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More wildfire risk reduction projects underway in Boundary

The West Boundary Community Forest is tackling five more projects to reduce the risk of wildfires close to communities in the Boundary.

They have received $1.1 million from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC to do the work, near Midway, Greenwood, Grand Forks, Rock Creek, and Westbridge. Each project covers 40 to 60 hectares.

It’s on top of previous work done on the southern slopes of Midway, in May Creek outside of Grand Forks, and on the western shores of Jewel Lake.

“The incremental costs of removing dead fuels in the adjacent forests can be costly, and the Forest Enhancement Society has given us the ability to get the job done properly,” manager Dan Macmaster said in a news release.

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The five new projects, which are in various stages, are Myers Creek Road, Fiva Creek, Greenwood East, Lone Star Border, and Rock Creek South.

The Myers Creek Road project is on a road that runs parallel to the US border behind Midway. A shaded fuel break will be developed on each side of the road to protect the community from wildfires that could spread from the south.

The Fiva Creek project will involve fuel mitigation on a dense hillside north of Westbridge and adjacent to many homes. After a selective cut, local contractors will mechanically and manually rake and pile the remaining debris to reduce forest fuels.

The Greenwood East project is slated for the east slopes of Greenwood that have a buildup of fuel and requires understory thinning, slashing, hand piling and pruning to reduce the potential impact of future wildfires.

The Lone Star Border project is along the US Border, just west of Grand Forks, and will create a fuel break to help reduce the spread of fire and improve access for suppression crews.

The Rock Creek South project involves a small area in southern Rock Creek that contains dense fuels and dead beetle-killed trees. By removing the fuels and treating the green trees retained in the area, the project aims to protect the southern boundary of Rock Creek from future wildfires.

“Certain forested areas around many of our rural communities have been neglected over the years,” Macmaster said.

“This has allowed fuels in the forest, such as very high-density stands, ladder fuels, and woody debris to build up and for Douglas-fir beetles to run rampant. Once our Community Forest tenure was established, we realized these areas need to be better managed in order to protect our communities from wildfires as well as protect our tenure from forest health concerns.”

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