An ecosystem restoration burn, weather conditions permitting, is planned for an area east of Riske Creek between Nov. 2 and Dec. 31, the BC Wildfire Service said Friday.
The planned burn will treat up to 400 hectares on Beecher’s Prairie south of Highway 20 and will help restore native grassland ecosystems. This controlled burn is part of a larger ecosystem restoration project on Beecher’s Prairie.
Mechanical removal of trees or slashing was completed in the area last winter to reduce tree encroachment on natural grasslands.
The upcoming ecosystem restoration burn is intended to reduce the remaining fuel load from that work. In spring 2016, low-intensity ground fires will be introduced to the area as a follow-up treatment.
All of these efforts will help restore and maintain the traditional grassland plant communities that are native to this area. This ecosystem restoration work will also lead to an increase in forage area for livestock and decrease the risk of catastrophic wildfires, the wildfire branch said.
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 open grasslands and forests with large trees.
The Beecher’s Prairie project is part of an ongoing ecosystem restoration program administered by the provincial government through the Cariboo-Chilcotin Ecosystem Restoration Committee.
This committee was formed in 2008 to support ecosystem restoration efforts within the Cariboo-Chilcotin region. It includes representatives from the provincial and federal governments, local First Nations, the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association and various conservation groups, as well as forestry professionals.