It may seem odd to start a forest fire to prevent a fire from happening but for Parks Canada, the Sinclair Canyon fire has been in the works for three years. The prescribed burn was part of a plan to restore the forest’s natural ecology and reduce the risk of forest fire. The initial burn took place in early April and a second prescribed burn of the area happened on Thursday, May 4th.
This time we had slightly different objectives as to what we we’re trying to achieve. We wanted to see a higher intensity of the surface fire and to do that we used the aerial ignition to try and achieve those objectives, said Jed Cochrane, fire and vegetation ecologist for Parks Canada.
Parks waited until for the perfect window of conditions a warm day with showers to follow on the weekend before conducting the aerially ignited blaze.
These are areas we haven’t previously thinned and theyre trying to see some mortality in the trees that were there. We’re trying to open up that forest and do that with a fire that’s got enough heat to it, that it’s going to kill some of those Douglas firs that are in there, especially the younger ones that are infilling and coming in since the last fire, said Mr. Cochrane.
Despite having two separate burns in the Sinclair Canyon, Parks was only able to complete 75 per cent of the prescribed burn area, according to Mr. Cochrane, and they will most likely return to the area within the next year or two. As of now, fire crews are still patrolling the area but the Sinclair Canyon trail has reopened to the public.