Controlled burn above Mountain Station now underway
The long range forecast for Nelson’s skies is cloudy with a chance of snow, and smoke.
Smoke in the sky above the city is from phase one of a controlled burn operation — pile burning — above Mountain Station, a process that began Jan. 12.
The controlled burns will reduce the accumulation of combustible materials in the forest near Nelson, with the measures “significantly” reducing the risk of wildfire on that side of the city.
Anderson Creek Timber started pile burning in November, 2023 as well, after meeting with Nelson Fire and Rescue Services fire chief Jeff Hebert.
“Anderson Creek Timber is committed to responsible environmental practices and aims to reduce wildfire risks in the region,” said Heather Slack, executive assistant to the director of Fire and Emergency Management with Nelson Fire and Rescue Services, in a press release.
She said that there will be several strategies employed “to minimize the environmental impacts of the controlled burn,” with burn piles kept at a manageable size and fuel added over time.
“Small piles will burn more efficiently, creating less smoke and less of a chance of an escape,” Slack wrote in the release. “Despite these measures Nelson residents may notice some smoke over the course of the treatment.”
In order to maximize safety the burn piles have been placed against resource roads, offering a fuel free buffer as a result.
Slack said that Anderson Creek Timber outfitted crews with firefighting equipment, a 1,000-litre tank and a hose and pump to ensure swift response to any incidents that might arise.
A lot of the precautions are taken to adhere to provincial regulations for burning, with a lot of attention given to factors such as venting and wind patterns.
“While there may be times where natural wind inversion could lead to smoke drifting down the mountain and into the city, Anderson Creek Timber is taking great efforts to only burn on days with optimal venting to mitigate that,” said Hebert.