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Prescribed fires in East Kootenay part of Ecosystem Restoration Program

Contributor
By Contributor
September 23rd, 2014

The Wildfire Management Branch is planning prescribed fires near Bare Mountain and the Artesian Pasture in East Kootenay to take place between Sept. 23 and Oct. 31, 2014, weather conditions permitting.

These controlled fires are being implemented as part of the Rocky Mountain Ecosystem Restoration Program developed by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment.

Smoke from the Bare Mountain site will be visible from the communities of Baynes Lake and Jaffray. Smoke from the Artesian Pasture site will be visible from Cranbrook and Kimberley.

Prescribed fires may only be ignited on days when the forecast for the venting index is “good” or better. All prescribed fires must comply with the Environmental Management Act’s open burning smoke control regulation, which helps minimize the amount of smoke that’s produced.

Fire is a natural, normal process in many ecosystems. It is beneficial and necessary to maintain a healthy forest and the diversity of plant and animal life. Through evolution and exposure to wildfires, many plants and animals have adapted to fire, and actually depend on it.

Historically, the Rocky Mountain Trench has had a wide, open valley bottom with very few trees. Low-intensity fires would burn every five to seven years in the valley bottom, while upper-elevation fires would burn in intervals of around 20 years. In an absence of fire, these areas have become quite overgrown in recent decades.

Aside from the danger of more intense and damaging forest fires posed by the build-up of forest fuels, the two project locations are important winter ranges and grazing grounds for a variety of ungulates. These fire treatments – in combination with logging, hand slashing and brush clearing projects – will help these areas return to their “natural” state.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

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