Wildfire Prevention Initiative: Slash Pile Burning Continues Through Fall


In an effort to enhance community safety and reduce the risk of wildfire, the Kimberley Fire Department continues to conduct thinning, piling and burning work at various locations throughout the community.

The scope of this work includes the construction of burn piles, not exceeding two-metres in height and with a three-metre radius. To ensure safety, the piles are then strategically located in canopy openings, away from residual trees and not on trails. Once compiled and an appropriate burn window is determined, those piles are safely ignited and monitored. This burning process is focused on consuming the ‘duff’ or organic litter layer, supporting the overall fire resilience of the community. 

Unfortunately, these piles do produce smoke that can last while they burn for extended periods of time. Fire crews check the piles daily to ensure the community’s safety and stress that this project will make the City more fire-resilient.

Fire Chief Booth expressed concern with the amount of smoke complaints the department is receiving. “We understand that residents contend with smoke during the summer and are now having to deal with smoke into the colder months. We can’t be sure where a wildfire will start in town, but any fuel reduction will support the Fire Department’s response for many years.” He concluded, “Please bear with us. We are residents too.”

Some people have expressed concerns and requested reasons why the Fire Department chooses to burn vs. chip the wood piles. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, the cost to chip is generally double the cost to burn. Secondly, chipping requires invasive equipment that can have negative environmental site impacts.  Most importantly, it is not as effective. Wood chips do not decompose and will burn if ignited with wildfire. If those piles are very deep, there is also potential for spontaneous combustion.

For the remainder of the slash pile burning project, residents can expect light smoke and a possibility of small flames in burn areas. This may continue until more snowfall is received. The City of Kimberley is committed to continuing to communicate with residents about this important work. If anyone would like more information, please call the Kimberley Fire Department at 250-427-FIRE (3473).