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City proposing to conduct wildfire mitigation operations

The City of Prince George is hosting two public information sessions to discuss its proposed fire mitigation strategy, which is aimed at reducing the threat posed by interface wildfires. This strategy includes the targeted removal of vegetation, such as dead organic material, from specific forested areas of the city that if ignited, would pose risk to people, property, and infrastructure according to a study commissioned by Diamond Head Consulting.

Wildfire mitigation involves the removal of dead and highly flammable vegetation to limit potential fire spread and intensity. Typically, mature healthy trees are retained, while immature and unhealthy smaller trees are removed.

There are five proposed areas targeted for fire fuel mitigation:

  1. Malaspina – just west of the Fraser River, to the south and west of Loedel Crescent.
  2. Broddy Road  – South of Tyner Blvd., west of Highway 97 West.
  3. Pidherny  – North of North Nechako Blvd., west of Foothills Blvd
  4. Vellencher – Near the intersection of Austin Road, and Foothills Blvd.
  5. Dever  – East of North Nechako Road, south of North Meadow Road, and Newglen Place.

The fuel removal activities are dependent on additional grant funding from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Community Resiliency Investment Program. During the Monday, October 7 meeting of council, council will be asked to approve that the city apply for this funding. The first wildfire fuel removal operation is scheduled to occur in 2021. The mitigation work will occur in two stages, the first of which will target the Broddy, Malaspina and Pidherny areas.

Previously, the city received grant funding for work conducted in 2019 to determine the areas of the city that should be targeted for mitigation. This funding is shared with the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George which is managing the FireSmart community education program and FireSmart activities on private land.

“It is recommended that wildfire risk be re-evaluated approximately every five years,” said Andrea Byrne, Supervisor, Environment, with the City of Prince George. “Further mitigation and education actions are proposed to continue beyond 2020 and there appears to be strong support at the Provincial Government level to maintain the Community Resiliency Investment Program into the future.”

Open houses will be held at the Hart Community Centre from 7-9 p.m. on October 8, and at the Columbus Community Centre in College Heights from 7-9 p.m. on October 10. After a presentation from Diamond Head consulting, representatives from the City, Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and Diamond Head Consulting will be on-hand to answer questions.

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