The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations says prescribed burning will take place in several areas west and south of Williams Lake between Oct. 17 and Oct. 31, weather conditions permitting.
Originally the ministry had planned to conduct the burns earlier in the season however wet and moist weather hampered efforts, said Hugh Flinton of the ecosystem restoration range branch.
The branch is managing the burns to help restore native grassland ecosystems, he said.
Areas to be treated include approximately 220 hectares at Beecher’s Prairie located on Highway 20 at the Toosey turnoff, 150 hectares at Bald Mountain, south of Riske Creek, 100 hectares at Deer Creek near Alexis Creek, approximately 3,000 hectares at Crow’s Bar in the Fraser River area, south of Dog Creek, and approximately 400 hectares at Ward Creek, also in the Fraser River area, north of Gang Ranch.
“Historically, the grasslands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were renewed through frequent, low-intensity ground fires,” a ministry press release noted. “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 fires are part of an ongoing ecosystem restoration program administered by the provincial government in consultation with First Nations, local ranchers, the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society.
In conjunction with BC Parks, there are also burns planned for about 200 hectares in the Dry Farm Area of the Churn Creek Protected Area to enhance mule deer winter range and prevent the encroachment of fir trees on open grasslands.
That burning will also take place from now until and Halloween.