As wildfires rage across the province, Vancouver is taking action to protect one of its most popular outdoor attractions from the possibility of fire.
Although Vancouver is known for its rainy weather, Environment Canada told CBC News that the last rainfall recorded at Vancouver International Airport was on June 15, creating extremely dry conditions.
Consequently, with the ongoing drought and high temperatures, the Vancouver Park Board stated that it will be restricting access to Stanley Park during the night due to fire risks.
“The current conditions in Stanley Park are extreme right now and given the size of the park, the risk of a fire breaking out overnight when fewer people may notice it or report it presents a significant threat to the wellbeing of the park, its trees, wildlife, and everyone who relies on the park and its ongoing health,” park operations director Amit Gandha stated in a news release. “We have been in close contact with our partners at Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services as well as the Vancouver Police Department and they fully support this proactive measure to reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire in the park.”
The Vancouver Park Board announced today (July 30) that it is temporarily halting all non-essential access to Stanley Park between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day, starting today and will continue indefinitely until the fire risk has been “significantly reduced”.
Park rangers are establishing overnight access control points at five locations around the park to minimize the number of individuals in the area during the night. The locations are:
- traffic circle off Georgia Street;
- corner of Barclay Street and Park Lane;
- corner of Beach Avenue and Park Lane;
- north exit of the Stanley Park Causeway;
- south exit of the Stanley Park Causeway.
Any vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, or others who don’t require mandatory access to the park will be turned away.
Exceptions will be those who require entry, including emergency services, patrons and staff of park businesses, and the No. 19 bus.
Individuals in the park after the closure can leave through the control points.
The Stanley Park Causeway will remain open but the seawall will be closed (with signs about the closure for pedestrians and cyclists).
During the closure, park rangers will also patrol the park, which covers over 400 hectares, to monitor activity.
The B.C. government had declared a state of emergency as of July 21 due to the wildfires across the province that have prompted alerts and evacuations.