According to the provincial government, it is too soon to say whether hunting restrictions in wildfire-affected areas near Burns Lake will be implemented.
However, the province says regulations may be considered to reduce the vulnerability of wildlife to hunting.
According to Jeremy Uppenborn, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, ministry staff will assess habitat conditions in wildfire-affected areas to determine the extent of habitat loss and to support possible management actions.
“Wildlife values will be considered and addressed in all wildfire rehabilitation activities, as well as in future timber harvest and silviculture decisions within the burned areas,” he said.
Although wildfires are naturally occurring and can have positive impacts on wildlife habitat and populations, the province says there are some concerns that arise in the presence of large-scale wildfires and wildfire suppression.
Wildfires can create two situations that increase the vulnerability of hunted big game. These include burnt vegetation that can increase the lines of sight for hunters, and fire guards built to contain fires that provide greater hunter access into previously remote areas with important moose and mule deer habitat.
Area restriction order applies to hunters
Area restriction orders which apply to all members of the public – including anyone hunting during open season – are currently in place for Crown land in the vicinity of the Nadina Lake, Island Lake and Cheslatta Lake wildfires.
Under this order, a person must not remain in or enter the restricted area without the prior written authorization of an official designated for the purposes of the Wildfire Act, unless the person enters the area only in the course of:
– Travelling to or from his or her principle residence, that is not under an evacuation order;
– Travelling to or from leased property for the purposes of accessing a secondary residence or recreational property, that is not under an evacuation order;
– Travelling as a person acting in an official capacity;
– Travelling for the purpose of supporting wildfire suppression activities;
– Using a highway as defined in the Transportation Act;
– Engaging and/or participating in a commercial activity within the regular course of the person’s business or employment; and
– Engaging and/or participating in agricultural activities pertaining to livestock management on private or leased property.
We ask everyone to remain respectful: province
Several First Nations communities in B.C.’s Interior are joining together to ban all limited-entry hunting for moose within their respective territories this fall.
According to the provincial government, however, the licences of guides, resident hunters and non-resident hunters are considered to be valid.
“At this time we do not know what First Nations are planning with respect to enforcement of their announcement,” states the province on its website. “We ask everyone to remain respectful of one another on the ground while we look at options to resolve the situation.”
Management unit (MU) 6-4, located south of Burns Lake, and MU 6-5, located in the Burns Lake area, are not affected by the First Nations’ ban.
The province adds that hunters seeking direction on what to do if they encounter a protest, or who wish to report any confrontation, should contact the RCMP.