Park Canada is planning several prescribed burns with one possibly being ignited as early as this afternoon, Wednesday, Aug. 19.
The 20-Mile burn, in the backcountry of Glacier National Park, will be 500 hectares, bounded by previously burned areas and natural features to prevent fire spread.
“The fire will create a static fire break between the eastern boundary of the park and neighbouring provincial lands and will help restore forest health and open up more habitat for whitebark pine, an endangered species,” Parks Canada said in a statement.
Plans for the 20-Mile burn have been in place for several years, as well as a prescribed fire at Flat Creek, which is also in Glacier National Park.
“Prescribed fires are only conducted under exacting conditions (e.g. weather, moisture, wind direction, supporting resources, etc.) and will only go forward when the safety of the public, our crews, infrastructure and neighbouring lands can be assured,” the statement said.
This year, the Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks have an additional four-person wildland firefighter crew stationed in Revelstoke, increasing the capacity to respond to in-park and regional wildfire events as well as increasing availability of people for deployment through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.
Other prescribed burns planned include:
- Flat Creek — in the western part of Glacier: the 580-hectare area is near the transportation corridor and the burn will limit the potential for wildfire spread in both the Flat Creek and Illecillewaet River drainages, diversity the forest and create new habitat for many species of concern such as whitebark pine, various species of bats and the olive-sided flycatcher
- Revelstoke Community fire guard — runs along the lower slopes of Mt. Revelstoke: crews are brushing and clearing, if conditions allow brush piles may be burned on site
“Prescribed fires, as well as manual brushing and clearing, reduce forest fuels to lessen the severity of wildfires, and create strategic breaks in the forest canopy that can lessen fire spread and provide areas from which to stage fire suppression actions,” Parks Canada said.
“These strategic fire breaks help protect infrastructure, neighbouring lands and the public in the event of an uncontrolled wildfire. Fires also release nutrients into the soil and allow for a mosaic of ecosystems that support diverse plants and wildlife.”
Smoke may be visible from the 20-Mile prescribed burn but, if the Flat Creek fire proceeds, smoke and fire will be visible from the Trans-Canada Highway.