Village Heights forest a wildfire risk, says councillor

The Burns Lake council aims to examine options for logging a sections of forest in the village that poses wildfire risks.

There are two areas in the northern part of Burns Lake of concern, as Councillor Charlie Rensby explained to council on May 14.

“One is the land above William Konkin Elementary, in between the reserve and 9th Avenue. It’s owned by School District 91. There’s the occasional poplar tree and lots of dried grass,” he said.

“And the other area is the land of Village Heights that we own. There is blowdown everywhere up there. There’s also evidence of spruce beetle, butt rot and other issues there that make that a particularly dangerous chunk of forest.”

Rensby forwarded a motion that the risky parts of the Village Heights forest be cut down.

“We can selectively log it and take out the mature and at-risk spruce. Leave the undergrowth and the deciduous. Rake out the areas that you can get at and then replant with deciduous, then creating more of a green area.”

The councillor added that he has learned through discussions with the Burns Lake Community Forest (BLCF) that 5,000 to 6,000 cubic metres could be cut from Village Heights, worth $500,000-$750,000.

About $50,000-$100,000 could be taken from that for treatment – such as raking and replanting – and for a development reserve, Rensby said.

The council agreed that action must be taken on reducing the fuel levels in Village Heights.

Rensby amended his motion, and suggested that BLCF general manger Frank Varga be invited to discuss options for cutting in Village Heights. The council supported the motion.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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