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B.C. Proposes changes to Wildfire Act to allow for more prescribed burns by Indigenous communities – BCIT News

October 31, 2023

A forestry expert at UBC is says there are many benefits of prescribed burnings after Ministry of Forests announced a slate of proposed changes to the province’s Wildfire Act that could allow for more prescribed burns by indigenous communities.

“Prescribed fire is any form of intended application of fire in a planned way. Today the way we prescribe fire tend to be more for wildfire reduction reason and also for ecosystem restoration. We do know that prescribed fire is safe and a good tool for reducing wildfire severity in ecosystems across British Columbia especially in our dry interior ecosystems in the Okanagan.”

The province said in a press release that if passed, amendments will help address public and First Nations interests in how forests are managed, giving government new tools to manage Crown land timber harvesting.

Changes will support actions to better care for forests in the face of climate change and extreme weather events, according to the ministry.

Prescribed fires, or cultural burnings, are a practice that have been long used by Indigenous communities in B.C.

These proposed changes will give prescribed fire legal standing in B.C.’s forest management tool kit, which will enable the government to expand their work with First Nations and other partners on cultural and prescribed burns, when requested, the province said

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