The public is being asked to exercise caution on Crown land impacted by wildfires last year as the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development continue to rehabilitate fireguards.
“Basically the caution is when you’re recreating in any of these areas there could be rehabilitation work going on at any time,” says Susan Cameron, communications officer for wildfire recovery.
“Obviously all 4,000 kilometers are not being worked at exactly the same time so that’s why everyone has to be vigilant and aware that all of those areas will eventually be rehabilitated.”
Anyone traveling or participating in recreational activities near fireguards, or within burned areas, should be aware of the following risks:
- Heavy machinery (including excavators, skidders, and graders) may be working on or near fireguards. Stay clear of any such machinery at all times.
- Existing off-road vehicle (ORV) trails now may be impassable, due to the effects of fire and fireguard construction.
- Fireguards may be impassable due to a rehabilitation treatment called “pullback”, in which soil and wood debris is distributed along the fireguard.
- Trees and tree roots within burned areas can be severely damaged by fire, making the trees unstable. They could fall down without warning at any time.
- Increased water flow from the spring runoff (freshet) may have washed out sections of roads, trails, and fireguards, which could result in deep ditches across your intended route.
To help prevent wildfires, the Ministry reminds off-road vehicle (ORV) operators that spark arrestors are required for all off-road vehicles operating on Crown land.