City of Vernon Fire Rescue Services will conduct a prescribed burn on five acres of city-owned land on Wednesday, May 16, with the final mop-up happening Thursday, May 17.
“This prescribed burn is a planned, preventative measure to manage the ‘fine fuels’ that are present,” said Vernon’s interim Fire Chief Dave Lind. “The goal is to reduce the level of combustible material in the area by mimicking a naturally occurring ground fire. The removal of these fuels helps reduce the threat of wildfires.”
VFRS will have firefighters on scene at Becker Park, located south of 39 Avenue adjacent to the Vernon Recreation Centre. The event which will provide an excellent training opportunity to improve skills in wildland firefighting, while controlling fine fuels in the area.
The exact timing of the prescribed burn will depend on weather and site conditions. Smoke from prescribed burns tends to be shorter term and less intense than during a large wildfire. Crews will conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to verify how effectively fuels are consumed and where smoke is expected to travel. They will proceed only if conditions are suitable to allow for quick smoke dissipation and low to moderate fire intensity.
“We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies,” said Chief Lind. “We will only ignite the prescribed fire when weather patterns will disperse smoke more quickly so it has less effect on populated areas. Homeowners are advised to close windows to reduce the smell of smoke.”
The prescribed burn will temporarily blacken the landscape; however, it is expected that the area will be green within a matter of weeks. Additional prescribed burns will occur regularly in the greater Vernon area during the spring and fall when conditions are favourable.
Motorists are advised to drive cautiously if they encounter smoke.
The prescribed burn is being conducted in conjunction with Rider Ventures and in compliance with BC Ministry of Forest guidelines.