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More ecosystem restoration burns planned in Cariboo

Cariboo Fire Centre to burn at Doc English and Neewa
Firefighters work to cool the edges on a prescribed burn near Bond Lake in Williams Lake on Sept. 22, 2022. (Ruth Lloyd photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The BC Wildfire Service plans to conduct two ecosystem restoration burns within the Cariboo Fire Centre over the next few weeks.

The exact timing of the burn will be dependent on weather, site and venting conditions. Ignitions will proceed only if conditions are suitable and allow for quick smoke dissipation, though smoke may also linger in the following days.

Doc English

This ecosystem restoration burn will cover up to 10 hectares in size near Doc English bluff which is about 17 kilometres east of Riske Creek and 12 kilometres east of Tl’esqox First Nation.

Smoke may impact residents near the burn area and will be highly visible from Williams Lake, Riske Creek, Tl’esqox First Nation and surrounding communities, and to motorists travelling along Highway 20.

This burns could begin as early as Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022 and continue periodically until Thursday Oct. 21, 2022.

The goals of this burn include: restoring open grasslands by reducing encroachment from juniper and conifer trees, improving the grassland forage for future wildlife and cattle grazing, reducing the wildfire hazard within the area and to promote the growth of local plant species while reducing the spread of invasive plant species.


The BC Wildfire Service is supporting the Range Branch to conduct this ecosystem restoration burn. It will cover up to 27 hectares and is about 9 kilometres northwest of Batnuni Lake, near Neewa Creek.

Smoke will be highly visible from the community of Titetown, and to motorists travelling along Batnuni Road.

Burning may begin as early as Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022 and will continually periodically until Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.

The burn aims to restore native grassland ecosystems by reducing encroachment by aspen trees and to improve the grassland forage for future and cattle grazing.

Historically, grasslands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were renewed through frequent, low-intensity ground fires. Such fires prevented tree encroachment, rejuvenated understory plants and helped maintained 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 the traditional grassland plant communities that are native to these areas. These managed fires also reduce fuel loads, leading to a decreased risk of catastrophic wildfires.

The ecosystem burn 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, local forest licensees, outdoor organizations, Fraser Basin Council, the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society.

Cariboo Fire Centre has, however, extended the Category 2 and 3 open fire prohibition throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre until Oct. 15, 2022 for the general public. The current ban was set to expire on Oct. 1.

“This prohibition, which is being implemented jointly with the Tsilhqot’in (Xeni Gwet’in) Nation, is being done to help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety due to continued unseasonably warm and dry conditions,” stated a release last week. Campfires less than a half-metre by a half-metre are permitted. For a map of the affected areas go to:

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone.

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Read more:Controlled burn within Williams Lake could be a model for province

Read more: PHOTOS: Bond Lake prescribed burn near Williams Lake

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