It has all the ingredients that could lead to a disaster: dead or dying trees, plenty of fuel on the forest floor and close proximity to hundreds of homes on the Westwood Plateau.
For those reasons, Coquitlam council issued a $93,000 funding call Monday to the Union of B.C Municipalities (UBCM) to help mitigate the potential for an interface fire at Ridge Park.
A forestry consultant's study of the 60-hectare park identified about seven hectares as having "high hazard fuel types" - dying or dead trees and other debris on the ground - that need to be removed.
"It's not the whole park, we're not even talking about working on 10 per cent," said Coquitlam Fire and Rescue Services chief Tony Delmonico. "We're really talking about one to two per cent of the park because that's the most problematic and the most dangerous area."
Lanny Englund, Coquitlam's urban forestry manager, said Thursday should the project move ahead, city and forestry personnel will remove the wood and debris via chainsaw and woodchipper.
However, Englund noted a series of factors need to be taken into account before establishing a timeline for when the removal can begin - bird nesting season and forest fire season, among others.
"Whenever we are intending to go ahead with it and we set a date, we'll be doing all kinds of communication in advance so that people aren't surprised," he said.
Delmonico said the Ridge Park area was identified as a prime concern for the city because of a number of factors that exacerbate interface fires: steep slopes, the amount of fuel on the forest floor - referred to as "ladder fuel" - and the fact that some stands of trees are situated so closely together.
The problem with the abundance of ladder fuel, Delmonico explained, is that if it catches fire, it quickly spreads to the tree tops, also known as crowns. On top of those factors, the steep slopes in the area make it easier for flames to spread.
"If you get a crown fire, that's our biggest problem," Delmonico said, adding all of his firefighters have some form of interface fire training.
"It spreads quickly, the wind takes it and it pushes it from tree to tree to tree. Then it starts to move quickly across large areas."
City staff held an open house in late June to discuss the plan and the proposed locations for the tree removal, while 400 letters were sent to homes in close proximity to the area. The city received minimal feedback, though some residents did express concern over how many trees would be removed from the park.
"Some people hate any type of work in the park," Delmonico said.
"But what we're trying to do is make sure the park is there indefinitely rather than it being a bunch of black sticks."