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FireSmart & the Birchwood Trails

Recent Work

Controlled burn underway Dec. 18

Pictured above is the scene of a supervised controlled burn on the Birchwood Trails from Dec. 18. (Click image for larger view.)

Video

Birchwood Trails FireSmart Project.

FireSmart Photo Gallery

FireSmart Photo Gallery

Map: FireSmart Work Plan

FireSmart map

Map: Firewood Pickup Locations

FireSmart map

FireSmart is a national program adopted in communities across Canada aimed at reducing the risk of wildfire to homes and neighbourhoods. The Municipality is implementing a number of FireSmart preventative measures on municipally to mitigate the risk of future wildfires. The Municipality is also working with the Government of Alberta regarding FireSmart preventative measures on their lands.

Current projects are ongoing in the Birchwood Trails and areas of Thickwood, Dickensfield and Timberlea based on identified need by qualified professionals. These measures are part of vegetation management. This includes fuel reduction projects such as the removal of dead standing trees and thinning/pruning the remaining evergreen trees.

Debris generated from the removal and thinning of trees and plants is being disposed of through mulching, small, controlled burns supervised by qualified contractors and other methods of disposal.

The Municipality has contracted Infinite Forestry Consulting Ltd. to perform vegetation management in areas outlined above. The Municipality’s selection of Infinite Forestry was based on years of experience executing FireSmart preventative measures in communities such as Slave Lake, High Level and Yellowhead. Infinite Forestry approaches vegetation management with respect for the environmental and aesthetic benefits of mixed wood forest.

The anticipated end date for the project that includes the removal and thinning of trees and plants is March 31. Further similar efforts are anticipated over the coming years.

Supervised Burns

Infinite Forestry Consulting Ltd. is sensitive to the concerns of residents given the recent wildfire. The supervised burns are closely monitored and follow strict guidelines. The supervised burns will only be ignited in favourable, safe weather conditions.

Safety

Throughout the FireSmart fuel reduction projects, the safety of well-being of residents is the Municipality’s top priority.

Residents are asked to stay away from active work zones and operating equipment, as well as obey all warning and closure signs throughout the trails.

Residents are asked to keep the safety of themselves and others in mind. Stay clear of the ongoing supervised burn sites and drive with caution when passing these sites on the road. Slowing or stopping your vehicle near these sites increases the risk of traffic accidents.

Community Wellness Resources

While the FireSmart fuel reduction projects are active, fire and smoke from the controlled burns will be visible. This may cause concern or unexpected emotional triggers for individuals. The Municipality reminds residents that this is a natural reaction and that resources are available to help cope with stress.

Firewood Pickup

As a result of the FireSmart fuel reduction projects, timber for firewood is available to residents on a first-come, first-served basis. Harvested timber will be placed at the locations listed below for residents to collect and use as firewood. Timber can be found using the Firewood Pickup Locations Map.

To collect this firewood, residents need to apply for a deadfall permit at the front desk of the Municipal office at the South Operations Centre (140 Airport Road, Fort McMurray). The customary $5 deadfall permit fee will be waived for firewood pickup from the Birchwood Trails firewood project. The deadline for firewood pickup is March 24, 2017. For more information, call PULSE Line, 780-743-7000

Firewood Pickup Locations

Log Deck # Neighbourhood Approximate Location
1 Thickwood Timberline Drive (between Royal Gardens and Ross Street)
2 Thickwood Timberline Drive (between Royal Gardens and Ross Street)
3 Thickwood Timberline Drive and Robichaud Street
4 Thickwood Timberline Drive and Roland Street
5 Thickwood Timberline Drive (between Roland Street and Ross Street)
6 Thickwood Timberline Drive (between Roland Street and Ross Street)
7 Thickwood Woodland Drive (between Tamarack Way and Whiteoak Garden)
8 Dickinsfield Behind 126 Torrie Crescent
9 Dickinsfield Dickins Drive Passive Park
10 Dickinsfield Dickins Drive Passive Park
11 Timberlea Birchwood Trails Behind 304 Burton Place
12 Timberlea Birchwood Trails Behind 111 Berard Crescent
13 Timberlea Behind 137 Brosseau Crescent
14 Timberlea Behind 138 Brosseau Crescent
15 Timberlea Behind 139 Brosseau Crescent
16 Timberlea Brett Drive Gazebo
17 Timberlea Birchwood Trails (Sparrow Hawk Drive)
18 Timberlea Behind 225 Sparrow Hawk Drive
19 Timberlea Loutit Road and Grebe Road
20 Thickwood Ross Haven Drive and Rowan Street
21 Thickwood Across from 133 Ross Haven Drive
22 Thickwood Across from 117 Ross Haven Drive
23 Thickwood Across from 105 Ross Haven Drive
24 Thickwood Across from 477 Thicket Drive

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is FireSmart and why is it necessary in our community?
A:
FireSmart is a national program adopted in communities across Canada aimed at reducing the risk of wildfire to your home and neighbourhood. The Municipality is implementing a number of FireSmart preventative measures to mitigate the risk of future wildfires.

Q: What current FireSmart projects are taking place?
A:
Current FireSmart projects are ongoing in the Birchwood trails and areas of Thickwood, Dickinsfield and Timberlea based on identified need by qualified professionals. These measures are part of vegetation management. This includes fuel reduction projects such as the removal of dead standing trees and thinning/pruning the remaining trees.

Q: Are all current programs to manage forested areas and mitigate the risk of wildfire part of FireSmart?
A:
No. Hazardous tree removal, reforestation, trail remediation and firebreak restoration are separate from the FireSmart program. Debris generated from the removal and thinning of trees and plants is being disposed of through mulching, small, controlled burns supervised by qualified contractors and other methods of disposal.

Q: What is that smoke I’m seeing on the side of the road? Is that safe?
A:
Debris piles are being burned using a supervised burning process that is only done in favourable, safe weather conditions. This burning is closely monitored at all times, following strict guidelines.

Q: When will this portion of the project end?
A:
The anticipated end date for the project that includes the removal and thinning of trees and plants is March 31. Further similar efforts are anticipated over the coming years.

Q: The sight of fire and smoke from the burns is upsetting. What should I do?
A:
While the fuel reduction projects are active, fire and smoke from the burns will be visible. This may cause concern or unexpected emotional triggers in individuals. This is a natural reaction and resources are available. The Community Wellness Support section of our website has a list of contacts and links that can help you in difficult times.

Q: Where do I get more information about FireSmart?
A:
To learn about the FireSmart program, visit the FireSmart Canada website.

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