Smoke still visible from Cherry Creek prescribed burn

On May 25, 2015

INFORMATION BULLETIN

Smoke still visible from Cherry Creek prescribed burn

CRANBROOK - Smoke from the Cherry Creek prescribed burn will remain visible in the surrounding area as residual fuels behind the well-established containment lines continue to burn.

The site is being monitored by Wildfire Management Branch personnel. Depending on local weather patterns, the small and contained fires may exhibit intermittent activity, but they pose no threat to any communities or structures. Since this was an ecosystem restoration project, the fires are being allowed to burn themselves out to replicate the effect of naturally occurring wildfire on the landscape.

Fire is a natural, normal process in many ecosystems. It is beneficial and necessary to maintain a healthy forest and a diversity of plant and animal life. Through evolution and exposure to wildfires, many plants and animals have adapted to fire and actually depend on it to reproduce.

This burn project will help increase biodiversity in the area, improve badger and Lewis’s woodpecker habitat and expand winter grazing grounds for ungulates such as deer and elk. This project is tied to the Artesian Pasture prescribed burn that took place in the fall of 2014. Together, these projects will help protect Kimberley and nearby communities from catastrophic wildfires in the summer months.

To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, visit http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news:

* On Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* On Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

A factsheet follows.

Media Contact:

Fanny Bernard
Fire Information Officer
Wildfire Management Branch
Southeast Fire Centre
250 365-4056

FACTSHEET

Prescribed burning used as ecosystem management tool

* Fire is a normal, natural process in many of British Columbia’s ecosystems. Many species of plants, birds, insects and other animals depend on fire for its regenerative properties.

* Fire helps control insects and the spread of disease in forests. It also contributes to forest succession, as younger trees replace older trees. Having trees of various ages in a forest helps creates biodiversity.

* Prescribed burning is one of the tools used by forest professionals to achieve land management objectives. For example, fire can be used to enhance habitat and improve forage for cattle, deer, bighorn sheep and moose. A controlled burn also can reduce fuel loads (combustible material such as underbrush and dead wood) and reduce the risk of wildfire in interface areas (where urban development borders on rural areas).

* The size and intensity of prescribed burns are carefully planned and controlled to meet management objectives for fire-maintained ecosystems. Prescribed burns are only ignited when weather conditions are favourable and when the fire will not create excessive smoke. Important factors that are used to determine the date of a burn include the venting index, temperature, humidity and wind conditions.

* The venting index is a measure of how quickly smoke will disperse under specific conditions. Prescribed fires may only be ignited on days when the forecast for the venting index is “good”.

* 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 prescribed burn is ignited and continuously monitored by firefighting crews to ensure that the fire does not get out of control. The fire crew supervisor (the “burn boss”) is responsible for ensuring that the initial burn conditions are favourable and that the fire is extinguished once the prescribed burn is completed.

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