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Prescribed burn planned for South Cariboo

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development plans to conduct a 500-hectare prescribed burn in the Crows Bar area between April 16 and April 30, weather and site conditions permitting.

Administered by the ministry’s Ecosystem Restoration Program, the burn will help restore native grassland ecosystems in the area. It will cover about 500 hectares on the eastern bank of the Fraser River (across from the Churn Creek Protected Area), about 70 kilometres west of 100 Mile House and about 50 kilometres northwest of Clinton.

Smoke from this controlled fire may be visible from nearby communities.

The decision on when to proceed with this prescribed burn will depend on weather and site conditions. BC Wildfire Service firefighters from the Cariboo Fire Centre will assist with this project and will carefully monitor the fire at all times.

A prescribed burn is an intentionally ignited fire that is planned and managed by a certified “burn boss”. Such burns are only conducted when conditions are suitable and will allow for quick smoke dissipation. The burn boss is responsible for ensuring that the initial burn conditions are favourable, and that the fire is fully extinguished once the prescribed burn is completed.

Historically, grasslands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were renewed through frequent, low-intensity ground fires. Such fires prevented tree encroachment, rejuvenated understory plants, and helped maintain more open grasslands and forests with large trees.

The reintroduction of managed, low-intensity ground fires to these grasslands is intended to restore and maintain traditional grassland plant communities that are native to these areas. These types of planned fires also reduce accumulations of flammable material (fuel management), leading to a decreased risk of significant wildfires.

The planned Crows Bar prescribed fire is part of an ongoing ecosystem restoration program administered by the provincial government through the Cariboo’s Ecosystem Restoration Steering Committee, in consultation with First Nations, local ranchers, forest licensees, outdoors organizations, the Fraser Basin Council, the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society.

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