Adrian Leslie, West Kootenay program manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, points to the area of Darkwoods that has a new fire guard. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Adrian Leslie, West Kootenay program manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, points to the area of Darkwoods that has a new fire guard. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)

Nature Conservancy of Canada contributes to wildfire mitigation near Creston

Last August, NCC put in a 50-metre fire guard in Darkwoods to slow down future blazes

While the heavy rains have staved off wildfires for the time being, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has been preparing for future blazes.

In 2021, the NCC had crews put in a 50-metre-wide fire guard in the Darkwoods area.

These efforts were in response to the Cultus Creek wildfire that burned approximately 7,600 hectares last July.

In 2015, another fire of 500 hectares burned in the same area at the top of Mount Midgely, which was highly visible from Creston at the time.

The new fire guard connects to the previously burned portion of the mountain.

“If a fire is coming, we will be able to use that as an anchor,” said Adrian Leslie, West Kootenay program manager for NCC.

“We chose that area because all of the natural fuels were removed in the fire seven years ago.”

Later this fall, the NCC plans to expand the fire guard by thinning out some of the trees and removing smaller fuels. Some larger trees, like the Douglas fir, are resistant to fire and can be left standing.

“We just want to let people know what we’re up to if they see logging trucks coming here to Darkwoods,” said Leslie.

“Our industrial activities are aimed at reducing wildfire risk.”

Leslie said these are important measures to take, as wildfires have increased in size and number over the years.

“We have certainly seen an increase in the numbers of fires locally and in Darkwoods in particular,” he said.

“There’s more and more examples out there of similar work that’s shown to be effective in fighting fires. Just reducing the number of fuels in an area makes it easier for firefighters to do their job.”

READ MORE: Nature Conservancy of Canada leads restoration project on Creston Valley farmland

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