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Posted: April 18, 2019

Ecosystem restoration burns planned for Premier Lake area

The Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program, in conjunction with the BC Wildfire Service, BC Parks and the Rocky Mountain Trench Natural Resources Society, plans to conduct a series of ecosystem restoration burns in the Premier Lake area.

Premier Lake is about 40 kilometres north of Cranbrook and about six kilometres east of Skookumchuck. The prescribed burns may be lit between April 17 and April 30, with the exact timing dependent on weather and site conditions.

The burns will only be ignited if burning conditions are suitable. Trained firefighters will ensure that the fires remain within predetermined boundaries.

* The first of these burn projects will cover about 11 hectares near the Yankee-Canuck Lakes Loop Trail in Premier Lake Provincial Park.

* The second burn will cover about 158 hectares directly west of Quartz Lake.

* BC Parks staff is assisting with the planning and completion of these burns.

Pre-burning and preparations for the first burn project began today, April 17.

Smoke from these burns may be visible from Sheep Creek, Skookumchuck, Wasa Lake and surrounding communities.

Historically, forests in the Rocky Mountain Trench were renewed through frequent, low-intensity ground fires. Such fires removed understory plants (plants beneath the forest canopy) and resulted in a relatively open forest with large, healthy trees. The reintroduction of managed, low-intensity ground fires is intended to restore and maintain native plant communities and improve wildlife habitat and cattle forage.

These types of prescribed fires also reduce accumulations of wood debris and other flammable material, which will help decrease the risk of significant wildfires in these areas in future.

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