Vernon Fire Rescue Services is continuing fuel management efforts to reduce the risk of serious wildfire in the wildland urban interface (WUI) across Vernon. (City of Vernon/Contributed)

Vernon Fire Rescue Services is continuing fuel management efforts to reduce the risk of serious wildfire in the wildland urban interface (WUI) across Vernon. (City of Vernon/Contributed)

Work underway to reduce risk of wildfires in Vernon

Fire crews will be clearing wildland fuels along Eastside Road over the next month

Vernon Fire Rescue Services is continuing work to reduce the risk of wildfires across the city.

Over the next month, crews will be getting rid of wildland fuels along the Eastside Road area, south of Harbour Heights Road. They’ll be thinning out overgrown portions of the city’s wildland urban interface (WUI) — in other words, where the city and the natural environment meet.

“Wildland fuel management is a critical practice in the WUI to help protect people, homes, infrastructure and the environment,” Fire Chief David Lind said.

“After many years of human influence and fire suppression activity, the growth and establishment of wildland fuels across North America – not just the North Okanagan – has drastically changed. Across the country, many forests have become overgrown and are in an unhealthy state.”

VFRS is teaming up with a qualified contractor to conduct the work on portions of city-owned land, where road access and escape routes could be blocked in the event of a wildfire.

READ MORE: Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Crews will use chainsaws and other equipment to thin out material along the Eastside Road right-of-way. Drivers along the road may experience traffic controls between now and mid-November.

“We know wildland fires will occur; they are a natural part of our ecosystem,” Lind said. “However, there are steps we can take to mitigate the impact in our community and increase safety for residents and firefighters. Additionally, the work we’re doing with the fuel management projects is helping to return portions of our WUI to a more natural state.”

Lind said the work may change the appearance of some areas, but is necessary to protect the community in advance of next year’s wildfire season.

The work comes from collaborative efforts by the Okanagan Shuswap Natural Resource District, the Okanagan Indian Band, BC Parks, BC Timber Sales Okanagan-Columbia and the City of Vernon.

For more information on protecting your property from potential wildfire, visit firesmartbc.ca. The city will be providing more information on future wildfire mitigation efforts on an ongoing basis.

READ MORE: ‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires


@VernonNews
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