Prescribed Burn  |  March 14, 2024

As an integral component of the City of Merritt’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, the Merritt Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) is implementing prescribed burns targeting surface fuels within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).

Prescribed burning operations are slated to commence this Spring, specifically in the area above Mountain Drive on the Bench, with the tentative start date set for March 14th. The prescribed burns are scheduled to persist until the end of April, or longer, concluding upon the onset of green-up. It is important to emphasize that ignition activities will only proceed under favourable weather and venting conditions, ensuring both the safety of the operation and the rapid dissipation of smoke.

Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated as we work collectively to mitigate wildfire risks in our community.

Prescribed Burn  |  March 4, 2024

As part of the City of Merritt’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, the fire department regularly conducts prescribed burns of surface fuels within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) as part of a fire safety and prevention program.  The Merritt Fire Rescue Department (MFRD) will be gathering small piles of woody debris this coming week. When weather and venting conditions permit, fire crews will burn the debris the following week.

Prep Work starts: February 26, 2024
Ignition & Fuel Removal starts: March 4, 2024 *


Ignition will only occur if conditions are suitable and will allow for quick smoke dissipation. If local weather and venting conditions are acceptable, the burn will commence around March 4, 2024.


Prescribed fire is the planned and intentional use of fire on a specific land area. It is one of the most ecologically appropriate and relatively efficient means for achieving a range of objectives. The goal of these burns is to mimic naturally occurring ground fires and reduce the level of dead and combustible material in grassland and open forest areas. The removal of forest fuels helps reduce the threat of interface wildfires.

Prescribed fire in these forest interface areas will help protect homes, businesses, and other infrastructure. This practice can also discourage insect infestations and help fire-adapted plant species reproduce. Prescribed fire can also contribute to achieving air quality and climate action targets by preventing large, intense wildfires and replacing them with more frequent, well-timed, well-planned low-intensity fires.


  • Fire is a normal, natural process in many of British Columbia’s ecosystems. Many species of plants, birds, insects and other animals depend on fire for its regenerative properties.
  • Fire helps control insects and the spread of disease in forests. It also contributes to forest regeneration, as younger trees replace older trees. Having trees of various ages in a forest helps create biodiversity.
  • Prescribed burning is one of the tools used by forest professionals to achieve land management objectives. For example, fire can be used to enhance habitat and improve forage for cattle, deer, bighorn sheep and moose. A controlled burn also can reduce fuel loads (combustible material such as underbrush and dead wood) and reduce the risk of wildfire in interface areas (where urban development borders on rural areas).
  • The size and intensity of prescribed burns are carefully planned and controlled to meet management objectives for fire-maintained ecosystems. Prescribed burns are only ignited when weather conditions are favourable and when the fire will not create excessive smoke. Important factors that are used to determine the date of a burn include the venting index, temperature, humidity and wind conditions.
  • The venting index is a measure of how quickly smoke will disperse under specific conditions. Prescribed fires may only be ignited on days when the forecast for the venting index is “good”.
  • All prescribed burns must comply with the Environmental Management Act and the open burning smoke control regulation. This helps minimize the amount of smoke generated.
    A prescribed burn is ignited and continuously monitored by trained firefighting crews to ensure that the fire does not get out of control.