The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is planning to conduct two prescribed burns in the East Kootenay in April.
The timing of the burns is dependent on weather and site conditions.
The first burn is tentatively scheduled for this week, and will be conducted about five kilometres west of Lake Koocanusa, next to Newgate Road in the Bare Mountain region.
This 432-hectare controlled burn is part of the provincial government’s strategy to restore and maintain forest and range ecosystems.
The second fire is scheduled to occur within the next two weeks about five kilometres northeast of Fort Steele, west of the Wildhorse River in the Brewery Ridge area. Smoke and flames from this 200-hectare fire may be visible to residents of Fort Steele and from Highway 95.
Trained wildfire personnel will carefully monitor and control these fires at all times. The burns will proceed only if weather conditions and fire behaviour will allow for quick smoke dissipation and low to moderate fire intensity.
If conditions are not suitable, the burns may not occur this year.
These areas are a part of a multi-area ecosystem restoration prescription held by the Rocky Mountain Natural Resource District. Both fires will help re-establish appropriate ecological conditions, maintain habitat for wildlife and reduce the amount of forest fuels in these areas.
The goal of these burns is to mimic naturally occurring ground fires and reduce the amount of combustible material in open forest areas. Removal of forest fuels helps reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires. Fire can also discourage insect infestations and help native, fire-adapted plant species to reproduce.