The Province is taking action to protect big game wildlife in portions of the Kootenay Region that were severely affected by wildfires this past summer.
Effective immediately, five fire perimeters in the vicinity of White/Bull River, Linklater Creek, Lamb Creek, Soowa Mountain and Island Pond, will be closed to motor vehicles for the purpose of hunting from Sept. 1 to June 30 each year. Maps of the affected areas can be seen online at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/kootenay/eco/access.htm.
While wildfires can have beneficial impacts on wildlife, wildfires have also increased the vulnerability of hunted big game wildlife. Newly built fire guards coupled with existing fire guards from previous fires, and other industrial road construction, have enabled greater hunter access to remote habitats that were previously only accessible by foot. Lines of sight for hunters have increased dramatically in some areas of high fire severity where vegetation has burned.
To address the increased vulnerability of wildlife to hunters, the restrictions are expected to be in place until access and visibility conditions return to a state where wildlife is less vulnerable. As part of wildfire recovery efforts, the ministry is also prioritizing areas for reforestation and wildlife habitat restoration.