RDN Parks Notice – prescribed burn at Oakdowne Community Park
Who is involved in this project?
The Regional District of Nanaimo’s parkland provides a great opportunity to develop this type of fire break. The project will be conducted in partnership with the British Columbia Wildfire Service of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and with the Dashwood Fire Department.
How do I get more information?
Additional details about the project are enclosed. If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) Recreation and Parks Department at 250 248-3252 or Alan Berry, Forest Protection Officer, British Columbia Wildfire Service at 250 951-4224.
Oakdowne Community Park Project
This notice is to inform you that wildfire fuels management work will continue at Oakdowne Community Park this fall. The project involves reducing the amount of combustible material in the forested, 32-acre community park. Once completed, this work will allow fire fighting crews and equipment to more effectively combat a forest fire in this area before it can spread further.
Work that the crews have completed includes:
- Removing ladder fuels (lower limbs on trees) up to three metres from the ground to prevent a wildfire travelling into the crown of the forest.
- Cutting and placing all large, fallen logs or branches on the ground to ensure they will decompose quickly and the nutrients will be returned to the soil. This will also provide valuable habitat for wildlife.
- Piling small woody debris (branches smaller than 15 centimetres/6 inches) into small piles (no larger than two metres tall by three metres wide) in a safe location. These locations will be chosen in such a way that burning the piles will not damage existing trees, wetlands or recreational trails.
In the fall, winter or early spring, as conditions permit, and in accordance with the Wildfire Act and Regulation and the Ministry of Environment’s Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations, the piles will be burned.
WHY IS THIS PROJECT IMPORTANT?
During the summers 2015 and 2016, forest plots adjacent recreation trails and houses were thinned from below, as part of a FireSmart community project. To complete the treatment, four small plots will be broadcast burnt to showcase the role of fire in understory maintenance of open stands, to build capacity in prescribed fire of BCWS crews and the importance of cross-training with local fire departments especially in the South/Mid-Island Zone.
The treatment area is in the Wildland Urband interface, immediately adjacent rec trails (used by hikers, ATVs and by horseback, notably) and rural houses.
It is also hoped that this project will raise awareness of FireSmart options available to residents. For more information about the FireSmart Program please Click Here.
WHY PRESCRIBED FIRE?
Prescribed fire is the planned and controlled application of fire to a specific land area and is one of the most ecologically appropriate and relatively efficient means for achieving planned public safety and resource management objectives, for example to enhance a habitat, prepare an area for tree planting or, for disease eradication.
These fires 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.
Key objectives for the use of prescribed fire in British Columbia include:
- Creating and maintaining strategic fuel breaks both in the wildland-urban interface and the landscape,
- Reducing understory fuels, restoring fire maintained ecosystems,
- Improving wildlife habitat and domestic range, achieving reforestation objectives,
- Wildfire Act and Wildfire Regulation these are defined as resource management open fires.