Fires in the Rough: A Close Examination of the Fire Hazards in the Rural-Urban Fringe in Kelowna, B.C.


  • Allison L. Hughes Thompson Rivers University
  • Michael J. Simak Thompson Rivers University


Fire hazards in the rural-urban fringe have been a cause of concern for several decades. During the hot, dry summer months, risks for fires increase dramatically. This is due in part to the low level of maintenance in these areas when compared to their urban counterparts, as well as the issues of weather, lack of adherence to policy regarding environmental management, and the emergency response of the region. These issues have been thoroughly investigated using a deep literature review using peer reviewed articles, newspaper articles, regional data from statistics Canada, and this paper includes an examination of wildfire events in the Kelowna area, exploring the potential improvements from the perspectives of management, policy, and individual responsibility. We found that the probability of fires occurring is greater in the rural- urban fringe, the response time by regional district is slower, and there is a greater susceptibility of the landscape to hazardous weather conditions. In conclusion, the social and physical characteristics of the rural-urban fringe in Kelowna promote an environment that is particularly vulnerable to wildfires, and the city is continuing to improve land-use patterns in the area to ensure a decrease risk of fire hazards.