Parks Canada fire management staff are preparing to implement three prescribed fires in Waterton Lakes National Park this spring.
The purpose of the fires is to restore native prairie by reducing aspen and evergreen tree expansion onto grasslands.
Historic photographs show that fire suppression has allowed trees to encroach on park grasslands, with as much as 30% of grasslands lost over the last 100 years. Parts of these areas were burned previously in 2006 and 2008.
The goal of fire management in National Parks is to restore and maintain historical fire frequency, while at the same time protecting the public and facilities from wildfires. Restoring fire is important to the health of the ecosystem, including the wildlife it supports.
The three prescribed fires are:
1) Eskerine Complex (area between the Bison Paddock, Lower Waterton Lakes and Red Rock Parkway).
2) Red Rock Complex (area between Blakiston Creek and the height of land to the north in the Blakiston Valley, from Bellevue Hill to Red Rock Canyon).
3) Y-Camp Unit (area between Chief Mountain Highway and Lower Waterton Lake / Dardanelles, from the park gate to Marquis Hole).
In preparation for this, fire guards are being created with small-scale burning of grass along snowdrifts.
Hiking in Glacier National Park