A tool for maintaining the health and safety of our forests, communities, and wildlife.

What is Prescribed Fire?

Prescribed fire is the planned and controlled application of fire to a specific land area used to achieve a variety of land management objectives, including but not limited to: public safety and wildfire risk reduction, preserving Indigenous cultural values, improved wildlife habitat, revitalized vegetation, and protecting local economies.

Benefits of Prescribed Fire

Fire is a natural, normal process in many ecosystems and is necessary to maintain a healthy forest and a diversity of plant and animal life.

However, a history of aggressive and highly effective wildfire suppression in the Province has resulted in a significant build-up of forest fuels; greater tree encroachment on grasslands; and, ‘in-filling’ of once open, dry forests. Aggressive fire suppression has both increased the risk of devastating wildfires and negatively impacted biodiversity and forest health.

A Tool for Reducing Risk

Prescribed fire is a land management tool that can bring back balance to our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire to our communities.

Prescribed fire is the planned and controlled application of fire to a specific land area and is one of the most ecologically appropriate means for achieving a variety of land management objectives; examples of which include cultural burning for First Nation’s values, wildfire risk reduction for protection of communities and critical infrastructure, ecosystem restoration, silviculture objectives such as site preparation and habitat objectives.

Rooted in history

Indigenous communities have in many ways been leading wildland fire mitigation and prevention in Canada since time immemorial.

Fire is sacred

Over the ages, cultural burning on the homelands shaped the lives of humans, plants, animals, and Mother Earth herself. Through repeated burning practices, the Indigenous Peoples of the land were able to shape their own environment to their own specific needs.

Indigenous communities have various current and emerging fire stewardship practices in support of cultural revitalization, resilience and pride, and (emergency) preparedness.

Watch:
Introduction to Cultural Burning & Prescribed Fire
Watch:
Munro Prescribed Fire

Case Study

Munro Prescribed Fire

Filmed in October 2022 outside of Peachland BC, this collaborative burn project included several partners, including the Penticton Indian Band, Westbank First Nation, Okanagan Nation Alliance, Gorman Brothers Ltd., Okanagan Shuswap Resource District, the Ministry of Forests and the BC Wildfire Service. The objectives of the project were to provide a level of community protection from wildfire by reducing fuel after harvesting; to restore the ecosystem, including the mule deer winter range; and to enhance Indigenous cultural values in the area while also supporting the traditional use of fire as a tool to improve the landscape.

Planning a prescribed burn?

A Burn Plan is required for any resource management open fire as per section 23 of the Wildfire Regulation.

Prescribed fires are managed to meet objectives identified within a site plan or prescription. They are implemented in accordance with an approved burn plan to limit the negative impacts to surrounding values.

The Get FireSmart™ Podcast

What is Cultural Burning & Prescribed Fire

Learn more about Cultural Burning and Prescribed Fire through episode 12 of the Get FireSmart™ Podcast. In this episode, Anthony (Tony) Pesklevits, Deputy Director of BC Wildfire Services, discusses how fire can be used as a tool, the different benefits it can provide, and its role in community protection. Additional themes include the history of controlled burning, how prescribed fire is implemented, and why it’s important for our province.

Watch:
Ecosystem Restoration

EDUCATION

What is Ecosystem Restoration?

Ecosystem Restoration is an intentional activity that initiatives or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded or destroyed. Prescribed Fire is one means of achieving Ecosystem Restoration.

Giving Thanks and Appreciation

FireSmartBC extensively drew upon learnings and knowledge from the FireSmart Canada Blazing the Trail: Celebrating Indigenous Fire Stewardship book to inform this web page. Therefore, we give thanks to the following people who were instrumental in co-developing the Blazing the Trail book:

Writing Team: Amy Cardinal Christianson, Natasha Caverley, David Diabo, Katie Ellsworth, Brady Highway, Jonas Joe, Shalan Joudry, Lorne L’Hirondelle, Waylon Skead, Michelle Vandevord, and Ray Ault.

Acknowledgement and appreciation are further extended to the following individuals who provided peer review expertise during the Blazing the Trail writing journey: Walter Andreeff, Solomon Carrière, George Chalifoux, Paul Courtoreille, Winston Delorme, Jeff Eustache, Harold Horsefall, Brad McDonald, Rolland Malegana, Gerald Michell, Herman J. Michell, Gerry Rempel, Ellen Simmons, and Amber Simpson.