Anyone who has hiked in to Eimer’s Lake or along Eimer’s Ridge in the last month or two will have noticed the chainsaws running and the crews making piles of diced conifers and other debris. The trails are pretty messy in spots with lots of twigs and branches lying about.
Recently constructed burn piles below Eimer's Ridge Trail.
This work is part of our ongoing effort, managed by the City of Kimberley and contractors, to reduce the fire risk to the park and to town without resorting to full-on clearcut logging. For a number of years, parts of the park (and other forested areas around Kimberley) have seen a fair bit of hand thinning of smaller conifers and the piling and burning or mulching of the resultant debris. Removing this material allows a ground fire to burn through the forest but helps prevent it from getting into the canopy and becoming a raging crown fire.
Four areas in the park are currently receiving treatment. The most active area this winter has been around Eimer’s Lake and up to Duck Pond below the Lower Army Road (see map). Despite fairly high levels of snow, the crews have kept working there through the winter. The work will continue into the spring with some piles being burned each day, as long as conditions allow it.
The area outlined in green is the most active treatment site this spring.
Last year and the year before, contractors carried out similar work on the south face and top of Myrtle Mountain but a number of the piles were never burned. Workers should be back in the area as soon as the road through Forest Crowne is snow free, and those piles will be burned this spring. You can view a map of this area in a previous blog post.
A third treatment area lies above the Army Road, and runs from Boulder Trail, past Richardson’s Sidehill and out to Higgins Hill. Contractors were active there in the fall of 2016 and last year, but more piles need to be built and all of them need to be burned. We should see more activity there this spring, once access through the Nordic ski area opens up. You can view a map of this area in a previous blog post.
A fourth, small treatment area is located near the gravel pit, just in from the Swan Avenue entrance. It is focusing on the bottom of the kettle which was not treated a couple of years ago when the steep hillsides above it were (see map). Contractors will be slashing and piling this spring and burning the piles in the fall when conditions allow it.
The area outlined in orange is slated for slashing and piling this spring and pile-burning in the fall.
We have learned from the Kimberley Fire Chief that there may be some prescribed burning this spring, just outside the park boundary in this same general area. Parts of the city-owned land between Swan Sub and the park were burned a few years ago and the remainder still needs to be done. Conditions will have to be perfect to allow the burn to proceed, with the fuels being dry enough to carry the fire, but not so dry that the fire burns out of control. If we learn that the burn is going ahead we will let everyone know on our Facebook page.