Burned areas come with all sorts of dangers, warns ministry. Angie Mindus photo.

Ministry urges caution for anyone travelling on burned Crown land

Particular restraint advised around fireguards cleared for 2017 wildfires

Burned trees and root systems, heavy machinery and increased water flow are some of the dangers the Ministry of Forests are warning the public about, if they plan on using Crown land impacted by the 2017 wildfires in the Cariboo.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is urging the public using caution while travelling on Crown land, particularly in areas where firefighters and heavy machinery installed fireguards during last summer’s wildfires.

Fireguards are strips of land cleared of vegetation and flammable material along the perimeter of a wildfire in an attempt to slow the spread.

The ministry said they have been working to rehabilitate fireguards and that the “environmentally sensitive areas” are not intended for vehicle traffic.

Anyone near the fire guards, or within the burned areas should be aware of the following dangers:

  • 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 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.

Spark arrestors are also required for all off-road vehicles operating on Crown land.

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