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Controlled burns to help Cariboo grasslands

BC Wildfire Service crews will assist with six ecosystem restoration burns in the Cariboo Fire Centre over the next few weeks.

These prescribed burns will be managed by the ministry’s Ecosystem Restoration Program and will help restore natural grassland ecosystems. The burns could begin as early as Monday, April 8, 2019, and end as late as May 3, 2019.

Firefighters from the Cariboo Fire Centre will monitor these fires at all times.

The following areas will be treated:

Doc English Lake (Becher Prairie):

* 150 hectares south of Highway 20 near Cotton Road, about 30 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake

Sonny’s Meadow:

* 184 hectares, about 7.5 kilometres northeast of Esket

Esk’etemc IR 5:

* 67 hectares, about five kilometres north of Esket

Esk’etemc IR 18:

* 10 hectares, about 12 kilometres northeast of Esket

Joe Bacon:

* 91 hectares, about three kilometres northeast of Esket

Joes Lake:

* 54 hectares, about four kilometres south of Esket

A prescribed burn is an intentionally ignited fire that is planned and managed by a certified “burn boss.” The burn boss is responsible for ensuring initial burn conditions are favourable and the fire is fully extinguished once the prescribed burn is completed.

These burns will proceed only if the site, weather and venting conditions are suitable.

All prescribed burns must comply with the Environment Management Act and the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. This helps minimize the amount of smoke generated.

Historically, grasslands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were renewed through frequent, low-intensity ground fires. Such fires prevented tree encroachment, rejuvenated the understory plants that grow under the forest canopy 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 native to these areas.

These types of prescribed fires also reduce accumulations of woody debris and other flammable material, which will help decrease the risk of significant wildfires in these areas in future.

These six controlled burns are part of an ongoing ecosystem restoration program administered by the provincial government through the Cariboo-Chilcotin Ecosystem Restoration 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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