Forests thinned to slow wildfires
Forests around West Kelowna have a third as many trees as they once did because of fire-prevention efforts. Thinning of forests, particularly near the Glenrosa, Rose Valley and Smith Creek neighbourhoods, has dramatically cut the number of trees that would burn in the event of a forest fire. “We’ve reduced the density of the stands from 1,100 trees per hectare to 350,” Dave Gill of Ntityix Resources, a forestry management company owned by the Westbank First Nation, told West Kelowna city council. The forests on Crown land have also been cleared of many ground fuels, such as dead trees, fallen branches and heavy undergrowth. As well, the crowns of trees have been separated to try to prevent candling, which is the rapid spread of fire from one treetop to another. “What we’re trying to do around neighbourhoods like Glenrosa is put in a (fire) buffer around the entire community,” he told council on Tuesday.