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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A couple of local companies partnered to conduct a prescribed burn on Monday to enhance wildlife habitats.
Alicia Woods, the owner of Ridgeline Wildlife Enhancement, says she’s been working on the prescribed burn project for a few years.
She says when shrubbery burns, it releases nutrients into the soil, and the new vegetation that comes back is more nutritious and easily digestible by animals.
With assistance from local landowners and the North Peace Rod and Gun Club, the burn was completed Monday, and Woods says the fire is pretty much already out.
“The prescribed burns that we do are really short events when we do them in the spring,” Woods explained.
“We did it yesterday, and it lasted seven hours at the most, so it’s out now, and we’re just monitoring it to make sure it stays out and doesn’t spark back up with this warm weather.”
The owner said what they do at her company is a lot different compared to wildfires.
“In a month, you won’t even know that it was done. It’ll be nice and green,” Woods said.
The method used depends on the site, she says, but it is usually either a drip torch or something similar to an aerial ignition device.
“It allows us to be pretty precise on where we light,” Woods said.
A specific animal the prescribed burns help is the sharp tail grouse, a prairie bird.
“They need that open habitat, and without fire, those grasslands start to get grown over, and the shrubs get too thick, and then it’s not useable by the sharp tails,” Woods said.
“That’s the objective of this burn is to regenerate these grasslands and knock back some of that tree cover and knock back the shrubs so that it regenerates into a low shrub instead of this tall, thick shrub that the sharp tails won’t use.”
For more information on Woods’ work with sharp-tailed grouse in the Peace, a project she has reportedly been working on for 20 years, visit her Facebook page.
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