Community Wildfire Protection Plan
The District of West Vancouver’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan helps us prepare for and respond to wildfires where our community meets the forest. Approximately 50% of land in the District is within 100 metres of a forested area.
The plan contains 54 strategic recommendations for improving emergency response and training, community education, emergency communications, building practices, and more, to make our community as fire safe as possible.
This document provides the District with a framework that can be used to review and assess areas of identified moderate and high fire risk within the District
Forest thinning work to reduce wildfire spread will be taking place in a six-hectare section of second-growth forest in West Vancouver near the Baden Powell Trail. The work is scheduled to begin this spring, however, depending on contractor availability, it may occur in the fall of 2022.
The District is in the request for proposal (RFP) stage, and a timeline of when the work will begin isn’t available yet.
Forest thinning reduces the amount of wildfire fuel by leaving mature and deciduous trees, while removing underbrush and woody debris, pruning lower branches, and removing tight second-growth trees.
The Community Wildfire Protection Plan designated this area as high risk of wildfire. This District has secured Community Resilience Grant Funding Union of BC Municipalities for this pilot project, and has consulted with local Indigenous communities on responsibly conducting forest work in this area.
There are a number of other key areas that are in need of forest thinning, and this work will be done on a priority basis, as the budget and funding allows.
The work is designed to be sensitive to forest and streamside ecosystems. Riparian and wetland areas are monitored to limit disturbances as much as possible.
After work is completed, a mixture of native deciduous shrubs and smaller trees suitable for the site are replanted. This helps restore the natural biodiversity of the area and replace the non-native plants that increase wildfire risk.
Forest thinning increases light for plants on the forest floor and provides better habitat for wildlife, especially after a few years. The retention of large trees and logs creates a structure similar to old forests.
Wildfire Development Permit Area
The Wildfire Hazard Development Permit Area was approved by Council on December 14 and includes all properties within 100 metres of a forested area—approximately 50% of land in the District.
The Development Permit Area will make our neighbourhoods safer by reducing the risk of wildfire hazards to new buildings, as well as minimizing the spread of fires into the community. A development permit is now needed before constructing most single- and multiple-family homes and coach houses. Although the District Fire Department recommends these guidelines for all existing homes, a development permit is not required for work on existing homes.
Learn more: westvancouver.ca/wildfire-dpa
Managing strands of non-hazardous dead trees
Due to climate change, there are a considerable number of dead cedar trees in our parks. Removing these trees is costly. Early this year, the Parks Department developed a pilot program for managing groups of dead trees on District-owned lands and parks, excluding boulevards. This program will allow residents to remove groups of dead trees at their own expense, using a District-approved contractor.
Learn more: westvancouver.ca/tree-cutting-permits
The FireSmart Community program is designed to encourage local, self-organized groups of neighbours to implement solutions for wildfire safety by engaging and supporting homeowners, community leaders and others in shared efforts to protect people and property from wildfire.
FireSmart assessments have been completed for critical infrastructures in the District, such as fire halls, water infrastructure, and others recommended in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
Learn more: westvancouver.ca/firesmart