If you see smoke in the mountains west of Summerland in the next six weeks, it is likely coming from a controlled burn.
Prescribed burning is planned for the Bald Range area between this week and May 11, weather conditions permitting. This controlled burning will assist with ecosystem restoration and will occur in several phases during this period.
The burns will be conducted by Wildfire Management Branch crews and staff from the Okanagan Shuswap District. The Bald Range burn area covers an estimated 250 hectares, north of the Princeton-Summerland Road, approximately 11 kilometres west of Summerland.
Historically, grasslands and open forests in the Okanagan have been renewed through frequent, low-intensity ground fires, according to a news release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
Such fires limit tree encroachment, rejuvenate understory plants (trees and shrubs that grow beneath the forest canopy but above ground-cover plants) and maintain open grassland and open forests that contain large trees.
The reintroduction of managed, low-intensity ground fires to these grasslands and open forests is intended to restore and maintain plant communities that are native to these areas, according to the news release.
The Bald Range prescribed burn is part of an ongoing restoration program administered by the Government of British Columbia in collaboration with local ranchers, the B.C. Grasslands Conservation Council, the Shuswap Okanagan Forest Association, the Forum for Research and Extension in Natural Resources (FORREX), the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the Nature Trust of British Columbia.