City of Vernon fire crews are preparing for what could be another busy wildfire season.
Interim Fire chief David Lind gave city council an overview of what’s being done to manage the wildfire risk within the 11,833 hectares in the city.
Lind says one strategy will be to hold preventative burns, which he says is one of the most effective ways to deal with fuel load issues.
“It’s done in a way that’s actually good for the ecosystem, at the right time and in the right ways, and it’s done in a very safe way,” Lind tells CJIB News.
Lind says the areas that will be burned are still under consideration.
The city is also chipping, mowing and maintaining city owned land to reduce the fire risk, and may also increase firefighter staffing during high danger periods, like last year, if council gives budget approval for that.
Lind says the entire city has been rated for its fire threat, with parts of the Landing being at the highest due to the fuel load.
“Out towards the Outback, there is some heavily forested area, also Ellison Park, and there’s some more down Tronson Road. Wherever there is the greatest vegetation, is where a lot of the greatest risk is.”
Lind says a foundation of the strategy will be increased public awareness.
He says that includes informing the public about how they can reduce the threats on their land.
“The message in the fire season is control your ignition sources and those types of things, but we need to move beyond that and explain what’s going on in the ecosystem in a bigger way so we can understand the actions we can take in our day to day to reduce those risks,” adds Lind.
Meantime, as communities and agencies get better at putting wildfires out, it’s creating another problem.
Lind says it’s leading to increased fuel loads in the forest, which is producing so called mega fires of 100,000 hectares or more.
Lind says a presentation by an expert in fire ecology on the topic will be held in May, which he says civic leaders and the public could learn from.
“When you walk out of the presentation, it’s not just going to overwhelm you with a problem. It describes the problem really well with an excellent presenter, but it also gives us a real tangible things that we can change in our behaviours in order to start moving towards a more sustainable wildland.”
Lind says the expert recommends letting some fires burn when structures aren’t threatened to reduce fuel load , and to treat properties and lands beforehand.
The presentation called “The Era of Mega Fires” will be held at 7 pm May 14 at the Schubert Centre.