Community volunteers remove fuel from Nelson’s Rail Trail wildfires – Nelson Star

Forty volunteers joined a group of firefighters from Nelson near Mountain Station on April 30 to clear fuel from wildfires on both sides of the Rail Trail.

Volunteers spent three hours hauling dry wood that had been chainsaw-sawn into manageable pieces by firefighters in advance.

Forester John Cathro, who helped oversee the day-long event, was struck by the enthusiasm and good humor of the group.

“We had volunteers saying, ‘Hey, where are we going next weekend?'”

“People were really interested in contributing,” he said, “to learn more about FireSmart, to be part of something that’s led by the fire chief, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors and contribute.”

For a section of the Rail Trail northwest of the Mountain Station parking lot, volunteers broke into groups, each supervised by a member of the fire department, pulling dry branches and debris from the wood and placing them on the trail where the material would eventually be fed into a crusher.

The volunteers were treated to T-shirts, lunch and detailed safety instructions.

Forest fires spread more easily when fueled by dry material on or near the ground. The goal was to remove this debris from the outskirts of town along the trail.

“To eliminate the possibility of a wildfire moving – that was the goal today,” said Nelson Fire Chief Len MacCharles, who organized the event.

The fire department plans to post educational materials along the trail to inform walkers and cyclists about Saturday’s work.

Loki Tree Service, in conjunction with the fire department, gave instructions to the volunteers. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Cathro said dozens of dog walkers and cyclists passed the volunteers as they worked.

“I wasn’t doing a science poll, but at least one in three people who came in thanked the volunteers saying how good it looks,” Cathro said.

Nelson City Councilor Keith Page.  Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson City Councilor Keith Page. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

He said he hopes the cumulative impact on passers-by, volunteers, people whose volunteers will talk about the event and those who read the new educational signs will all lead to people doing similar work on their own properties. and to volunteer for the future. FireSmart Events.

“The goal was to create local FireSmart Ambassadors,” MacCharles said. “I think we really hit the mark on that one.

Nelson Fire Chief Len MacCharles (center).  Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson Fire Chief Len MacCharles (center). Photo: Bill Metcalfe

MacCharles, who will retire in a month, said he will be there as a volunteer next time, which he expects to do in the fall.

He said successful wildfire mitigation requires efforts at many levels, including provincial grant funding, municipal resources and residents fighting fires around their homes.

“And it takes those group efforts like we did on Saturday. It takes all of these things to really build your community’s resilience against wildfires. You can only do one or two. You need them all.

Some of the volunteers and firefighters who volunteered April 30 to FireSmart the Forest next to the Rail Trail near Mountain Station.  Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Some of the volunteers and firefighters who volunteered April 30 to FireSmart the Forest next to the Rail Trail near Mountain Station. Photo: Bill Metcalfe


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Forest fires

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