August 16, 2004

Prescribed burn aims to reduce fire risk, help curb pine beetle spread

PRINCE GEORGE, BC-A one-day prescribed burn was slated to be carried out last week in Mount Robson Provincial Park to reduce wildfire risk and address the pine beetle infestation. The area selected for the burn included a section of the park approximately 2,900 hectares in size near Moose Lake. Staff from BC Parks, the BC Ministry of Forests and Parks Canada were on hand to supervise the burn. Mop-up activities and monitoring will take place over two weeks following completion of the burn. Initially planned for early May, the burn was postponed when conditions changed. By last week, conditions were assessed as conducive to an effective and safe burn, due to the lower moisture content of vegetation in the area. The initiative is part of BC's multi-year Forest Health Strategy for the park. It is designed to deal with ecosystem management concerns, reduce fuel loads and address the mountain pine beetle infestation. "This prescribed burn will....improve biodiversity and wildlife habitat in Mount Robson Park and enhance forest health," said Water, Land and Air Protection Minister Bill Barisoff. The strategy also calls for selective tree removal to reduce the fire threat. This is planned for Lucerne, Swift Current and the area around park headquarters for this year and will likely start in the fall. Tree removal will target the stands of older lodgepole pines that have attracted the pine beetle infestation, which is currently spreading eastward.
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