A fire last month burned about 800-1,000 hectares of Rubyrock Lake Provincial Park – but it was supposed to.
The fire on May 14 was a joint BC Parks and Wildfire Management ecosystem restoration project. It was actually the third time sections of the park were burnt in order to ope up the area to prevent encroachment by different types of trees.
The first time was in 2008 and the second in 2009, according to Mike Pritchard with the VanJam Fire Zone who helped to coordinate the burn.
Pritchard was one of the Willdfire Management personnel on site on the day of the burn, and he was in the helicopter which was carrying a special ignition device to start the blaze.
The area meant to burn had been specially prepared to help reduce the likelihood the fire would continue outside the park boundary and designated target area.
The object of the burn is stand conversion, a natural process which would occur in many forests in the area, transitioning from one type of forest stand to grassland through wildfire. Many areas in the province have been allowed to convert to forest stands where previously, natural or cultural wildfires from First Nations, would have helped to maintain grassland habitat for wildlife.
A range of species will benefit from the work, the key species being types of ungulates in the area, which include elk, deer and caribou.
Other species also benefit, such as predatory birds like hawks and owls and the rodents they often prey on.