South Okanagan ski resort begins wildfire mitigation project | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan ski resort begins wildfire mitigation project

Work is underway to build a wildfire break around Mount Baldy Resort.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Baldy Mountain Resort
September 25, 2018 - 10:28 AM

OLIVER - The threat of wildfire may be over for the season, but that’s not stopping a South Okanagan ski resort and local Indian band from making preparations to reduce the future threat.

Baldy Mountain Resort is partnering with the Osoyoos Indian Band, the Mountain Resorts Branch and the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. in a wildfire management project at the resort, according to a media release.

Working with Davies Wildfire Management, the project involves creating a 350- to 400-metre wide horseshoe-shaped fuel break around the resort, the 100 plus cabins in the area and the resort’s future sub-divisions.

The project will lower the risk of wildfire behaviour around the resort by increasing spacing between the tree crowns and decreasing surface fuel loading on the forest floor, the release says. If a fire enters the fuel break, it will be much lower in intensity, giving firefighters a better opportunity to fight it.

The landscape level fire management project doesn’t produce a clear cut, leaving islands of trees instead.

“We at Baldy Mountain Resort are happy that work is commencing to protect the Baldy community and the resort which supports our local area,” resort general manager Andy Foster says in the release. “Collectively, our team in collaboration with our project partners, have done a lot of work to get to this point and we are looking forward to seeing the prescribed area in the future after a few years of settling down and regrowth. We have also realized there may be opportunity for recreational use of the area where the work is being done, which is exciting for the resort.”

The project is funded through the Forest Enhancement Society and includes three preventive measures:

  •  Increasing spacing of tree crowns
  •  Clearing of fuels on the forest floor
  •  Six to eight weeks of tree removal followed by hand reduction of forest floor fuels.

The Mount Baldy area last burned in the 1930s and the growth that has occurred since then is dense and prone to a serious wildfire. Creating a firebreak around the resort will help ensure its protection from a wildfire for years to come, Foster says.

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