- Fire is a normal, natural process in many of British Columbia’s ecosystems. Many species of plants, birds, insects and other animals depend on fire for its regenerative properties.
- Fire helps control insects and the spread of disease in forests. It also contributes to forest regeneration, as younger trees replace older trees. Having trees of various ages in a forest helps create biodiversity.
- Prescribed burning is one of the tools used by forest professionals to achieve land management objectives. For example, fire can be used to enhance habitat and improve forage for cattle, deer, bighorn sheep and moose.
- A controlled burn also can reduce fuel loads (combustible material such as underbrush and dead wood) and reduce the risk of wildfire in interface areas (where urban development borders on rural areas).
- The size and intensity of prescribed burns are carefully planned and controlled to meet management objectives for fire-maintained ecosystems. Prescribed burns are only ignited when weather conditions are favourable and when the fire will not create excessive smoke.
- Important factors that are used to determine the date of a burn include the venting forecast, temperature, humidity and wind conditions.
- The venting forecast is a measure of how quickly smoke will disperse under specific conditions. Prescribed fires may only be ignited on days when the venting forecast is “good”.
- All prescribed burns must comply with the Environmental Management Act and the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation. This helps minimize the amount of smoke generated.
- A prescribed burn is ignited and continuously monitored by trained firefighting crews to ensure that the fire does not get out of control.
- The “burn boss” is responsible for ensuring that the initial burn conditions are favourable and that the fire is extinguished once the prescribed burn is completed.
Media RelationsMinistry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations