Weather and ground conditions permitting, four prescribed burns will be ignited this month to restore grasslands and open forests on Crown land throughout the Trench.
The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program have planned low-intensity controlled fires in the following areas:
• Artesian Springs just south of McGinty Lake near Meadowbrook (387 hectares)
• The Old Kimberley Airport on Miller road 6 kilometres south of Tata Creek (542 hectares)
• Munson Slough, on Lake Koocanusa 7 kilometres west of Jaffray (588 hectares) and
• Yankee and Canuck Lake in Premier Lake Provincial Park (90 hectares)
Ecosystem restoration projects have been ongoing on these sites for several years. Initial thinning treatments have now reduced forest stands to the point where restorative fire can be introduced safely and effectively.
Local crews from the provincial Wildfire Management Branch Southeast Fire Centre will conduct the burns using plans prepared to achieve specific objectives for each fire.
The crown burns will improve grazing for elk and cattle and will enhance habitat for badgers, an endangered species. The Premier Lake Park burn will restore open forest and grasslands while improving wildlife habitat.
Each fire will be ignited only when weather conditions meet BC’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.
Prescribed fire controls tree regeneration, recycles soil nutrients, rejuvenates bunchgrasses and shrubs, improves forest health, and reduces the risk of more severe wildfire.
Funding for this season’s prescribed burns is provided by the BC Government’s Land Based Investment program and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.