The Wildfire Management Branch has announced several controlled burns in the Lytton area, which will take place between March 7 and April 25. There is no exact date for the burns, which will depend on weather and site conditions on a given day. They will only take place if fire behaviour conditions are judged suitable, smoke will dissipate quickly, and there will only be low to moderate fire intensity.
The burns are for “fuels management and habitat restoration,” says Max Birkner, Information Officer for the Kamloops Fire Centre. “They’ll burn away dead fuels, such as deadfall, branches, and leaves from last season that would catch fire quickly if things got dry.”
The burns will also help reduce insect infestation and preserve elk habitats. “There are a lot of fire-adapted plant species that need a burn cycle to re-establish themselves,” says Birkner. “What we’re afraid of is a fire starting on its own. By doing pre-emptive burns we create the same natural benefits and implications without having fires getting out of control.”
Trained wildfire crews with a minimum of 10 to 15 personnel will be doing the controlled burns in five areas around Lytton. There will be an 11.8 hectare Mill Burn, 2.5km south of Lytton; a 14.3ha burn at Spencer Road, west of the Fraser River; a 2.6ha burn next to Kumsheen Secondary School; a 21.3ha Loring Way burn, 2.8km south of Lytton and east of Hwy. 1; and a 36.9ha Kumsheen Rafting Resort burn, 3.5km northeast of Lytton, adjacent to Hwy. 1 and across from the resort.
Smoke will be visible from the Village of Lytton, the Gladwin community, Kumsheen Rafting Resort, Skuppah and Siska First Nations, and Highways 1 and 12. Anyone with questions about the burns can call Birkner at (250) 554-5964. To report a wildfire, call toll-free 1-800-663-5555.