City to apply for wildfire mitigation funding

The city is pursuing a grant opportunity to tackle wildfire mitigation in areas around Gold Creek and the Canadian Rockies International Airport.

The grant, facilitated though a new provincial program designed to reduce the risk of wildfire around B.C. communities, could mean up to $100,000 from the Community Resiliency Investment Program, if successful.

The city is also packaging the proposal into a comprehensive multi-year project, and hopes to tap into another funding stream from the Forest Enhancement Society.

The two projects involve wildfire mitigation over 106 hectares of land around the Canadian Rockies International Airport (CRIA) and 145 hectares of land in Gold Creek.

However, the project will not proceed unless the grants are successful.

The city noted the obvious importance of CRIA, both as an infrastructure hub for everyday travel and emergency situations.

“Suppression resources operating out of CRIA were highly successful during the critical initial attack phase of operations in retarding the forward spread of several recent significant wildfires in the area,” reads a city report. “If CRIA were forced to shut down air operations during the fire season the nearest source of air attack resources would be Castlegar, which would involve a significant cycle time for these critical resources.”

The CRIA treatment, estimated at $149,672, would also be incorporated into a larger 1,300 hectare prescribed burn with the ?aq’am community.

The area in Gold Creek is identified as a travel corridor for homeowners, recreationalists and the timber industry, which is part of a larger landscape fuelbreak that includes Joseph Creek, the lower Baker Mountain burn unit, Joseph Creek reservoir and the KV powerline right-of-way.

Fire behavior conditions will increasingly favour high-intensity passive and small-scale active crown fire and medium range spotting. This is due to the increasing density and height of regenerating conifers on this site,” reads the report. “By applying a slash/lob/scatter treatment followed by a prescribed burn we can add a decade to the period of effectiveness for this fuel treatment.”

The Gold Creek project, at 146 hectares, is expected to cost $380,768.

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