The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations are planning to conduct an ecosystem restoration burn in the Churn Creek Protected Area between March 15 and April 29, weather permitting.
About 157 hectares will be treated in the East Onion Lakes area of the Churn Creek Protected Area.
This project will enhance habitat and improve forage for mule deer and bighorn sheep. The proactive use of fire will also reduce the amount of sagebrush and prevent the encroachment of fir trees on open grasslands.
BC Parks is conducting this project as part of its ongoing grassland restoration efforts in the Churn Creek area. The ecology of this region has declined since European settlement, partly due to the suppression of naturally occurring wildfires. Using aerial photos from the early 1950s, BC Parks has drawn up a 50-year plan to reintroduce controlled burning in the Churn Creek Protected Area.
Fire is a natural process in many of British Columbia’s ecosystems and many species of plants, birds, insects and other animals depend on fire for its regenerative properties. The size and intensity of prescribed burns are carefully planned and controlled to meet management objectives for fire-maintained ecosystems.
Each fire will be carefully monitored at all times by trained BC Wildfire Service personnel. The fire crew supervisor (the “burn boss”) is responsible for ensuring that initial burning and wind conditions are favourable and that the fire is fully extinguished once the prescribed burning is completed.
All prescribed burns must comply with the Environmental Management Act and the open burning smoke control regulation. This helps minimize the amount of smoke generated.
A factsheet about prescribed burns and ecosystem restoration burns is available online: