Canada — Brule received $50,000 from the Alberta government as part of the FireSmart Community Grant Program this year.
Sixteen forested communities received funding as part of the total $500,000 given out by the FireSmart program, according to a press release. Funding can be used for planning projects, vegetation management, public education, training or development. Brule received the maximum amount for a single community and will use it for vegetation management.
Therell be some pruning and some thinning and just reinforcing some of the natural features that provide firebreak in the area, said Cory Chegwn, fire chief for Yellowhead County.
Firebreak is an area of a forest that is cleared or thinned to provide space to slow down an advancing wildfire.
Chegwyn said a creek in the area provides a natural firebreak and crews will work to widen that.
Well also reinforce some of the other features, natural and manmade features, to ensure that they provide a good firebreak.
Efforts are concentrated to the southwest of Brule, Chegwyn noted, as that is where prevailing winds can cause the most risk with wildfires. The work is being done according to a Brule FireSmart mitigation plan.
The funding will be used to pay for labour; crews will be contracted with forestry companies to prune the forest around the foothills hamlet and do the cleanup work as well.
Widening of the creek firebreak will not be done with clearcutting, Chegwyn explained, but by increasing the space between the crowns of the trees. That forces the potential wildfire to drop down on the ground rather than move treetop to treetop, making it much easier for firefighters to put out.
This past year was less severe for Yellowhead County with wildfires than in the past, Chegwyn said. Its still too early to make predictions on what next year will bring.
But that was the exception in Alberta. Across the province, the 2012 wildfire season saw 1,555 fires burn over 377,000 hectares. Thats five times the size of Calgary and about 400 more wildfires than in 2011.
Hinton also applied for grant money, said Fire Chief Peter Ensor, but didnt make the cut this year because of so many applications from communities in need.
FireSmart undertakes prescribed fires to intentionally burn parts of the forest and reduce the risk of out-of-control wildfires in the future.
Edson also received $50,000 of grant money for vegetation management, according to the environment and sustainable resource development office. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.