Firefighters near the Gilmore Lake wildfire, which originated eight kilometres southwest of Topley and burned 216 hectares last summer. (Submitted photo)

Province rehabilitating land impacted by wildfires near Houston

About 23 km of fireguard require rehabilitation near Topley

The rehabilitation of land impacted by B.C.’s worst wildfire season in recorded history is underway in the Houston and Burns Lake areas, according to the B.C. government.

The province is collaborating with local governments and First Nations to rehabilitate areas impacted by last summer’s wildfire suppression operations as the first step in land-based recovery.

The initial work, referred to as “emergency works,” was intended to stabilize the areas before the onset of winter. These priority works – considered to be essential for public safety and environmental protection – usually begin immediately after a wildfire is declared to be under control.

Rehabilitation planning and associated activities are generally undertaken the following year, as weather conditions allow. Key tasks include stabilizing slopes next to highways and bodies of water; clearing away danger trees; grass seeding, to re-establish vegetation and help control soil erosion; and removing timber that was cut down to establish fireguards and slow the growth of the fires.

RELATED: High fire danger days expected to increase in Houston

According to the provincial government, the Gilmore Lake wildfire, which originated eight kilometres southwest of Topley and burned 216 hectares, has about 23 km of fireguard that require rehabilitation. Field work for the rehabilitation plan is complete, and rehabilitation work (using machinery) is ongoing, as weather permits.

The Nadina Lake wildfire, which originated 40 km south of Houston and burned 86,767 hectares, has about 303 km of fireguard that require rehabilitation. Field work for the rehabilitation plan is complete, and grass seeding (aerial and by hand) is underway.

The Verdun Mountain wildfire, which originated 35 km south of Burns Lake and burned 47,610 hectares, has about 167 km of fireguard that require rehabilitation. Rehabilitation work (using machinery) is ongoing, as weather permits, and grass seeding (aerial and by hand) is underway.

The Cheslatta Lake wildfire, which originated 58 km southeast of Burns Lake and burned 8,100 hectares, has about 55 km of fireguard that require rehabilitation. Rehabilitation work (using machinery) is complete, and additional rehabilitation planning will be carried out in spring 2019.

Meanwhile the Torkelsen Lake wildfire, which originated 25 km south of Fort Babine and burned 2,524 hectares, has about 33 km of fireguard that require rehabilitation. Decked timber (from the creation of fireguards) is being moved to a local mill, hand grass seeding for this wildfire site is complete, a rehabilitation plan has been completed, and rehabilitation work (using machinery) is ongoing.

READ MORE: Houston already preparing for next wildfire season


 

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