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Supervised burns to start in the Birchwood Trail System as part of FireSmart vegetation management project

(Fort McMurray, AB – November 6, 2018) Supervised burns will begin this week in the Birchwood Trail System as part of the Birchwood Trails – Phase 2B FireSmart vegetation management project. Crews are currently working along the perimeter of the Birchwood Trails to remove all dead, down and unhealthy trees and to prune and thin evergreen trees in the area. Organic debris will be created as part of this work. 

To dispose of debris, crews will be conducting supervised burns in the project area, which is a standard procedure for FireSmart vegetation management projects. Supervised burns will take place throughout the duration of the project, which is expected to run until March.  

All supervised burns will take place when conditions are safe to do so, and every effort will be made to minimize smoke during the process. Residents are advised that smoke may be visible during this procedure. 

The purpose of this FireSmart vegetation management project is to reduce fuel in the area, which will decrease the risk of future wildfires and increase public safety. This project will treat approximately 20.6 hectares of land in the Birchwood Trail System with FireSmart prescriptions and help improve the health of the forest. This is the final FireSmart project taking place in the Birchwood Trail System as part of the 2017 Wildfire Mitigation Strategy. Once complete, a total of approximately 125 hectares of land around the perimeter of the Birchwood Trail System will be treated with FireSmart prescriptions. 

“Creating a FireSmart perimeter around the Birchwood Trail System is a critical step in protecting not only the trail system, but also the homes and communities that back onto the trail system,” said Jody Butz, Fire Chief, Regional Emergency Services. “Through these FireSmart projects, we’re able to take a high-risk area like the Birchwood Trails and make it significantly safer. By reducing the fuel build up, removing dead trees and strategically thinning highly-combustible evergreens, we’re able to reduce the risk of future wildfire in the area and ultimately, improve public safety.”

All work on the project is being completed with hand-crews to minimize ground-disturbance in the trail system. Some trails may be temporarily closed during this work. Information on closures will be posted on the Municipality's website and social media pages as it becomes available.  

For more information on FireSmart work taking place in the Birchwood Trail System, or throughout the region, visit rmwb.ca/FireSmartProjects, or call PULSE at 780-743-7000. 



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