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Focus will be on planning and outreach to handle wildfire concerns this year, rather than cleaning up brush.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Happy Tuesday!
After a week of summer sun, the past few days of cooler weather has left a lot to be desired. But, they did reduce our local fire rating from moderate back down to lowβ€”which, if we remember those smoke-filled summers from years past, is a pretty important change. Sure, I had to turn the fireplace back on, but I’d rather have a fire in the grate than a fire in the forest. β€”Grace Kennedy, Reporter
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The FVRD won't be removing the dead brush or thinning trees from local forests this year. β€’ 📸Β  Daniel Neve/Shutterstock
β€˜Extreme’ fire threat, but fuel removal will wait

About 30,000 hectares of public forest near populated areas in the Fraser Valley have been deemed to pose a high threat of a wildfire. That includes 5,000 hectaresβ€”including significant chunks of land near Chilliwack Lake, Cultus Lake, Harrison Lake, and northeast of Missionβ€”classified as being an "extreme" threat by an analysis contained in new wildfire protection plans for the Fraser Valley Regional District. The analysis didn’t include any land within municipal borders or that was privately owned.

But although fuel management is identified as a key way to reduce wildfire risk, neither the BC Wildfire Service nor the FVRD have conducted "fuel treatments" for at least 2 years, and none are anticipated for this year, according to the 2 government bodies. Such fuel treatments include pruning trees, thinning stands, and active removal of burnable material.

The Fraser Valley Regional District has received nearly $353,000 in grant money to reduce wildfire risk, but the bulk of the money will go toward "tactical" initiatives, largely focused on planning and increasing awareness to educate the public on how to avoid burning down the region’s forests. The FVRD plans to ask for more money to carry out fuel reduction treatments in future years.

"Fuel treatments are designed to reduce the possibility of uncontrollable crown fire through the reduction of surface fuels, ladder fuels and crown fuels," according to the consultants who drafted the FVRD’s risk assessments. They do caution that such treatments aren’t a silver bullet, and their efficacy depends on a range of factors, including the behaviour of a fire once it starts, weather conditions, and the area’s ecosystem. But the goal of such treatments is simple: reduce the wildfire threat to areas that are considered valuable and susceptible to burn. Fuel management can do that, they say, by reducing the intensity of fires and the quickness with which they spread.

You can see the local fire assessment risk maps here, and the current wildfire risk here.

-By Tyler Olsen
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Need to Know
🔥 A fire at a Chilliwack homeless camp Sunday may have been deliberately set. [Chilliwack Progress]

🗳 Abbotsford's by-election was never supposed to occur, Mayor Henry Braun says. [Abbotsford News]

🚽 Derby Reach could get a major bathroom upgrade, if the ALC approves. [Langley Advance Times]

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The Agenda
PAUL HORN IS MISSION'S NEW MAYOR
Paul Horn’s decisive win in Mission’s by-election came after carrying every single polling place in the district. Horn was the favoured choice on 42% of all ballots, nearly double the tally of Rhett Nicholson, who finished in second place. Horn claimed 48% of all mail ballots, the single largest group and triple anyone else’s vote tally. Within Mission, the closest race was in Cedar Valley, where Horn got one-third of votes and Nicholson received 25%.

PROMONTORY TEENS MAY HAVE TO PAY FOR BUS SERVICE

The Chilliwack School Board will be deciding tonight whether teens attending GW Graham will be given priority for taking the bus. Since 2015, students living in Promontory have been considered "regular riders," but changes to walking paths and school grade levels have the district re-thinking that plan. If approved, the approximately 4,000 students who live within 4km of the school will be considered "conditional riders" and need to pay $256 per year.

50 HOMES CONSIDERED FOR AUTO WRECKER SITE
An application has been made to build 50 homes across from Swensson Park in Aldergrove on a 7-acre property that is currently the home of Aldergrove Auto Wrecking. The application was made last week, according to records on the City of Abbotsford’s website. The land was most recently assessed for $6 million.
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COVID latest
BC is continuing to see a decrease in COVID cases, but hospitalizations are still trending up. There are 484 people in hospital as of Monday and 17 more people, all over the age of 50, died of the virus. Vaccinations are moving along and BC is expecting to get a supply of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine soon, although no dates have been set. [BCCDC COVID data]

Fraser Health
  • New cases: 1,632 Friday-Sunday / 560 average (down 7% from one week ago)
  • 2 active outbreaks at hospitals / 2 active outbreaks in long-term care
  • School exposures: Abbotsford: 18 / Chilliwack: 6 / Langley: 13 / Mission: 5 / Fraser Cascade: 0
  • Workplace closures (April 19-25): 32
BC
  • New cases: 2,491 Friday-Sunday / 914 average (down 10% from one week ago)
  • 484 hospitalizations (up 10% from one week ago)
  • 17 new deaths / 1,571 total
News
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Around Town
📝Β  Statistics Canada is looking for people to help conduct the 2021 census.

🎨 Artist Sylvie Roussel-Janssens will be making a sculpture representing the 4 "ingredients of happiness" outside the Ranger Station Gallery in Harrison. Visitors are welcome to watch if they mask up.

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