Prescribed burn planned in South Country

The Ministry of Forests will be carrying out a prescribed burn of nearly 400 hectares in the South Country this month.

  • Sep. 6, 2013 7:00 a.m.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations will be carrying out a prescribed burn of nearly 400 hectares in the South Country this month.

The burn will be carried out towards the end of September, depending on weather conditions.

“Black-lining” has already been carried out in the area six kilometres south of Elko, which is when a buffer zone is burnt off around the area boundaries ahead of the main burn. This way there is no fuel left when the fire reaches it, and it protects fence posts and the area outside them.

Randy Harris, team leader of the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program in Cranbrook, said they carry out prescribed burns every spring and fall, but it is very dependent on conditions.

“There are only a couple of days when the venting and temperature is just right to burn,” he said. “This will only be a quick, light burn and will probably be over in about 45 seconds.”

Prescribed burns help open up areas of forest in-growth and restore better habitat, diversity and wildfire resilience to the landscape.

The fire will burn 394 hectares near Cutts Road, partly to help improve the habitat for the Lewis’ woodpecker.

A fire is ignited only when weather conditions meet B.C.’s smoke control regulations and when ground conditions allow fires to be managed safely. Prescribed burns mimic the frequent low-intensity ground fires that historically maintained grasslands and open forests in the East Kootenay and Upper Columbia Valley.

Funding for this season’s prescribed burns is provided by the B.C. Government’s Land Based Investment program and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.

Visit to learn more about ecosystem restoration in the Rocky Mountain Trench.