The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is continuing its wildfire management program with two fuel thinning projects on 6.2 hectares above the Whistler Cemetery and 15 hectares above the Alpine Meadows subdivision starting in early October. The areas are within the Cheakamus Community Forest, and the work will be managed by the community forest’s operating partner, Lil’wat Forestry Ventures.
The municipality received funding of up to $300,000 for the Alpine Meadows project and $100,000 for the Whistler Cemetery project through the Union of BC Municipalities’ Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative.
Access for the Whistler Cemetery project will be through the cemetery road system. The area is bounded by the Whip Me Snip Me and Rainbow hiking trails. The Alpine Meadows site will be accessed from the end of Alpine Way with possible access from Wedgeview Place. The area is bounded by Rick’s Roost trail to the first switchback and an approximately 100 m setback above 19 Mile Creek.
Debris from the fuel thinning will be removed from the sites or chipped in place, with some burning occurring under permitted conditions as directed by the Province.
The RMOW is committed to reducing the risk of wildfire in our community. This year Council adopted a Wildfire Protection Strategy, which integrates the municipality’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and Landscape Scale Fire Behaviour Model report into a comprehensive strategic plan, which includes 17 prioritized recommendations for planning, fuel reduction and outreach programs to move Whistler toward its wildfire risk reduction goals.
Fuel thinning projects involve removal of ground brush and debris, as well as pruning branches and removing specific trees. Larger coniferous trees and deciduous trees will remain. Over the past several years, the RMOW, with funding from the provincial Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative, has completed fuel thinning projects in high priority areas including Lost Lake Park, Kadenwood, Millar’s Pond, Brio, and above Horstman Estates.
This project will reduce the ability of fire to spread from the forest into the community and vice versa, while maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem. This is done by:
- Reducing the number of trees in the stand, focusing on removal of small diameter trees and retaining fire resistant species such as Douglas-fir and deciduous trees;
- Reducing fine woody surface debris while retaining larger coarse woody debris for habitat and soil productivity;
- Pruning trees to reduce ladder fuels between the ground and the forest crown; and
- Removing dangerous trees to protect workers while maintaining high value wildlife trees where possible.
While the RMOW is investing heavily in an accelerated and aggressive wildfire protection program, wildfire prevention is a shared responsibility. Private property owners can take simple steps to protect their properties and Whistler, including scheduling a free FireSmart home assessment, dropping off yard waste, and participating in community chipping days. Learn more at whistler.ca/firesmart.
During fire season prevent and report wildfires. Follow fire danger rating guidelines, including fire bans. To report fires phone 911 in Whistler. Outside of Whistler phone 1-800-663-5555 or dial *5555 toll free on most cell networks.