Prescribed burning is a common forest protection technique. (S. John Collins/Baker City Herald via AP, File)

Prescribed burning is a common forest protection technique. (S. John Collins/Baker City Herald via AP, File)

Gov set to burn risk-bush near Quesnel before it burns on its own

Highway 20 southwest of town the target

Forest fires will be deliberately set southwest of Quesnel, in the next few weeks. The Ministry of Forests is attempting to fight fire with fire, before the snows melt and dangers increase of these prescribed burns getting out of control.

The fires will be set along Highway 20. It’s a partnership between the provincial government and the Tsilhqot’in Nation communities, with help from the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional District and BC Hydro.

“The goal of this prescribed burn is to reduce the fuel hazard to protect the infrastructure and prevent uncontrolled fires along the Highway 20 corridor for the spring fire season without significantly impacting the occurrence of invasive species,” said a statement issued by the BC Wildfire Service. “Crews will be targeting high risk areas between Lee’s Corner lookout and Chilanko Forks.”

While burning is underway, traffic control will be on-site to ensure the safety of the public and firefighters.

Burning may begin as early as April 3, and will continue periodically until April 30.

“The exact timing of the burn will be dependent on weather, site and venting conditions,” the BC Wildfire Service said. “Ignitions will proceed only if conditions are suitable and allow for quick smoke dissipation.”

Smoke and flames from this prescribed burn program may be visible from Tsi Del Del, Yunesit’in, T’letinqox, Alexis Creek, Highway 20, and surrounding areas. Firefighters will closely monitor this fire activity at all times.

Residents are reminded to not light up fires without first checking on local compliance with burning bylaws and also consider the air venting regulations of the day. Weather can change quickly.

There are several ways to quickly communicate if an uncontrolled wildfire is spotted. In and around Quesnel, simply dial 911. In the forests outside of town, report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation by calling 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone.

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