Hazard Reduction Burns
Sometimes the best way to prevent a major uncontrolled fire from happening, is to start a little, controlled one.
That’s the science behind the hazard reduction burn program conducted by the Peace River Fire Department, by burning small patches of wild land near the Town we’re able to limit the likelihood of a major fire using those areas as fuel to burn through Town. It’s a process that is similar to the Prescribed Fire Program used by Alberta’s Forestry department, however, the Town of Peace River’s only concern is reducing fire hazards, whereas prescribed fires play an ecological role in addition to reduce fire fuel and hazards.
Hazard reduction burns are carried out by experts with the utmost care to ensure they’re completed safely and with limited impact. However, because the process does involve lighting fires on public lands there are some things residents need to know.
Where are we burning?
The primary location is in areas in the south end including along 103 Street. However, where and when burning takes place is largely dependent on the weather and winds. If conditions are unsuitable in the south, then crews would attempt hazard reduction along the edge of the north end of town.
This post, as well as Town social media outlets and local media will all be updated as soon as locations are finalized.
When are we burning?
The exact dates and times of the burns will be weather dependent, however, crews will be actively monitoring weather for a window of opportunity beginning Tuesday April 18.
What should you do if burning is happening in your area?
Close your windows. While we are striving to time the burns so that smoke does NOT drift into residential neighbourhoods, the nature of weather and winds is that sometimes they change suddenly and unpredictably. Part of the reason behind why the burn dates aren’t set in stone is to be able to accommodate possible changes in the weather.
Please avoid the area as well – there will be emergency services personnel and trucks as well as fire and onlookers can create hazards.
It looks ugly afterwards…
Yes it does – the good news is it won’t stay ugly for long.
Fires leave behind incredibly rich soil after burning through the dead material on top, this allows new growth to begin again and thrive. In 2016 swaths around the Peace River High School and the ‘Welcome’ sign were burnt, in 2015 a hazard reduction burn was conducted behind Misery Mountain, in 2014 is was at the far edge of the south end, all areas now grow just as green as, if not greener than, before they were burnt.