Smoke in the air

UPDATED: 1:32 p.m.

Smoke will be visible in Vernon from Becker Park Wednesday and Thursday. Vernon Fire Rescue is conducting a controlled burn to mitigate the risk of wildfires in the area.

Crews will be burning off fire fuel in the park. 

ORIGINAL: May 15, 2018

Work to mitigate the risk of wildfires is planned for five acres in central Vernon.

Wednesday, May 16 and Thursday May 17, Vernon Fire Rescue will conduct a prescribed burn at Becker Park, located south of 39 Avenue near the Vernon Recreation Centre. 

"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."

Fire crews will also use the burn as a training opportunity to improve skills in wildland fire fighting, while controlling fine fuels in the area.

The exact timing of the prescribed burn will depend on weather and site conditions. Fire crews will test a smaller area before igniting a larger area to verify how effectively fuels are consumed and where smoke is expected to travel.

"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 burn will only take place if conditions are suitable to allow for quick smoke dissipation and low to moderate fire intensity.

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.

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