The plan, I believe, strikes a balance of maintaining recreational activities, fire protection and logging in the area. I commend the involvement of local residents and recreational users in developing the FireSmart measures for Bragg Creek while helping protect the great trail system in the area.
It has been a challenging and emotional process and I appreciate the time and energy put into this plan. Since 2007, we’ve had more than 30 consultation sessions including 9 public events and 25 meetings with various groups. The most recent discussions with residents and land users focused primarily on lessening the impact of the FireSmart plan on the Bragg Creek trail system.
At the end of the day, I am confident the plan balances government’s public safety and fiscal responsibilities to all Albertans, and the wishes of local residents to minimize impacts on local recreational uses.
Bragg Creek FireSmart Plan
The FireSmart plan will create a series of firebreaks on forested Crown land west of Bragg Creek by harvesting timber in an area of historic industrial use now shared with recreational users. Buffers of standing trees will physically separate hiking trails from the areas that are harvested and, where possible, work sites will be accessed by reusing old – and, in some cases, overgrown – industrial roads originally built for logging.
The plan also respects government’s obligation to manage the costs all Alberta taxpayers would have to bear to fight an extreme wildfire in the area. I think of the 2011 wildfire that entered Slave Lake and the devastation it caused. Like other Albertans, I do not wish to see that event repeated anywhere in the province. I also think of how a FireSmart plan helped with firefighting efforts just outside the small northern community of Zama City that was threatened by a wildfire earlier this year.
I’m confident this plan for Bragg Creek is the right plan. I invite you to learn more about the FireSmart plan and the map showing firebreak locations and sizes.
– Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development