Residents in Westridge and Hamel Estates subdivisions can expect burning of old slash piles in their neighbourhoods in the next few weeks to reduce fuel load within the city fire protection boundaries. Angie Mindus photo

City takes steps to reduce fuel load in Williams Lake subdivisions

Hazards noted since 2017 wildfires

Residents on the west and south side of the city will see efforts being made in the next few weeks to reduce fuel load in those neighbourhoods to reduce the risk of wildfires.

The Williams Lake Fire Department will be working with local landowners and developers to reduce the fire risk by burning old slash piles and overgrowth within the subdivisions which are surrounded by thick forests.

Read more: Wildfire protection plan for Williams Lake and surrounding area topic of open house

Fire Chief Erick Peterson said the burning, which will take place in the Westridge and Hamel Estates areas, will be on private land.

When asked, Peterson said some of it could quite possibly be used as biomass.

“I don’t have the authority to force people to use it as biomass. Both landowners who are currently subject to these burn permits have been made aware of their options.”

Peterson was not aware if the woody debris on the private land is beetle-kill, as it was strictly his responsiblity to check the slash piles for size and distance away from structures.

Quite a few of the slash piles have been sitting there since before 2017 and no action has been taken on them, Peterson said.

“If I have the option to try and reduce the fire load around the city I am going to try to make that happen.”

He said the landowners have to register with the Cariboo Fire Centre and can only burn when venting conditions are favourable.

Read More: Reducing wildfire risks starts with relationship building

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