The 100 Mile Community Forest remains focused on harvesting fuel management blocks, timber stands hit by bark beetles, and blowdown blocks from recent severe wind events.
Late in 2018, the decision was made not to proceed with fuel management blocks on the top of Horse Lake Ridge due to weather conditions and potential safety concerns for recreational snowmobile users in the area. Instead, operations were shifted to harvesting blowdown blocks in the Doman Road area and Interlakes Corners.
“To date, a number of these blowdown salvage blocks, which included some standing timber, have been harvested, as well as two regular blocks logged undercutting permit. The total expected harvest of these areas combined is approximately 18,000 m3,” according to a release by the district.
Now, due to lack of snowfall, there may be an opportunity to resume with the planned fire break – fuel management forest operations on the Horse Lake Ridge as early as March or April.
Cutting permit documents for the operating area directly to the North and East of the Imperial Ranchettes have been submitted and are currently in the review process. Community Forest Manager, Bill Hadden, anticipates approvals later this spring. Residents are advised that before any harvesting or treatment starts, there will be a notice placed in the Free Press.
Hadden adds that “we also anticipate four small fuel reduction blocks will be harvested this spring along Highway 24 near the Compressor Station.”
Finally, last summer the Community Forest implemented an aggressive bark beetle trap program on the Horse Lake Ridge, according to Hadden.
“These trap trees were planned to be removed at the time of harvest. However, because harvesting was postponed, the bark beetle trap trees were burned instead. Upon accessing the site to undertake burning of infested trees, it was apparent that firewood hunters had bucked up and taken some of the trap trees home as firewood.”
These trees were loaded with beetles, according to the release and must be burned before the beetles take flight in spring.
“Trap tree areas are signed, and the public is urged to leave these trap trees in the bush to avoid the possibility of spreading the beetles to new areas.”