When it comes to being FireSmart, education is everything. Raising awareness of wildfire risks, discussing prevention and mitigation falls under each of the seven FireSmart disciplines: education, vegetation management, legislation and planning, development considerations, interagency cooperation, cross-training and emergency planning.
It’s through the education lens that we are thrilled to announce the launch of the new cultural burning and prescribed fire microsite, firesmartbc.ca/prescribedfire, which will be an important vehicle for bringing education and awareness to how cultural burning and prescribed fire can help maintain the health and safety of our forests, communities and wildlife.
“The new microsite was designed to educate audiences about the many benefits of prescribed fire and cultural burning, and to encourage the use of prescribed fire as a land management tool”, said Forrest Tower, Communication and Engagement Specialist with BC Wildfire Service. “It’s the most robust site of its kind in B.C. and our hope is that it will serve as a valuable resource for many different audiences, including governments, Indigenous communities, tenure holders, private industries, landowners, land managers, and the public.”
Firesmartbc.ca/prescribedfire is governed by the Provincial Cultural and Prescribed Fire Steering Committee (an inter-ministry committee) and the BC FireSmart Committee. These groups have been working together for some time to develop and implement a cultural and prescribed fire program that is focused on reducing wildfire risk to communities, sustaining biodiversity, maintaining productive and adaptive ecosystems, and preserving the cultural practices of Indigenous peoples through the use of cultural and prescribed fire on the land base.
The microsite will be an important piece in advancing the program. It’s the most extensive resource of its kind in B.C. dedicated solely to cultural burning and prescribed fire education and awareness.
So, what exactly is prescribed fire? It’s the planned and controlled application of fire to a specific land area and is one of the most ecologically appropriate and relatively efficient means for achieving a variety of land management objectives, including wildfire risk reduction for protection of communities and critical infrastructure.
Other examples of prescribed fire objectives include cultural burning for traditional values in Indigenous communities, ecosystem restoration, pest management, agriculture and range management, silviculture objectives such as site preparation, and wildlife habitat enhancement.
These types of fires can take many months or even several years to plan depending on the size, complexity and objectives. There are many resources and supports available to assist stakeholders through the entire prescribed fire lifecycle, which are now all included in one central location through the new microsite.
Firesmartbc.ca/prescribedfire will be an evolving space that is continually updated as more case studies and information are collected from partners and subject matter experts. Current content and features include:
- Key Resources
- Case Studies
- Benefits of Prescribed Fire
- How to Plan a Burn
- Cultural Burns
Cultural burning and prescribed fire program information will extend to other mediums over the coming weeks and months, including FireSmart BC’s social media channels, email, and the new Get FireSmart podcast.
This will be a powerful resource in educating partners of all levels about the benefits of uses of cultural and prescribed fire and the burn planning process. This new microsite will contribute to maintaining the health and safety of our forests, communities, and wildlife for years to come.
We want to hear from you!
If you have questions, or you are a subject matter expert and have feedback, information or case studies that could be added to the new microsite or shared through other communication mediums, please email [email protected].