Logging operations are set to begin around the Cranbrook Community Forest to reduce forest fuels and mitigate wildfire risk. Townsman file photo.

Logging operations are set to begin around the Cranbrook Community Forest to reduce forest fuels and mitigate wildfire risk. Townsman file photo.

Logging operations around community forest to reduce wildfire risks

Logging operations on 105 hectares of Crown land around Cranbrook will commence over the winter months with the aim of reducing forest fuels and mitigating wildfire risks.

BC Timber Sales initiated the project, with the work to be carried out by a local forestry contractor, according to a provincial government press release.

The affected areas include a parcel of Crown land south of the Cranbrook Community Forest between Baker Mountain Road and the power line to the north of the roadway.

“The goal is to reduce the number of trees in the wildland-urban interface, where urban development borders on grassland or forested areas, which will reduce the amount of forest fuels that could burn in the event of a wildfire,” reads a section of the government press release.

Operations could begin as early as Nov. 15 and wrap up by March 15, pending weather and site conditions.

The area was identified as a high hazard area by a wildfire protection plan created by the RDEK in 2012. The project complements other areas previously treated around the city, such as the forested area around the College of the Rockies campus.

Logging activities are expected to occur on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. while some work may also be underway on weekends.

Heavy equipment and logging trucks will be on site, and members of the public are being urged to stay away from the area while logging operations are underway.

Expect logging truck traffic on 2nd St. South and Baker Mountain Road.

Use of certain trails and access points will be restricted during logging operations including:

• Logger’s Lane Trail

• Fenceline Trail

• Arbour Trail

• Brody Trail

• Forest Grove Trail

• Meander Trail

• Pole 62 Trail

• Two small parking areas just north of Baker Mountain Road that provide access to Brody Trail and Forest Grove Trail.

Those trails will remain open north of the power line and can be accessed from the College of the Rockies parking lot.

Planning for the project dates back to the summer of 2018, with public open houses, meetings with the Cranbrook Community Forest Society and other outdoor and recreational groups and referrals to the City of Cranbrook.