Motor Vehicle Closures established under the Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation of the Wildlife Act in October 2021 are still in place.
These were established across 15 severe wildfire-damaged areas of the Thompson-Okanagan region.
The closures affect backcountry roads across approximately 536,000 hectares, and were established because of the following concerns:
- wildfire impact to habitats that need time to recover;
- erosion of charred soils and impacts to fish habitat;
- increased vulnerability of wildlife due to migration disruptions, habitat loss and improved sight-lines for hunting where vegetation was burned; and
- increased access due to the construction of about 2,900 kilometres of fire guards.
Closure boundaries were created using landmarks, such as roads, rivers and streams near wildfire perimeters.
Certain throughfares remain open. The closures do not affect community residents or access for commercial activities other than hunting. The closures are intended to be in place while recovery efforts are planned and initiated.
On June 27, 2022, the motor vehicle closures were amended to open portions of the previously closed roads to the public, predominantly to allow access to lakes for recreation.
Users may apply for an exemption to access certain closed roads within the fire areas.
It is unknown how long the closures will remain in effect.
Refer to this backgrounder for the location of newly opened roads: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BG_MotorVehicleClosure.pdf