The Regional District of North Okanagan has completed a wildfire mitigation program in partnership with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. (RDNO photo)

The Regional District of North Okanagan has completed a wildfire mitigation program in partnership with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. (RDNO photo)

North Okanagan district completes wildfire mitigation program

Efforts were made to clear fuels on Blue Nose Mountain to protect water supply from future wildfires

Amid the darkest days of winter, the Regional District of North Okanagan is looking ahead to the summer with a new effort to minimize the risks of a future wildfire.

If a significant wildfire were to occur in the Duteau Creek Community Watershed, there would be a high potential for long-term economic, water quality, and water quantity impacts that would affect all Greater Vernon Water customers, the RDNO said in a press release Friday, Dec. 18.

To reduce these risks, the RDNO teamed up with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), and contractors to clean up surface fuels, chop down high-risk trees, and burn slash piles on a section of the forest on Blue Nose Mountain in Electoral Area D.

The project, funded by a grant from FESBC, is part of a more extensive watershed wildfire mitigation program being conducted by multiple local governments to protect their water sources from wildfire.

“Controlled burning during the shoulder season can be an important component of wildfire mitigation. said Steve Kozuki, FESBC’s executive director. “By burning woody fuel before a wildfire happens during drought conditions, we can reduce the probability of ignition and also greatly reduce the severity of a wildfire should one get started. We burn a little bit now when it is safe to do so, in order to hopefully avoid a massive fire later.”

“The water that runs through your taps originates far from your home,” added RDNO Water Quality Manager Tricia Brett. “The watershed is a network of water bodies that supply water downstream and is collected by our reservoirs. Our drinking water is affected by everything that happens on the land it travels through before it has to be treated and distributed to customers.

“We must protect the watershed from wildfires since it is our source of drinking water, and a devastating wildfire could mean long-term issues with water quality due to debris and ash filling our reservoirs.”

An assessment was completed earlier this year that mapped out critical work needed to protect local water supply. Greater Vernon Water will continue discussions with the province and with FESBC for continued wildfire mitigation funding.

READ MORE: EDITORIAL: Preparing for wildfires

READ MORE: A look back at the biggest wildfires to ever burn across B.C.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Natalia Cuevas-Huaico - Kelowna Capital News)
Morning Start: Foot bones don’t harden until you’re an adult

Your morning start for Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Vernon man was arrested in Merritt following a foot chase with police. That incident, plus others associated with the suspect, will be heard in Vernon Court. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon man facing charges out of Merritt

Bail denied for 37-year-old who allegedly breached his probation and obstructed police

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

Dr. Christine Perkins is the new superintendent of schools for the Vernon School District, effective Aug. 1. Perkins moves to the North Okanagan from the Kootenay Lake School District in Nelson. (Vernon School District photo)
Vernon School District names new superintendent

Dr. Christine Perkins moves from Kootenay Lake district to take over from the retiring Joe Rogers

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Victory Church shelter has been a source of contention between city council and the provincial government minister of housing David Eby. (Jesse Day)
Penticton council calls on Union of B.C. Municipalities to support them in fight against province

Mayor John Vassilaki sent a letter asking for UBCM’s support over the Victory Church shelter

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

A five-storey, 60-unit building has been proposed for 8709 Jubilee Rd. E., Summerland. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing on March 22. (Image by GTA Architecture)
Zoning, OCP amendments adopted for Summerland housing development

Council gives final readings for controversial five-storey, 60-unit housing development

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

Most Read