WEST KELOWNA —; If you see smoke in West Kelowna, specifically from Glen Canyon Regional Park, it’s likely coming from a controlled burn.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is taking advantage of good air quality and venting conditions on Wednesday to get some debris burning work done in the southern part of the regional park.
“This is to dispose of dead and hazardous trees, ladder fuels, brushing vegetation and spacing trees on just over 1,500 hectares throughout the southern portion of the park from the trail entrances at Hebert and Brown Roads and Westbank Centre Park, south to the Gellatly Road parking area,” says Bruce Smith with the RDCO.
Smith says eligible property owners with permits from the local fire authority are allowed to do open burning on Wednesday.
The regional district says there will be more controlled burns in the coming months to dispose of several hundred piles of fire hazard wood. The debris will be collected along a two-and-a-half kilometre section of trail in Trepanier Creek Greenway Regional Park as a result of the 2012 wildfire.
The logging and burning in regional parks is in an effort to prevent the spread of wildfires that can threaten nearby communities.
However, the mayor of West Kelowna, a city that has been repeatedly hit by interface fires, said on Tuesday that more can be done, if only the province would provide more consistent funding.
“We need financial resources for the most part in order to do this job in partnership with the province,” said West Kelowna mayor Doug Findlater.
Findlater said provincial funding levels for fire prevention work are not consistent year after year.
“Last year they cut the amount of money available for wildfire funding and I think that hampered us and other municipalities,” said Findlater.
More controlled burns will be done throughout the winter and spring as part of a multi-year B.C. Wildfire Management Branch fire hazard mitigation program on a ten-hectare section of Rose Valley Regional Park off Pettman and Bowes Roads.
The RDCO advises the public that as the burns are conducted, trails in the work areas may be temporarily closed.
“Park users are asked to watch for signs advising that trails are closed and that they stay off any closed areas of the park,” says Smith.
~ With files from Cole Deakin
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