FireSmart on Tunnel Vision

Whistler to begin wildfire fuel thinning project April 7

Whistler, B.C.-The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) will commence a wildfire fuel thinning project in a 14.7-hectare area above the Millar’s Pond and Spring Creek subdivisions on April 7.

“Fuel thinning” involves removal of ground brush and debris, as well as trimming of branches and some tree removal to reduce the risk of wildfire. Fuel thinning treatments are isolated to small, defined areas, and are light-touch on the land base leaving an open, park-like feel to the forest.

This work is intended to reduce forest fuel loads identified in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) within the wildland urban interface of Whistler to reduce the risk of wildfire in the community.

In previous years wood debris from fuel thinning projects has been removed by truck at great expense; however, this year’s project will be burning the debris on site.

In addition to reducing forest fuel loads, secondary objectives of the project are to:

  • Protect critical infrastructure and facilities in Whistler
  • Restore open forest conditions
  • Demonstrate the principles and practices of FireSmart

The Tunnel Vision Mountain Bike trail runs through the area and will be kept open as often as possible. Signs will be installed at both ends of Tunnel Vision advising of the work ahead and closure schedules. The RMOW and the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA) are working together to ensure that the biking community is informed, and the trail is restored afterwards.

Work will continue until the fire hazard rating moves past high, and it will resume in the fall when the fire hazard rating drops.

All burning will be conducted in compliance with the BC Wildfire Act and Wildfire Regulation, the Environmental Management Act Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations, and RMOW Fire Protection and Fireworks Bylaws. The contractor hired to do the work, Arc Ridge Ltd., is trained and experienced in this kind of work and will have equipment on site to minimize risk. Work will be monitored closely by a wildfire specialist in close communication with RMOW Fire Rescue Services.

Fuel thinning in the area above the Millar’s Pond and Spring Creek subdivisions builds on work completed along Kadenwood Road in 2009. Fuel thinning has also taken place in Lost Lake Park and the Horstman Estates areas.

More information can be found at www.whistler.ca