WILLIAMS LAKE – The Wildfire Management Branch, in conjunction with BC Parks, will be conducting a series of prescribed burns in the Churn Creek Protected Area between Oct. 21 and Oct. 31, 2013, weather permitting.

About 200 hectares in the Dry Farm Area of the Churn Creek Protected Area will be treated over the next couple of weeks. This project will enhance mule deer winter range and prevent the encroachment of fir trees on open grasslands.

This project is part of BC Parks’ ongoing grasslands restoration efforts, in accordance with the Churn Creek Protected Area Fire Management Plan. This plan recognizes that fire is a natural process in many of British Columbia’s ecosystems and that many species of plants, birds, insects and other animals depend on fire for its regenerative properties.

The ecology of the region has changed since European settlement, partly due to the suppression of naturally occurring wildfires. Using aerial photos from the early 1950s, BC Parks has drawn up a 50-year plan to reintroduce controlled burning in the Churn Creek Protected Area to restore its grasslands.

The fire crew supervisor (the “burn boss”) is responsible for ensuring that initial burning and wind conditions are favourable and that the fire is fully extinguished once the prescribed burning is completed.

Public safety will be the top priority during these controlled burns. Each fire will be ignited and monitored by trained firefighting crews to ensure that it does not spread beyond its planned size.