Wildfire Protection

The City of Kamloops has updated its Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), a well-planned, sustainable prevention and preparedness program that combines public preparedness education around the wildfire risk with appropriate mitigation efforts. The plan outlines the following goals:

  • to identify and quantify the forestland wildfire threats that directly impact on the developed land within the City of Kamloops
  • to identify and map all possible fuel management treatment areas within approximately 200 meters of developed areas, that would assist in reducing the wildfire threats in the area
  • to establish fuel management guidelines for the City of Kamloops to allow quantifiable assessments of past fuel management activities to ensure fuel treatments meet a consistent standard over time and identify maintenance priorities
  • to prioritize new fuel management activities and a maintenance schedule for past treatment units
  • to identify opportunities to improve wildfire suppression access to the crown land surrounding the community
  • to ensure all fuel management activities recognize the important recreational and visual values of the forested land in and around the City of Kamloops
  • to increase awareness of the unique wildfire threats in the City of Kamloops area

The City aggressively pursues wildfire threat reduction treatments on B.C Crown and Municipal Crown lands within the City boundaries. These varied treatments include salvage harvesting, basic pine removal activity with heavy equipment, hand crew treatments involving danger tree removal, spacing and pruning, and surface fuel reduction activities.

The objective of wildfire threat reduction efforts should not be to stop all fires, as this is not realistic or achievable. The objectives should be:

  • to use forest fuel management techniques to alter wildfire behaviour on the forested land adjacent to developments to greatly reduce the potential for house and structure losses
  • to create safe access for wildland fire crews to more efficiently and effectively control wildfires
  • to construct and maintain houses that are designed to withstand a wildfire

Learn more about how you can reduce the wildfire risk to your home and property here.

Guiding Principles
  • Wildfires occur regularly in the natural environment surrounding and within the Kamloops City limits and will continue to occur regardless of the most successful prevention programs.
  • In some natural environments, planned prescribed fire (as opposed to wildfire) is desirable and effective in restoring ecological health and reducing the risk of wildfire losses.
  • Losses to wildfire cannot be eliminated; however, they can be significantly reduced with appropriate pre-planning and preparation.
  • Education, engineering, and enforcement are the pillars of wildfire risk reduction.
  • A comprehensive approach involving fuel management, infrastructure and structural design, pre-suppression preparedness, and emergency response must be taken to effectively reduce the risk of wildfire losses.
  • Mitigations must not only be planned for, but carried out.
  • Due to the dynamic nature of wildland vegetation and community, ongoing maintenance must occur and mitigations must be re-evaluated and adapted to changing situations.
The Challenge in Kamloops

Historically, forest fires naturally occurred every three to thirty years in Kamloops. Because of this frequency, they burned much cooler and smaller than they do today. However, extremely effective fire suppression over the past century has allowed for forest ingrowth and dead vegetative material to accumulate, increasing the fuel load in our natural forests. 

To add to this concern, an increasing number of communities are being established in rural areas, placing homes directly adjacent to flammable areas and increasing the number and magnitude of wildland/urban interface incidents in British Columbia.

Wildland fire suppression and structural fire suppression can be extremely dangerous and costly. Wildland/urban interface fire suppression increases the expense and danger to all suppression resources and the public exponentially. 

Wildland-Urban Interface

The wildland/urban interface is the geographical point where the diverse values of the wilderness and urban development meet. In the interface, structures and vegetation close enough that a wildfire may spread to structures or a structural fire may ignite trees and vegetation.