The government announced some vehicle access restrictions for burned over areas in the Kootenays

Vehicle access being restricted in burned over areas in Kootenays

Hunting regulation changes in response to wildfires in the Kootenay Region

Some popular hunting areas are being closed to vehicle access during hunting season in order to protect big game in areas burned during this past summer’s fires.

An information bulletin from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural resource Operations and Rural Development states that while wildfires can have beneficial impacts on wildlife, wildfires have also increased the vulnerability of hunted big game wildlife.

Newly built fire guards coupled with existing fire guards from previous fires, and other industrial road construction, have enabled greater hunter access to remote habitats that were previously only accessible by foot. Lines of sight for hunters have increased dramatically in some areas of high fire severity where vegetation has burned.

Maps of the affected areas can be viewed here.

In order to better protect wildlife, effective immediately five fire perimeters in the area have been restricted to vehicle access. These are fire perimeters in the vicinity of White/Bull River, Linklater Creek, Lamb Creek, Soowa Mountain and Island Pond. This order is not just for this year, but until vegetation has recovered. The areas will be closed to vehicle access from September 1 to June 30 each year.

The Ministry also states that as part of wildfire recovery efforts, areas will be prioritized for reforestation and wildlife habitat restoration.