Town to get new firebreak

Walter Strong/NNSL photo A peice of heavy equipment lays a fire break perpendicular to highway 3 near Fort Providence last summer. June 28, 2015.

Walter Strong/NNSL photo
A peice of heavy equipment lays a fire break perpendicular to highway 3 near Fort Providence last summer. June 28, 2015.

Fire Chief Ross Potter has updated town council on plans for a new firebreak.

Potter, who is also the town’s director of protective services, has been working with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the proposal.

“The old one that we have is angles and it’s just terrible,” he told council at its May 30 meeting. “It’s not really a firebreak.”

Potter said he planned to go flying with the department to determine the route of a new firebreak.

“We’re going to map out from the ballpark on Airport Road and mapping it all the way to the clearing at the hospital, which is going to be the suggested firebreak that we’re going to put in,” he said. “It will be a straight line, probably two Cat blades wide.”

Potter said there is some money in the town’s budget for doing some of the work.

“I have budgeted $25,000 toward some sort of maintenance program for wildfire protection,” he said, adding that the department likes to see communities put money toward firebreaks but that the territory will likely pay for a good proportion of the work.

The fire chief said he will get council’s approval to issue a request for proposals for the project.

Coun. Roger Candow asked Potter about making the firebreak longer.

“I was wondering if there’s anything in the works to extend it out to protect the Corridor also,” said the councillor. “I know one side of the Corridor is fairly well protected right now but the other side is still grown in.”

Potter responded an extension to the Corridor will not happen this year.

“Actually, we have to take baby steps,” he said, explaining the protection will start with the proposed firebreak.

“As time goes on, yes, we’ll be looking at the Corridor,” he added. “But not this year.”

Potter said the town does some fire protection work every year.

For example, he points to some thinning of the woods near a residential area a few years ago on Vale Island.

–Paul Bickford