What is the Program?
The MPB program focusses on the identification and removal of infested green trees, as well as the management and removal of standing dead trees from within Hinton town boundaries, specifically on Town owned and private lands. Opportunities to support or advance Fire Smart activities that the Town has managed to-date may be identified and included in program work. The management and removal of infested green trees is funded by a Provincial grant of $300,000 awarded to the Town of Hinton earlier in 2018. The scope of work for this grant includes work identified to address the extensive growth of the infestation, affect the spread of the beetle, and delay its impacts. In 2017 nearly 1000 infested trees within Town limits were controlled through the use of two provincial grants. The 2018 municipal budget includes $50,000 for work to remove standing dead trees. This work concentrates on trees that pose potential hazards to people, property or infrastructure, or contribute to our community’s overall wildfire risk. Funding for this work has been approved for the next three years.
What work will be carried out in Hinton?
Simply Liv Ltd, the contractor selected by the Town of Hinton, has begun surveying land at the east end of town, moving west, and then south to town limits. As the surveyors complete their work in an area, crews managing control activities will follow behind. Surveying in the east is anticipated to be completed the end of this week (April 13), with control activity and tree removal to begin in those areas afterward. The control work completed in Town limits will be done mostly by hand, with no heavy equipment use expected. There will be no on-site burning, and any large debris of deadfall will be hauled out and removed from the area.
What is the timeline for this work?
The components of the program funded by the provincial grant will be completed by June 2018 ensuring the most effective handling of the current mountain pine beetle infestation within its annual lifecycle. Work that falls within the municipally funded component of the program may continue throughout the year until it is completed.
How will this work affect landowners?
The contractor will be speaking directly to landowners if infested green trees are identified on their property, to offer removal. The landowners will not incur a cost to have infected trees removed, and are not required to agree to the offer. Any work on private land must be approved by the owner of the land. As well, James Kwasney, Arena & Parks Supervisor, is managing the Town’s efforts to remove dead standing pine and will be contacting landowners as needed to offer removal. Residents can continue to Fire Smart their own properties to reduce the potential threat and severity of wildfires in our area. For more information on Fire Smart, please visit the Fire Smart site here.
How will this work affect the community?
The control work has the potential to create a noticeable difference to the landscape of our community. However, no clear cutting of areas is included in the approved workplan. Residents are encouraged to avoid any areas with active work, and to keep pets on leash to prevent risk of injury. Areas where active work is taking place will be signed, with personnel on site, and the Town will inform the community of any short-term closures to high-traffic public areas. Residents can also call 780 865 6032 for more information.
How can I report infected trees?
Hinton residents are encouraged to report both green infested trees and dead standing pine trees on their own private land, as well as public property, by calling 780 865 2634. Residents can also utilize the citizen request tracker by selecting the icon on the home page of your myHinton App, downloadable on both the Google Play and Apple Store. Snap a picture of the of the impacted area, fill in your information, submit, and Town of Hinton staff will respond within two business days. You can also use request tracker online here.