Minnekhada faces 12-month recovery following October’s 14-hectare fire

photo supplied Metro Vancouver

It may be another year before authorities have a complete reckoning of the damage done by the fire that tore through Minnekhada Park last October.

Trails on the east side of the park – including Mid Marsh, High Knoll and Fern trails remain closed. The trail closer to the Quarry Road entrance are open.

map supplied Metro Vancouver

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Those closures are necessary to allow parks staff to check on soil stability and hazard trees over the winter, explained Steve Schaffrick, a division manager of regional parks at Metro Vancouver. The regional authority is planning to draw up recovery plans based on the findings of the winter survey.

“Over the next 12 months, staff will monitor vegetation to determine which plants can regenerate on their own, and where restoration efforts may be required,” Schaffrick stated in an email to the Dispatch.

Visitors to the park are asked to stay off closed trails as steep terrain affected by the wildfire can be prone to landslides, according to Metro Vancouver.

Timo Juurakko of the Tri-City Photo Club snapped this photo as the fire started to spread

The fire

The 14-hectare blaze was started by a small brushfire that spread rapidly as flaming debris rolled downhill, sparking dry brush during a lengthy drought.

Firefighters struggled to control the blaze due to the steep terrain and the risk of falling rock. Crews dug lines and used trails as fire breaks while helicopters ferried buckets of water from Pitt River to the fire.

photo supplied Metro Vancouver

It was nearly four weeks before the fire was put out and the park was able to partially reopen in late October.

Partial re-opening

“Minnekhada will need even more unified volunteer and staff love through stewardship, than ever before, once this fire is out – and one way or the other, we will be there for her,” stated a message from the Minnekhada Park Association during the wildfire.

Metro Vancouver and the Minnekhada Park Association are accepting and matching donations up to $10,000 until the end of the month to assist with the recovery effort.

To learn more or to donate, click here.

file photo Elizabeth Gray, Tri-City Photography Club

Populated by wood ducks, beavers, bears, cougars, and hikers, the park typically gets more than 200,000 visitors each year, according to Metro Vancouver.

The name Minnekhada is taken from Sioux and roughly translates as rattling water.

Related: ‘Astonishing how ill-prepared we are,’ Ravages of drought underscore the need for fundamental change

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