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FireSmart Demonstration Project in Centennial Park

May 17, 2011 - The recently completed Trowbridge Forest Stewardship Plan has identified the need to address the fire risk within Centennial Park. Forest fires have been suppressed within the park for nearly 100 years, creating a forest condition that is unhealthy, lacking in diversity, and potentially at the risk of a major fire. 

As a result, Centennial Park’s forest health will be proactively managed in one area to reduce the risk of fire. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ (MNR) FireSmart program will be utilized to help address some of the fire risks in the park and create a demonstration area on how communities and homeowners can take action to protect their properties and adjacent natural resources from the threat of wildfires.

The FireSmart demonstration area will take place around the Centennial Park Logging Camp.  The project will create a managed forest area, while at the same time maintaining ecosystem health, public safety and recreation opportunities. The activities undertaken will reduce the potential for wildfire spread and damage to property by removing potential fire fuel from the managed forest area. The FireSmart project will also provide a training opportunity for both MNR and City Fire crews, involve community volunteers and serve as a demonstration area for property owners.

The FireSmart project will involve the removal of dead or dying trees, pruning of lower branches, chipping of woody debris and the installation of educational signage. By reducing the fuel load future tree planting opportunities will be created. Where possible, when public safety is not at risk, some standing dead trees and tree boles on the forest floor will be left for wildlife habitat and nutrient recycling. Please be advised that trail use in the vicinity of the Logging Camp may be restricted in the months of May and June 2011.  Alternative routes around the logging camp area will be possible.

This proactive project in Centennial Park is thanks to a four-way partnership between the Ministry of Natural Resources Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services Branch, City of Thunder Bay Fire Rescue, City of Thunder Bay Parks Division and Thunder Bay District Stewardship Council. 

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Contact:   Werner Schwar, Coordinator – Parks Planning, 625-2806
                Davis Viehbeck, Stewardship Coordinator, Thunder Bay District Ministry of Natural Resources, 475-1481