Construction begins on $7.5M fire guard in Grande Prairie

By News Staff

Construction has begun on a fire guard that’s expected to stretch 30 kilometres in Grande Prairie.

Officials say the $7.5 million project – of which $5 million came from the provincial government – will provide additional fire protection and fortification.

A fire guard is when land is plowed by bulldozers to eliminate “fuel” – trees and vegetation – to control the spread of the wildfires.

The County of Grande Prairie remains an area of concern as wildfires threaten communities in central and northern Alberta.

READ MORE: Grande Prairie resident fighting wildfire nearly ran over fire crews with bulldozer, county warns

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith was in Grande Prairie Friday surveying the fire zone and meeting with local officials and Indigenous leaders.

On Saturday she said the government had approved construction of “a pretty extensive fire guard for the city.”

That fire guard, which is expected to be 200 metres wide in certain key locations, will extend east from Evergreen Park, north to Aspen Ridge, and south to the Wapiti River. The county says it will also extend south of Evergreen Park and west to Highway 40.

“The initial line is expected to be completed in 14 days with a goal of pre-suppression given the emergency conditions,” the City of Grande Prairie said in a statement.

“Expansion and fortification of the initial line will continue beyond the 14-day mark.”

About 300 members of the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed across the province to help with the blazes, with about one-third sent to the area around Grand Prairie.

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