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Wildfire risk management work starting this month near Brother's Creek in West Van

West Vancouver had a close call with a wildfire last month. Here's what's happening to reduce the risk of another one.

As rain cakes the ashes of West Vancouver’s largest wildfire of late, efforts to stump the risk of future fires for residents are getting underway.

Work is scheduled to begin this month on a six-hectare section of second-growth forest, adjacent to the Brother’s Creek and Baden Powell trails.

The type of work being done there is called wildfire fuel management, sometimes referred to as “forest thinning.” According to the district, it involves leaving mature and deciduous trees, while removing underbrush and woody debris, pruning lower branches and removing tight, second-growth trees.

The district said that the community wildfire protection plan designated this area as high risk of wildfire. To fund this pilot project, West Vancouver has secured community resiliency investment program funding from the Union of BC Municipalities. The district has also consulted with local Indigenous communities on responsibly conducting forest management in this area.

The work is scheduled to start mid-November and will take around two months to complete, according to West Vancouver spokesperson Carrie Gadsby. Working hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, “or as necessary to complete the project.”

During the project, the Brother’s Creek trailhead and Baden Powell Trail at Millstream Road will be closed. Parking in the area may also be closed to facilitate crew and equipment access.

A large strip of land directly north of the British Properties has been slated for future fire risk reduction. Work there will be done on a priority basis, as budget and funding allow, according to the district.

Goals of the project include bolstering the BC Hydro right-of-way area as a so-called fuel break – a strip of land cleared to prevent fire spread – and creating an anchor point for firefighting efforts on a potential blaze moving toward or away from homes in the Capilano watershed.

A virtual information session on wildfire fuel management for residents is being held on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m., led by Bruce Blackwell of B.A. Blackwell and Associates Ltd. and West Vancouver Fire and Rescue. To register, sign up on this webpage.

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