The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is urging caution in areas where fireguards were established to help fight wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
“These environmentally sensitive areas are not intended for vehicle traffic, including off-road vehicles,” an information bulletin stated Wednesday.
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.
- Existing off-road vehicle trails may be impassable due to the effects of wildfires and fireguard construction.
- Fireguards may be impassable due to a rehabilitation treatment called “pullback,” in which soil and wood debris that were removed during the fireguard’s construction are redistributed along the fireguard.
- Trees and tree roots within burned areas can be severely damaged by fire. This could make the trees unstable and they could fall down without warning.
- Increased water flow during spring runoff periods (freshets) may have washed out sections of roads, trails and fireguards, which could result in deep ditches across previously established routes.
- Members of the public who use fireguards to reach hunting areas or participate in recreational opportunities may find those routes impassable on their return if the fireguards have been rehabilitated in the meantime.
The Ministry said it has been working to rehabilitate fireguards created in the Cariboo over the past two years.
Spark arrestors are required for all off-road vehicles operating on Crown land.