The Wildfire Mitigation Strategy works to lower the risk of wildfire or – in the case of a wildfire – reduce the risk of loss of life and damage to infrastructure. By following our FireSmart guidelines, the strategy works together alongside our other FireSmart programs and efforts to prevent fires and make our community a safe place. 

Who does the strategy impact?

The strategy impacts heavily forested public and Crown lands in the County of Grande Prairie and reduces the risk to the areas where County residents live, work and play. 

How was the strategy created?

The work towards reducing wildfires started in 2010 under the mountain pine beetle program in the Wapiti Dunes area. By focusing on the priority areas first like the Wapiti Dunes and Aspen Ridge areas, we created an action plan to ensure all problem areas were included. 

County staff worked with registered foresters, Alberta Forestry, County residents, community/user groups, First Nations and major industrial stakeholders to develop a plan. We assessed the risk levels of forested areas and developed our next steps to lower the wildfire risk.

In 2015 County Council approved our Wildfire Mitigation Strategy. Since then, we take action in order of priority, with our FireSmart vegetation management projects.

How is it funded?

Funding of these projects has been possible with grants from Alberta Forestry, the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA), and revenue from timber harvest.

FireSmart Projects 

The following FireSmart Projects aim to meet the goals of our Wildfire Mitigation Strategy:

Priority #1 The Dunes and Aspen Ridge areas

Patches of dead trees were removed, and harvested timber was sold to off-set costs where possible. Work in the Wapiti Dunes area began with removal of Mountain Pine Beetle infested trees and then removal of dead and dying trees. The work in the Aspen Ridge area was the final stage of this treatment area and it was completed in 2017. 

Priority #2 Southeast of Bear Creek

Where possible, harvested timber was again sold to off-set the project costs. This work was completed in December 2018. 

Priority #3 Highway 40 West

The first phase of Priority 3 included planning informed by public participation as well as education sessions, and was completed in 2021. The Highway 40 West area encompasses over 1,100 hectares of land located north of the Wapiti River and west of Highway 40. This includes public lands in the area of rural subdivisions of the Ranch, Dunes West, Deer Ridge Estates and Mystic Ridge, and is just south of Deer Run Estates and Park Meadows. The project's final report is available on the project page.

Vegetation management in the Priority 3 area will begin early 2023 and includes the fuel reduction on 23 hectares of public lands in the southwest part of the project area. The treatment area is a grazing lease. This project includes removal of deadfall, standing dead trees, and hazardous trees. Spacing of trees and pruning to lower the risk of wildfire starting and spreading in the area is also part of this project. The work includes salvage of firewood for use in County campgrounds during the 2024 camping season, and debris clean-up. More details are available on the Highway 40 West project page.