Marten Beachers pitch in to make the hamlet ‘FireSmart-er’

Dan Tarney
For the Lakeside Leader

On Saturday, August 21st the 7th annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day clean-up event was held in Marten Beach. The weather was perfect: sunny (but not hot), a light breeze to keep any insects at bay and the ground 09conditions were dry. There were approximately 30 residents in attendance, plus about 10 people from different supporting agencies.

Before the residents went into the forest to begin piling the cut up ‘dead & down’ trees, there was a Treaty Eight Land Acknowledgement, followed by door prizes. Then, two eavestrough-cleaning demonstrations.

Marten Beach has been lucky to have the support from government agencies and a couple of local businesses. FireSmart Canada awarded the community a $500 grant, which was used for advertising, to purchase the food for the BBQ and for a tub of diesel for a volunteer that used his tractor to maintain the wood debris burn pile. Alberta Forestry supplied two firefighting crews with power saws. The Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation contributed a volunteer to operate an information table and to act as a venue supervisor.

The Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service always arrives in the hamlet with their chipper truck and trailer to clean up the branches that have been cleared off of residents’ properties. The resulting wood chips have become a valuable commodity and are sought after for garden mulch and weed suppression on people’s lots. This time, LSRFS has had to postpone the chipping for a week or two due to its personnel being busy in British Columbia fighting wildfires and conducting search and rescue tasks on the lake that day.

The hamlet of Marten Beach is thankful for the support from Eben Construction for their donation of a truckload of aggregate to improve the trail into the Marten Beach FireSmart Wood Debris Burn Area. Also, Dog Island Brewing made a generous donation of products to enhance the BBQ portion of the day.

It was a pleasure to see the mix of participants at the event. In one case, three generations from one family turned up to pitch in! And there were 10 residents that were in attendance for the first time, as well as many returning volunteers.

Once again, thank you to all of the residents, local businesses and government agencies that contributed to the clean-up event.

Marten Beach property owners attend an eavestrough-cleaning demonstration presented by Dan Tarney and Ray Bock.

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