Beginning this week and lasting until April 30, the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program, alongside the BC Wildfire Services and ?aq’am, will be conducting a prescribed burn in the Wycliffe/Meadowbrook area.
According to their press release, the burn is being conducted for ecosystem restoration purposes. It will occur on Indian Springs Pasture and the ?aq’am Reserve, approximately 12 kilometres north of the St. Eugene Mission. The burn area proposed is for a total of around 700 hectares.
The release states that historically, the forests in the Rocky Mountain Trench were 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 guess that contribute to the risk of more intense and damaging fires; and reduced the amount of grasslands and open forests in the Rocky Mountain Trench.
Combined with other factors, the resulting forest ingrowth has caused an overall deterioration in wildlife habitat, cattle forage and other forest values.
The reintroduction of low-intensity ground fires to these forests is intended to maintain and restore what ecologists describe as “fire maintained, Douglas fir, fescue grass community,” which is natural for these sites.
These fires are part of an ongoing restoration program with the BC provincial Government in partnership with many non-government organizations.