Wildlife Enhancement Burn Program

The primary objective of the Peace Burning program is to revert selected mature aspen sites to an early seral stage and then to maintain them in this state. Sites selected are high capability ungulate winter range on moderately steep to steep southerly aspect slopes. Removal of the mature aspen will stimulate new growth of grass, forbs and shrub species. The increased forage availability will improve winter habitat for elk, mule deer, plains bison and mountain sheep.

All three of the sites burned in 1999 were located in the Fort St. John Forest District west of the town of Fort St. John.

Approximately 1,000 hectares were treated with prescribed fire during the 1999 burning season. Cost per hectare was $28.79 per hectare for 1999 and is averaging approximately $22.63 per hectare over the life of the program. All three sites treated in 1999 were reburns and therefore the objectives were to clean up down woody debris and kill any immature aspen that was growing on the sites. Burn intensity varied on each site depending on moisture levels and weather at the time up light up. Two of the sites treated had fairly intense burns which resulted in expansion of the area treated by 10 to 15 percent, 80 to 100 percent kill on suckering aspen and 45 to 55 percent cleanup of down woody debris. The other reburn site had 2 to 4 percent expansion , 20 to 40 percent kill on the suckering aspen and 20 to 40 percent clean up of woody debris.

Mop-up was required only on the Farrell Creek site. No escapes occurred on any of the sites due to the aggressive action taken during the mop-up phase.

Due to the wet cool spring $20,000 was returned to HCTF in September of 1999.

Public reaction for the Peace Prescribed Burning program is very favourable and was supported with financial contributions totalling $30,000 for 1999 and $30,000 for 2000.