One of the key elements of reducing the risk to homes and communities from catastrophic wildfire in
interface areas is managing the amount of potentially combustible material in the forest, known as fuel load.
By using more of every log and recovering firewood and other secondary products from our forests, the amount of debris left in the forest is limited. This increases public safety by reducing wildfire risk, can improve wildlife habitat, prepares the site for optimal tree planting and reforestation, and supports air quality and climate action targets by reducing the risk of large, intense wildfires.
Did you know that fuel management and hazard abatement are legal requirements of the Wildfire Act? Forest managers use seasonal burning activities as one tool to comply with the government-mandated fuel management requirements. Open burning is always done with methods that mitigate emissions and impact on neighbouring communities.
Open burns can take many months to plan and are managed in such a way as to minimize the chance of escape and emission of smoke while maximizing the benefits to the site.
Open burning is only permitted when the forecast Ventilation Index is sufficient to disperse smoke. The Ventilation Index provides a smoke-control forecast for BC. The venting index must be favourable to support open burning. In the event the venting index isn’t favourable, burning cannot start or is terminated immediately.
Firewood sales are another way that land managers comply with their fuel management commitments. Small scale chipping and grinding programs are additional activities that can be used to meet fuel management objectives while reducing open burning.
For more information about the BC Government’s Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air/air-pollution/smoke-burning/regulations/openburningregulation