BC Parks and the BC Wildfire Management Branch is scheduled to conduct prescribed burns [controlled fires] on 25 hectares in West Arm Provincial Park near Nelson as part of their fuel reduction and ecological restoration project.
The yet to be scheduled burns depend exclusively on ideal weather conditions.
“It’s so weather dependant. We’re waiting for this cold front to pass through and then for it to heat up again,” said conservation specialist, Mike Gall.
The weather’s importance is two-fold, heat is needed to dry residual fuel on the ground while cold weather reduces the hazard of the burn becoming uncontrollable.
The upcoming prescribed burns are the final step in West Kootenay Interface Steering Team’s fuel reduction and ecological restoration projects that took place in 2008 at Syringa Provincial Park and at West Arm Provincial Park in 2009. In 2010 the steering team was unable to move forward with a prescribed burn in West Arm Provincial Park due to unco-operative weather.
“We actually tried to burn it last fall but the weather just didn’t co-operate,” declared Gall.
If the weather doesn’t co-operate this time officials will have to re-evaluate whether they continue with the burn at all.
“We’re getting to a point probably in the next year to two where we’d choose not to burn [West Arm Park] because of the regeneration of some the species [of vegetation] that are fire tolerant.”
Despite the challenges unpredictable weather presents, overall Gall cautiously declared the fuel reduction and ecological restoration a success.
“So far it’s been a success but you never know with these things… unless we have a big wildfire and hopefully we won’t have to find this out.”
A prescribed burn will also be conducted on 20 hectares in Syringa Provincial Park near Castlegar.