Sunday smoke in Kimberley was from planned burn

Smoke from planned burn easing in East Kootenay Trench

  • Apr. 20, 2015 11:00 a.m.

CRANBROOK – On Sunday, April 19, 2015, the Wildfire Management Branch conducted an ecosystem restoration burn near Cherry Creek in the East Kootenay. Wildfire Management Branch fire crews were monitoring the area again Monday day and extinguishing any hot spots within the fire’s perimeter.

Wildfire Management Branch staff determined that the weather  forecast, the venting index and wind direction were all favourable  prior to igniting the fire.

Smoke is an inevitable side-effect of burning and as the temperature  drops later in the day, smoke tends to settle in valleys. As evidenced from the amount of smoke that was produced on Sunday, there was a significant build-up of forest fuels within the project’s  boundaries. The majority of the smoke seen in Kimberley and  surrounding areas dissipated within a few hours.

This burn project will help increase biodiversity in the area, improve badger and Lewis’s woodpecker habitat and expand winter grazing grounds for a variety of ungulates. This project is tied to the Artesian Pasture prescribed burn that took place in the fall of  2014. Together, they will help protect Kimberley and surrounding  communities from the possibility of catastrophic wildfires in the  summer months.

Historically, the Rocky Mountain Trench has had an open valley bottom with very few trees present. Low-intensity fires tended to burn every five to seven years in the valley bottom, while fires burned at about 20-year intervals at higher elevations.

In the absence of fire in recent decades, these areas had become overgrown. A build-up of forest fuels (combustible materials such as underbrush, pine needles and wood debris) can increase the risk of  more intense and damaging forest fires.

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