Burnaby Mountain Wildfire Report

January 13, 2020

The SFU Burnaby campus is surrounded by forest – belonging both to SFU and to the City of Burnaby.

In order to understand the nature of the forest on Burnaby Mountain, the risk of a forest fire and what can be done to mitigate the risk, Safety & Risk Services, in cooperation with Facilities Services, retained an environmental consulting firm specializing in wildfire management, resource management and environmental planning to develop a wildfire management plan for the university that is specific to SFU Burnaby lands.

The full wildfire management plan is available here:

FAQs

Q: Why did SFU commission the Burnaby mountain wildfire risk report?

The Burnaby SFU campus is surrounded by forest. Historically, lightning strikes and human actions have caused small fires. As the climate changes, the use of forested lands on Burnaby Mountain increases, and more residents move to the mountain, the risk of a forest fire and its potential impacts to the safety of the university community increases.

Q: What is the risk of wildfire on Burnaby Mountain?

Results from the wildfire risk analysis show that much of the Burnaby SFU and City of Burnaby natural forested area to the south east and west of the SFU Burnaby campus poses a low to moderate risk. The forests in these areas support mostly deciduous trees that are less flammable and are growing on moderate slopes. The greatest risk from a wildfire event is from the steep northern slopes adjacent to the SFU Burnaby campus in the Burnaby Conservation Area belonging to City of Burnaby. The city is aware of this risk and is addressing it separately.  

Q: What is SFU doing about the report recommendations?

The recommendations are achievable and are being acted upon by Facilities Services (FS) and Safety & Risk Services (SRS).

Some of the actions we are taking include:

  • Consulting with an arborist (tree and shrub expert) to create a “fuel-free” space between trees or shrubs and buildings adjacent to the forest.
  • Providing public education on forest fire risk and communicating forest fire risk level to the community.
  • Providing training and fire suppression equipment to landscapers.
  • Ensuring construction and renovation of future buildings include fire resistant materials.

The full list of recommendations is available here:

Q: Is SFU working with City of Burnaby on the wildfire risk mitigation?

The full report has been shared with the City of Burnaby and discussions are underway regarding next steps.

Q: If there is a wildfire on Burnaby Mountain what should I do?

As part of your personal emergency preparedness, please familiarize yourself with the SFU Burnaby Campus mass evacuation and shelter in place procedures, sign up for SFU Alerts, and put together a personal grab-and-go kit. During a wildfire event, please follow the instructions of the emergency personnel.

Note that in event of an emergency such as a forest fire evacuation is not always the safest or most appropriate response.

Q: Who can I contact for more information?

Mark LaLonde, SFU Chief Safety Officer: mark_lalonde@sfu.ca