Wildfire Risk Reduction Ongoing Priority for Kimberley Fire Department

March 24, 2021

The City of Kimberley, the Province and Canfor spent the winter focusing on wildfire risk reduction by treating hazardous fuel in lower Matthew Creek. The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development completed 80 hectares of fuel treatment, while Canfor completed 185 hectares of treatment. Future treatments within the area are being planned for next winter and aim to increase the footprint of treated area southwest of Kimberley.

The mechanical treatments carried out in Lower Matthew Creek had the advantage of using biomass to produce forest products and bioenergy which diminishes or eliminates the open burning of waste wood. This method reduced smoke to residents, reduced carbon emissions, and generated economic value and employment from removed forest fuels. The primary contractor on the project led by the Province was Skookumchuck Pulp Inc., who produced saw logs, pulp chips, and waste wood fuel to produce electricity.

Spring and summer fuels treatment will be getting underway soon. This joint initiative will be conducted by BC Wildfire Service, City of Kimberley, City of Cranbrook and industry contractors who will perform prescribed burns on previously treated areas at the Kimberley Nordic Centre and adjacent to Forest Crowne Estates on Hwy 95A.

These prescribed burn operations are focused on consuming fine forest fuels that are the primary source of embers during wildfires. Additional burns are being planned for 2022/2023 in the areas of the Kimberley Nature Park as well as lower Mathew Creek.

Canfor Senior Director, Michelle Ward spoke about the efforts, “Canfor is committed to safety and working with our local communities to help reduce the risk of wildfire. We were pleased to work in partnership with the Government of BC, City of Kimberley, Paper Excellence, Kimberley Trail Society and Kimberley Nature Park Society on a project south of the community to create a shaded fuel break to help prevent wildfires.”

With fuels management activity in the forests southwest of town, residents are reminded to check road and trail updates for closures and to please stay out of active work areas. The safety of the public is important to all agencies and contractors working to reduce the risk of wildfire to Kimberley. Residents are also encouraged to do their part by reducing the threat of wildfire on their properties. For more information on how you can be more fire smart visit www.firesmartbc.ca.