Part of a popular Salmon Arm walking trail is currently closed to the public as wildfire mitigation work continues.
On Jan. 4, the City of Salmon Arm shared a notice on social media explaining work on the city’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan would be starting up again in Little Mountain Park, with fuel management crews from Sk’atsin Silvatech Ventures LLP removing “accumulated ground and ladder fuels.”
“You can expect to hear power saws, and small equipment working within the park, see or smell small burn piles and have certain trails temporarily closed while the work is under way,” read the notice on the city’s Facebook page.
A crew of three were busy in the park Thursday morning, Jan. 13, removing narrow logs stacked among dozens of piles of pruned branches and debris. The narrow logs were being loaded onto an Iron Horse log skidder and carried out of the park along a trail towards the tennis courts.
The debris piles are to be burned when air venting conditions are suitable.
The city explained the fuel management work occurring in the park is intended to reduce the severity of a wildfire and increase the safety and success of emergency firefighting efforts.
One of the workers said a person and their dogs had unknowingly entered the work area and became a concern. The section of trail where the work is occurring is taped off and the city asked that park users obey all posted signage and crew working in the area.
City public works and engineering director Rob Niewenhuizen explained that in the summer of 2018, Sk’atsin Silvatech Venture was retained by the City of Salmon Arm and the Neskonlith Indian Band to develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Following the recommendation of this plan, the city has been working with Silvatech to manage the forest fuel loading in critical interface areas. The first of this work was done in 2019-20 in the South Canoe trails.
“We have now moved to Little Mountain Park,” said Niewenhuizen in an email. “Once complete, we will be looking at the Park Hill trail area adjacent to Canoe.”
Niewenhuizen added all work is contingent on funding approval from the B.C. government through the Community Resilience Investment (CRI) program.
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