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Posted: October 6, 2015

Prescribed burns planned into mid-month

The public is advised that the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program in conjunction with the BC Wildfire Service are planning to conduct prescribed burns in the East Kootenay between September 23 and mid-October, weather and burning conditions permitting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the prescribed burns being conducted for ecosystem restoration purposes will occur on Burnt Bottom Pasture and is located one kilometre west of the Highway 93 Bridge over the Elk River on the east side of Koocanusa Reservoir and south of Fitzpatrick Road. The burn area proposed is for a total of 380 hectares.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHistorically, the forest in the Rocky Mountain Trench was renewed through frequent, low- intensity ground fires. Such fires removed the shrubby understory and created a relatively open forest with large, healthy trees. The exclusion of fire from the landscape over recent decades has increased the fuels that contribute to the risk of more intense and damaging fires, and reduced the amount of open grasslands in the Rocky Mountain Trench. Combined with other factors, the resulting forest ingrowth has caused an overall deterioration in wildlife habitat, cattle forage and forest values.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe reintroduction of low-intensity ground fires to these forests is intended to maintain and restore what ecologists describe as a “fire maintained, Douglas fir, fescue grass community,” which is natural for these sites.

These fires are part of an ongoing restoration program administered by the provincial government in partnership with many non-government organizations. For more information, visit www.trench-er.com.

The public is invited to contact the Ecosystem Restoration Program to discuss the use of fire as a management tool and other aspects of the ecosystem restoration program.

Photos of a prescribed burn Sept. 24 by BC Wildfire Services for grassland ecosystem restoration and wildland/urban interface fuel management purposes, as part of the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program by Randy Harris.

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