Fireguard rehabilitation work has been ongoing since the fall. (Black Press file photo)

Fireguard rebuilt near Cheslatta Lake

Staff from the Cheslatta Community Forest recently completed work on fireguard rehabilitation south of Burns Lake.

The work was carried out under a contract with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) for the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, forestry coordinator Ben Wilson told Lakes District News.

The fireguard is located off Marilla Road and runs 2.5 kilometres from there to Cheslatta Lake.

Fireguard rehabilitation has been happening in the area south of Burns Lake since October.

READ MORE: Work is underway to rehabilitate fire guards south of Burns Lake

Despite the winter conditions, Wilson said a sufficiently powerful excavator can complete the job using more effort than it would take in warmer months.

”The work…involved excavators reestablishing natural drainage patterns,” Wilson explained.

“When a fireguard is put in it’s in an emergency. There’s not a lot of regard for water movement. The establishment of the guard might’ve blocked drainage points. Or if there’s rain it should be able to drain properly. It’s bare mineral soil so it’s likely some will be washed away.”

Wilson hopes the next big fireguard rehabilitation job will happen in May.

“We have a good window to work in there.”

The amount of rehabilitation remaining is around 55 km, but the number still requires field verification, FLNRORD spokesperson Dawn Makarowski said.

To date the government has paid the Cheslatta Carrier Nation $50,096.55 for emergency work on wildfires, including fireguard rehabilitation tasks, stream crossing mitigation, slope stabilization and erosion control.

The timeline for the completion of fireguard work is not yet clear.

“Before rehabilitation can take place, staff and contractors collect and verify field data, develop prescriptions, collaborate with First Nations and complete archaeological assessments. The timeline for rehabilitation varies depending on this work.”

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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