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Posted: April 3, 2013

Prescribed burns scheduled

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.

Munson Slough area map

The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program have planned low-intensity controlled fires at: Artesian Springs just south of McGinty Lake near Meadowbrook (387 hectares); The Old Kimberley Airport on Miller Road, six kilometres south of Tata Creek (542 hectares); Munson Slough, along Lake Koocanusa, seven 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 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.

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.

Visit www.trench-er.com to learn more about ecosystem restoration in the Rocky Mountain Trench.

The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program (Trench ER Program) has operated as a successful partnership of government, industry and the public since 1998.

The long-term goal is to restore East Kootenay/Upper Columbia Valley grasslands and open forests to their former fire-maintained condition.

Restoration treatments include thinning forest in-growth and re-introducing fire to the landscape via controlled burns.

Restoration is taking place on Crown land, in provincial and national parks, on private conservation properties and First Nations reserves from Radium Hot Springs to the U.S.border.

Restoring grasslands and open forests enhances biodiversity; restores habitat for species at risk; improves natural grazing for domestic cattle, elk, deer and bighorn sheep; improves forest health; and reduces the risk of severe wildfire.

Visit www.trench-er.com for more information.

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