Tree thinning and limbing work will resume in the townsite this week, part of the Town Banff's FireSmart program.
Crews are scheduled to be onsite by the end of the week in the forested area behind the Banff Centre, behind Cave Avenue and around the Parks Canada administration building to Park Avenue. Crews will start by felling trees or trimming limbs to reduce the fire load, which will help prevent structure fires caused by wildfire embers. The debris will be burned when conditions are appropriate, and affected neighbourhoods will be notified in advance in case of smoke.
The Town received a $91,000 grant from the Forest Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) to undertake the work this fall, the second straight year Firesmart maintenance work has been completed. Last winter, crews cleared areas around the Fenlands, Middle Springs and Kootenay Avenue with a $86,000 FRIAA grant.
The work is considered maintenance on previously treated areas. Banff’s Firesmart program of fuel management has been ongoing since 2005, with an initial reduction of fuel over approximately 52 hectares within the townsite. Parks Canada is also undertaking fuel reduction work in lands adjacent to the townsite.
"The fuel treatment work combined with an update of the Wildfire Tactical Response plan and the development of the provincial Wildfire Preparedness Guide, both in 2015, and the addition of the six portable wildfire pumping systems in 2016, increases the level of the Town’s preparedness in the event of a wildfire", says Chief Silvio Adamo.
In addition to Firesmart work and education, the Town’s Combustible Roof incentive program will continue in 2018. The program partially reimburses homeowners in risk areas who replace their unrated roofing with new Class B fire resistant material. The program was fully subscribed for 2017, with pending applications for 2018. For more information, visit banff.ca/firedepartment.