Back 40 Fire Smart Operations Phase 4

During the winter months of January, February, and March 2021, FireSmart activities will be performed in the Back 40 area adjacent to the Summer Village of Waiparous. The following activities will take place:

  • Standing live conifer will have branches trimmed up to 2 m.
  • Due to the high intensity fire created while burning, all black spruce and ground juniper will be mulched (this is a very small component of the overall stand).
  • Mulch a high percentage of the understory unless there is no overstory (field calls will be made for these areas during operations).
  • The heavy down-and-dead component will be mulched.
  • Overall spacing will be completed to realize an average 3 to 6 metre crown-spacing between conifers. We will also space the conifer in clumps as well as individual stems to add to diversity to the overall stand composition. Clumping will help alleviate blowdown after treatment for the shallow rooting white spruce while maintaining nesting opportunities and other wildlife habitat.
  • Along Unit 9 (map below), beside the acreages, a 2-metre crown-spacing will be used and hand thinning as discussed during July 2019 Open House in Waiparous. This will aid in reducing the line-of-sight into the Back 40 from the bordering residents. Hand thinning will also occur in Units 8a and 8b.
  • All identified wildlife trees will be protected.
  • The standing healthy coniferous component of the unit will be maintained.
  • All deciduous trees will be maintained unless deemed to be a safety hazard.

Latest Contract News

In early January, pre-selected contractors will be invited to bid. Contractors must attend the mandatory field visit to discuss the scope of work. The MD of Bighorn will announce the selected contractor prior to operational start up, with CCI Inc. acting as the Supervising Contractor for the project.

Activities in the Back 40

FireSmart areas will be flagged out in orange ribbon in January so there will be ribbon hanging along the south areas of the Back 40. Depending on weather and site conditions vegetation management work will start mid to late January 2020. Operations are expected to be completed during February or early March 2020. There will be no work done on Sundays. To ensure the Safety of all the public and operations personnel, access to the areas of operations is restricted. Signage will be provided at all Back 40 entrances and respective areas of operations. Please do not approach the operating machines for any reason. Firewood is expected to be minimal, though it will be available for residents post-FireSmart Operations with a TM66 application.

2020 Back 40 Firesmart Project Notice - Phase 4

Project Contacts

MD of Bighorn
Robert Ellis
SV of Waiparous
Sherri Bureyko
CCI Inc. Keith Ebbs 403-988-6064
The Ghost Waiparous Trails Association  AGM
  • 2020 Postponed – watch for a new date once the provincial measures for COVID-19 have been removed

  • 2021 work bee dates to be determined

Community Partnership

The Ghost Waiparous recreation lease area and trail system, known as the Back 40, is provided for the enjoyment of all, through a partnership between the Municipal District of Bighorn (Municipal District), the Summer Village of Waiparous (SVW) and the Ghost-Waiparous Trails Association (GWTA) under an agreement with the Government of Alberta, Environment and Parks. These facilities are maintained by community volunteers following the Back 40 Resource Management Plan.

FireSmart Planning

FireSmart planning has been undertaken by the partners and will be moving forward under the guidance of the Back 40 Firesmart Committee (a GWTA working committee with members from Benchlands, Ghost, SVW and Forestry) as funding opportunities arise with community information and consultation occurring at each operational planning step.

The fourth and final operational work phase of the Back 40 Fire Smart Plan is scheduled to begin in early January 2021.  This Back 40 FireSmart Flyer provides more details on the work to be completed.


The GWTA can be contacted by email at