The Wildfire Mitigation Strategy, approved by Council in 2015, is moving onto Priority 3 this spring with planning, engagement and public education set for the Highway 40 West area. 

“This phase will include assessment and mapping of public lands in the area,” said Dan Lemieux, Director of Community Services. “This important work will be completed by a professional forester and will provide detailed information to inform future actions toward wildfire mitigation. No vegetation management will take place at this stage.” 

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 rural subdivisions of the Ranch, Dunes West, Deer Ridge Estates and Mystic Ridge, and is just south of Deer Run Estates and Park Meadows. 

A registered professional forester will be travelling through the heavily forested area to map and assess vegetation on public lands. The County received a grant from Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta’s (FRIAA) FireSmart program for the work, which includes public education and engagement. After the assessment, the findings and recommendations for future wildfire mitigation work will be presented to area residents, business owners, community groups and other stakeholders for input. This engagement will take place through a series of virtual engagement sessions in May.  

“As the coniferous forest matures and the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation continues, educating our residents about wildfire mitigation and our strategy is increasingly important to the County,” said Lemieux. “We want to involve our community in this plan to protect the areas where we live, work and play.”  

Public feedback will be used to finalize the plan for future wildfire mitigation work, which will be presented to Council for review and approval. Residents are encouraged to stay up-to-date on the project, including opportunities for input, by subscribing to project updates at www.countygp.ab.ca/Hwy40WestFireSmart.  

While the area is being evaluated, area residents and the public are invited to learn more about FireSmart and how to protect their homes from wildfire through a series of virtual education sessions on May 10 & 11. The sessions are free, run for 1.5 hours, and hosted by the non-profit group Lesser Slave Forest Education Society. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn and ask questions about wildfire mitigation. More details and registration information is available at www.countygp.ab.ca/Hwy40WestFireSmart.  

About the Wildfire Mitigation Strategy  

FireSmart is a planning tool that helps to reduce wildfires from happening in our community. It is built on partnerships between the County, the Provincial Government, local industry and homeowners. The County’s FireSmart program includes two main focus areas: the Wildfire Mitigation Strategy and Mountain Pine Beetle Program. 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.  

County Council approved the Wildfire Mitigation Strategy in 2015. Since then, the County has been taking action on several FireSmart vegetation management projects in order of priority. Vegetation management in The Dunes and Aspen Ridge Area was completed in 2017 as Priority 1. Priority 2 followed with vegetation management southeast of Bear Creek in 2018. 

Read more about the County of Grande Prairie’s Wildlife Mitigation Strategy and FireSmart program.  

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Media Contact: 
Dan Lemieux 
Director of Community Services 
780-532-9727