Restoration burn set for Johnstone Creek

Ecosystem restoration work continues in the Johnstone Creek area.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is conducting an ecosystem restoration burn near Johnstone Creek until April 30, weather conditions permitting.

This controlled burn will cover 25 hectares and smoke may be visible from Rock Creek and surrounding areas. Smoke may be present for several days, as fires within the burn control lines are extinguished.

Fire is a natural, normal process in many ecosystems. It can be beneficial and necessary to maintain a healthy forest and a diversity of plant and animal life. Through evolution and exposure to wildfires, many plants and animals have adapted to fire and actually depend on it to reproduce.

Historically, grasslands and an open forest canopy have been maintained in the Boundary Region through frequent, low-intensity ground fires. In the absence of naturally occurring fires in recent decades, the planned site of the Johnstone Creek ecosystem restoration fire has become overgrown. This prescribed fire, combined with logging, thinning and brush-clearing projects, will help the area return to its natural state.

The goal of this project is to reduce ecosystem degradation by reintroducing fire to the landscape, which will enhance winter habitat for a variety of ungulates, improve overall biodiversity, create a more open forest habitat and increase the availability of food sources such as shrubs and grasses. This project will help maintain or improve habitat quality for native species at risk, with a particular focus on a bird known as the Williamson’s sapsucker.

The overall reduction in the amount of combustible material (fuel load) will also improve the area’s fire resiliency and decrease the risk of catastrophic wildfires.