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City, county begin construction on $7.5 million firebreak

Construction on the firebreak southeast of Grande Prairie started Tuesday, with contractors working on creating the $7.5 million fire protection measure.

When completed, the 30-kilometre-long firebreak will be up to 200 metres wide in some areas. It will extend east from Evergreen Park, north to Aspen Ridge, and south to the Wapiti River, while also extending south of the park and west on Highway 40.

Following Premier Danielle Smith’s survey of the wildfire damage in northern Alberta including the Dunes West Wildfire, the province has committed $5 million to the project. The other $2.5 million is being split between the two municipalities.

County of Grande Prairie Reeve Bob Marshall says the commitment and support from the province in constructing the Southeast Grande Prairie Firebreak is encouraging. He adds this project is an invaluable and timely addition that will provide additional fortification and fire protection to the region.

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“Our County and City fire crews, with the support of resources from across Alberta, members of the military, and firefighters from Oregon, have worked tirelessly and efficiently to establish a fire guard that has mitigated the loss of homes and property within the Dunes West wildfire perimeter. Together with the support of the province, the County and City will work to extend the efforts accomplished amid our ongoing state of local emergency to protect lives, property and public infrastructure.”

City of Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton says the addition will also be an extraordinary measure when it comes to public safety in the region.

“We understand how deeply these wildfires affect each of our residents, and we ask everyone for their understanding and compassion as we prioritize safeguarding our community,” Clayton says.

The majority of the firebreak will be built on Crown land. The initial firebreak line is expected to be completed in 14 days, with expansion and fortification continuing after that.

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