The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) will begin fuel thinning near Brio next week as part of its continuing wildfire management program.
The project involves the removal of ground brush and debris on 8.8 hectares above the Brio subdivision starting on May 2. Workers will also be pruning branches and removing specific trees to manage the risk of wildfire.
The fuel thinning treatments will be concentrated to “small, defined areas,” and are “light-touch on the land base leaving an open, park-like feel to the forest,” according to a municipal release.
The work will be ongoing until the fire hazard rating reaches extreme, and will resume once the rating goes back down in the fall. Whistler is currently at a low danger rating.
Access to the work site will be mainly from the Whistler Blackcomb road system, although a right of way on Panorama Ridge will be upgraded to permit ATV access.
The project is intended to reduce forest fuel loads identified in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan within Whistler’s wildland urban interface, protect critical infrastructure, restore open forest conditions and demonstrate proper FireSmart practices, said the RMOW.
Funds for this project came from the Union of BC Municipalities Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative to supplement the municipality’s $388,000 budget to carry out the work.
Whistler got a stark reminder of the importance of wildfire safety last summer when massive blazes in Boulder Creek and the Elaho blanketed the resort and much of the Sea to Sky in smoke on several days in July.
The 2015 fire season was one of the most catastrophic in B.C.’s history, with 283,400 hectares burned and over $278 million spent on wildfire suppression.
For more information, visit www.whistler.ca/fire.