Possible smoke visible in Houston and surrounding areas. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Houston Today)

Pile burning for Houston area

Smoke might be visible for Houston and neighbouring areas

The BC Wildfire Service has been undertaking a pile burning activity in the Houston area with the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. (FESBC) since last week to reduce forest fuels and help increase the success rate of the prescribed fire planned for later this year.

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) scheduled the burn to begin on April 12 and will be burning 150 piles of woody debris located 7.5 kilometres southwest of Houston between Buck Flats and the Morice Forest Service Road. This particular area has been identified by the District of Houston as a wildfire threat to the community.

BCWS personnel will be monitoring these fires at all times and any burning is only said to occur when conditions are safe for the smoke to disperse appropriately.

Using prescribed fire in these areas will remove waste wood left behind after timber harvesting and reduce accumulations of forest fuels. In the event of a wildfire, this will result in less intense fire behaviour and make it easier and safer for firefighters to suppress the wildfire. Additionally, these burns are expected to improve access for tree planters; and would also provide training opportunities for the planning and implementation of future prescribed fires and wildfire risk reduction projects.

For the currently scheduled pile burning, burning will only take place if weather conditions are suitable.

The Northwest Fire Centre has also issued a news release urging public to be cautious when outdoor burning.

”The forecast is calling for a drying trend across the Northwest Fire Centre, especially in the Nadina Fire Zone. As the temperature increases, burning conditions become more hazardous; and with windy conditions a grass fire can spread very quickly. Local winds are often strongest in the afternoon and also just as the sun is going down,” says the release.

While there were no open burning prohibitions in effect at the time of going to press, the BCWS staff was monitoring the situation and warned of a potential fire prohibition.

The BCWS has several pile burning planned in the upcoming days apart from the 150 piles in Houston. B.C. Wildfire Service and the Burns Lake Community Forest are pile burning five kilometres southwest of Burns Lake since April 9, there is pile burning planned for 150 piles in the Lund Road Subdivision, near Houston as well as 50 piles’ pile burning at Mount Harry Davis, six kilometres north of Houston.

The BCWS also said in their news release that they will be monitoring these fires at all times.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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