Burning will only occur if weather conditions are suitable and allow smoke to dissipate. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Burning will only occur if weather conditions are suitable and allow smoke to dissipate. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Pile burning of 50 wood debris in Burns Lake community forest

Smoke might be visible for Burns Lake and neighboring areas

The BC Wildfire Service will be undertaking a pile burning activity in the Burns Lake Community Forest (BL Comfor) this week to reduce forest fuels and help increase the success rate of the prescribed fire planned for this year.

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) scheduled the burn to begin on Apr. 9 and will be burning 50 piles of wood debris in the BL Comfor all through the week.

Last year, the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) and the BL Comfor undertook a prescribed fire project. This project will start later in spring and until then, burning piles will take place. “Burning piles is continuation of work related to that project; however, only pile burning will be taking place in the coming days,” said a press release issued by BCWS.

The prescribed burning is part of BL Comfor’s Landscape Management Plan prepared by B.A. Blackwell & Associates. In this Phase 1 of the plan, the area south of the town, across Burns Lake is where the prescribed burn would occur.

These controlled burns are mainly targeted to reduce wildfire risks in the area. Comfor was all set to start the burn in the last week of September, however due to rainy weather, they were forced to move the date to this year Spring, as burning can only occur when conditions are suitable to ensure safety, meet the project’s objectives and allow for adequate smoke dispersal. BC Wildfire Service personnel will be monitoring these fires at all times.

For this project, the BL Comfor has identified four prescribed fire units (PFUs) covering a total of 675 hectares, located south of Burns Lake on the west side of Highway 35.

The first PFU covers about 225 hectares and is located about five kilometres southwest of Burns Lake. The second phase would involve the PFU covering about 150 hectares, about 10 kilometres southwest of Burns Lake, the next will cover about 190 hectares, about 8 kilometres southwest of Burns Lake and finally the last PFU will cover about 110 hectares, about 3.5 kilometres southwest of Burns Lake.

Using prescribed fire in these areas will remove waste wood left behind after timber harvesting and reduce accumulations of forest fuels. In the event of a wildfire, this will result in less intense fire behaviour and make it easier and safer for firefighters to suppress the wildfire. Additionally, these burns are expected to improve access for tree planters; and would also provide training opportunities for the planning and implementation of future prescribed fires and wildfire risk reduction projects.

For the currently scheduled pile burning, burning will only take place if weather conditions are suitable and allow for the smoke to dissipate. Staff from the BC Wildfire Service will monitor these fires at all times.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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