home manual:

View the full article from the original source

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