Crews conduct burn near Fort Steele

Ecosystem restoration burn fills sky with smoke out near Fort Steele.

A large plume of smoke was visible from Cranbrook and the area on Friday afternoon, as the province teamed up with the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration Program to conduct a controlled burn out near Fort Steele.

The burn, which is covering roughly 110 hectares in and around the Lakit Ridge area, was monitored by trained B.C. Wildfire Service personnel at all times.

Nearby Brewery Ridge was the site of a controlled burn in the spring of 2014.

Ecosystem restoration burns help create landscape level fuel breaks, reduce the level of forest fuels, mitigate the severity of future fires and decreases wildfire risks.

In addition, prescribed burns also help maintain wildlife habitat and will help increase the forage range of bighorn sheep in the Lakit Ridge area.

Fire is a natural, normal process in many ecosystems and helps maintain a healthy forest. Many plants and animals have adapted to fire in forests, and some depend on regular fire events to reproduce.

All prescribed burns must comply with the Environmental Management Act and the open burning smoke control regulations.