Stanley Park visitors urged to be extra vigilant due to extreme fire risk
As the region enters the hottest month of the year, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is appealing to the public to be extra vigilant about fire safety in Stanley Park.
Conditions in Stanley Park are extremely dry due to an ongoing looper moth infestation which has affected around 20 per cent of the park’s trees, with significant impacts throughout the park.
The looper moth is a native insect that feasts primarily on hemlocks and Douglas firs. Outbreaks typically last around three to four years, but warmer environments due to climate change have prolonged their lifespans, allowing them to inflict a more severe impact on local trees.
Pesticides cannot be used to treat the insect infestation without harming other important and beneficial insects within the park ecosystem.
Subsequent years of severe weather, including persistent drought conditions in summer and harsh winters, have added extra stress to impacted trees and, in turn, left them more susceptible to insect infestations. While the looper moth is common in B.C., the current stress factors and abundance of hemlock in the park has made the impact substantial.
We are urging all park users to practice extra caution with the fire risk in the park and to follow guidance from the Park Board and Vancouver Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) to support public safety and protect this world-famous greenspace.
- If you see fire or smell smoke, call 911 immediately
- If you see a fire hazard, please report it by calling 311 or using the Van311 app
- As always, smoking is prohibited in all parks and beaches in Vancouver and subject to a fine of $250
- No campfires or fire pits
- BBQs (of any kind) are not permitted in Stanley Park. Propane BBQs may be used elsewhere in the city, following safety guidelines
Working with a forestry consultant, staff will undertake a comprehensive operation to manage impacted trees in support of public safety and to safeguard park infrastructure. This plan will involve the Host Nations, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, in addition to several regional agencies. More details about the operation will be communicated in the fall.
In an effort to manage current wildfire risks in Stanley Park, staff are meeting or exceeding Metro Vancouver’s Wildfire Preparedness and Response External website, opens in new tab guidance. On-the-ground efforts have been augmented and staff have been redeployed to increase capacity in Stanley Park, including:
- Ongoing completion of risk assessments on trees in Stanley Park
- Strategic watering to minimize ignition risk where two full-time water crews are dedicated to Stanley Park and use water cannons to dampen forest edges closest to busy areas
- Removing vegetation fringe that encroaches into roadways and poses an ignition risk
- Managing ongoing removals where necessary to support public safety
Ranger patrols of Stanley Park have been increased with particular focus on high risk areas. Fire conditions signage has been posted throughout the park and Rangers will work with the VFRS to extinguish any sources of ignition and educate park users on the elevated risk.
Rangers maintain close contact with VFRS and provide exact coordinates of fires using the What3Words External website, opens in new tab app, allowing for a targeted response anywhere in the park at any time.
For more information on the conditions in Stanley Park visit vancouver.ca/stanley-park-trees.
For guidance on fire safety in parks, visit vancouver.ca/firesafety.