KELOWNA, B.C. Now that spring has arrived, wildfire risk reduction work is well underway in the Kelowna area, including a $1.6 million project southeast of Kelowna funded by the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia.

Staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development are working in an area near Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park on provincial Crown land. The goal is to thin out dense stands of pine and Douglas-fir trees and remove accumulations of dead wood that currently pose a significant fire hazard in areas covering about 1,000 hectares.

This project started with a wildfire management specialist identifying blocks of Crown land where landscapelevel treatments would be effective in reducing wildfire threats. Treatment activities in these 15-hectare and 50-hectare blocks include thinning trees, trimming the lower branches – or ladder fuels – of the remaining trees, and then removing that wood and other forest fuels from the ground.

In the event of a future wildfire in the area, less flammable material would be available to burn and the risk of a catastrophic fire would be reduced. This work will also improve firefighter access to the area and make it easier and safer for them to fight a fire.