The Town of Strathmore recently finalized its hazard reduction burn plan, which aims to reduce the risk of grass and wildfires in the local region.

According to the town, the plan aims to assess grassland fuels on the landscape within Strathmore, identify locations of high fire risk, prioritize and prescribe controlled burns.

“The plan is to reduce hazards around the community. Through that obviously, we have chosen the method of our grass fuel types 1A and 1B, which is basically standing or matted fuels,” said David Sturgeon, fire chief for the Strathmore Fire Department. “We decided that burning was the best method to go, and it regenerates the soil … so it grows back greener and (lusher). We thought it was a win-win.”

Town administration has selected regions within the town to undergo hazard reduction burns, which will reduce the risk of wildfire, reduce nuisance fires, and better prepare the local community in the event of an approaching wildfire. 

Hazard reduction burning is used to quickly, effectively, and safely remove dead and/or dying grassland fuels from around communities. 

“The Hazard Reduction Plan is a great example of our town being proactive. Especially, when we consider that the province has declared an early start to wildfire season and the fact that we are facing drought conditions,” said mayor Pat Fule.

Sturgeon added grasslands and older, matured crop leftover tend to become fire hazards during dry summer seasons and contribute to uncontrolled burns. 

He explained by conducting controlled burn treatments of potential hazard areas, it reduces the risk of oncoming fires threatening the community.

“We have released a plan to the public … we have sent out letters to all of the property owners who were identified, so we are just gaining permissions on those properties – obviously, (owners) can opt in or opt out depending on what their tolerance level is,” said Sturgeon. “Once we have those all submitted, we are shooting for April 5 to April 12 for the actual burning … depending on how much we can get done, it is all weather dependent … if we can get a big chunk of this done, obviously we are just making it better throughout the community.”

According to the town, the controlled burns will not impact road access, traffic patterns, or the health and safety of residents.

Sturgeon explained the fire department will wait for favourable weather conditions, especially wind, before conducting burns so that smoke will not become negatively impactful in the locations of the burns. 

More information regarding the controlled burns is available through the Town of Strathmore website. 

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 19:55