Vancouver's iconic Stanley Park closing overnight due to extreme fire risk

The Vancouver Park Board is closing the iconic park for seven straight nights in order to reduce the risk of a fire, during these extremely dry conditions. Kristen Robinson reports live from Stanley Park.

The Vancouver Park Board has announced it will be closing all non-essential access to Stanley Park during the overnight hours in an effort to reduce the fire risk in the park.

The fire danger rating in the area right now is extreme due to the current drought conditions and sustained heat.

The park will be temporarily closed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. beginning Friday night until further notice.

“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,” said Amit Gandha, director of park operations, in a 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.”

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s largest urban park, with more than 400 hectares of naturalized West Coast forest. The park has approximately half a million trees — mostly cedar, fir, and hemlock — some of which are hundreds of years old.

It also has a historical and present-day cultural significance to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations, whose ancestors first inhabited the unceded territory.

Read more:
With high temperatures and tinder-dry conditions, B.C.’s wildfire danger is extreme

The Park Board said rangers will set up temporary overnight access control points at five locations across the park to reduce the number of individuals in the park overnight. Vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and anyone who does not require access to the park will be turned around at access control points.

The access control points will be positioned at the following locations:

  • traffic circle off Georgia Street
  • corner of Barclay and Park Lane
  • corner of Beach Ave and Park Lane
  • south exit of the Stanley Park Causeway
  • north exit of the Stanley Park Causeway

Anyone who needs to enter the park during the closure, including the #19 bus, emergency services, and staff, will be allowed in through the control points.

Anyone who is still in the park after it is closed will be able to leave through the control points.

Read more:
Severe drought in Western Canada will pressure food industry, raise prices: Expert

The causeway will remain open but access to the seawall will be closed.

Signs will be posted and park rangers will be patrolling, the Park Board said.

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