Burns would keep wildfire threat low

Burns would keep wildfire threat low

9 December 2008

published by www.banffcragandcanyon.com

Canada — Parks Canada is looking at a prescribed burn program that would focus on one section near town every year from 2009 to 2017.

Parks Canada has identified the burns as being low complexity/intensity burns, which means they’re very easy to control and contain.

They’d be done as a way to minimize the threat of wildfires near the town, and it’s considered the next logical step from both a FireSmart and montane restoration perspective.

A similar process was completed in the Carrot Creek area in April of this year which was considered a success. It had negligible smoke and visitor impacts.

Parks Canada brought the idea to the Montane Advisory Group (MAG) to see if it’s something they would give approval to.

Parks listed the Vermilion Lakes area as a high priority to protect the town site.

The Indian Grounds were also listed as a high priority from an ecosystem restoration perspective.

MAG did give conceptual approval to the plan as a whole, reaching an apparent consensus that low intensity fire was an appropriate tool for treatment of hazardous forest fuels and ecosystem restoration on the periphery of the town site.

Other groups are providing Parks Canada with direction on this plan. It’s still in the early stages, and they’ll also be looking for help in identifying which areas to burn first.

Parks had a number of sub-units identified as potential places to burn and they’ll also be looking to MAG for help in choosing the right areas.

One section that had the group concerned was near popular bike and horse riding trails. They were worried that if the areas were closed off for prescribed burns, it would be a significant loss, even if it was for just one season.

There were also concerns that noxious weeds might appear in the wake of the burn.

Though there was also talk of what might happen should there not be any proactive wildfire protection for the town site.

MAG members agreed to continue to think of things Parks Canada should consider when making the low intensity burn plan and provide that information at a later date.

While the group gave the idea conceptual approval, “the crunch will come when we start looking at the proposed units,” of where to burn, said Bow Valley Naturalists president Mike McIvor.

“My concern will come from the fact that it is such a diverse area.”

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