A photo of an old burn area looking down towards the Prairie Hills fire

A photo of an old burn area looking down towards the Prairie Hills fire

Prairie Hills fire expected to burn until winter in Glacier National Park

Prairie Hills fire continues to burin in Glacier National Park; evidence from past burns shows restorative benefits of forest fires.

Contributed by Parks Canada

The Prairie Hills fire in Glacier National Park is still slowly smouldering and smoke is visible in the valley. Parks Canada continues to monitor the fire as it burns naturally. With the fine weather over the past month the fire has grown about five hectares (10 football fields) and will probably continue to burn until the snow flies.

“It is primarily a surface fire, gradually burning down the slope consuming dead timber in an old burn area,” said Simon Hunt, a fire management specialist with Parks Canada.

Hunt took this picture high above the fire in an old burn area looking down towards the fire. The Prairie Hills fire is smouldering below and smoke is visible curling its way along the valley bottom. What was even more notable to Hunt was the condition of the old burn area he was standing in from the mid 1990s.

“The ground was covered with huckleberry bushes, scarlet red and in the middle was a white bark pine seedling that had established itself in the middle,” said Hunt. “White bark pine is a newly endangered species that requires fire as part of its natural regeneration process. It was great to see one and know that our work is keeping the forest healthy.”