Baldy Mountain Resort near Oliver, B.C., says the surrounding forest is prone to a large scale, catastrophic wildfire.
“It is imminent; it’s a matter of time,” said general manager Andy Foster.
“It’s been since the 1930s that a fire last moved through this area.”
That is why work is underway to prevent a potential forest fire from ravaging the small community of 100 cabins.
The resort received a $200,000 grant through the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. to build a 350- to 400-metre-wide fuel break on crown land.
“By doing the treatments we’re doing here, we’re opening up that canopy and reducing the amount of forest fuel that’s in there,” said David Conly, the society’s operations manager.
Wildfire management specialist John Davies was hired to increase the space between trees and decrease surface fuel on the forest floor.
“If a fire was approaching, there’d be an opportunity for lots of suppression tactics that could occur within this area,” he said.
“There’s no way we want people skiing down our hill and seeing clear cuts around here, so we’ve really worked to create islands of trees,” Foster added.
Mount Baldy Resort is also generating revenue through the project by selling the cleared logs to a local sawmill.
“It was a by-product; we never expected it when we undertook this,” Foster said.
As wildfires become more intense and destructive in B.C., Davies says this kind of preventative work in fire prone areas is becoming more frequent.
“It is happening more and more throughout the province as the need becomes assessed by local governments.”