This great face belongs to a barred owl in our backyard. Perfectly camouflaged to blend with the Garry oaks. (Suzanne Moreau photo) This great face belongs to a barred owl in our backyard. Perfectly camouflaged to blend with the Garry oaks. (Suzanne Moreau photo)

DND burns 14 hectares to protect Garry oaks

Work set to start Sept. 27 dependent on weather and fire conditions

Rick Stiebel

News staff

The Department of National Defense has a burning ambition to protect Garry oak ecosystems.

The DND announced this week that it will be conducting a controlled burn on approximately 14 hectares of DND land in the Rocky Point area in Metchosin. The controlled burn is necessary because Garry oak ecosystems benefit significantly from fire, the DND said in a release. The ecosystems are subject to encroachment by conifers such as pine and fir trees and invasive plants in the absence of fire. The encroachment reduces Garry oaks’ natural habitat and increases the risk of uncontrolled fire. The other objectives of the prescribed burn are to improve military training areas and habitat for rare native plants, as well as reduce the risk of forest fire.

The burning will be conducted during approximately three to five days between the end of September and the beginning of October based on fire and weather conditions, including a favourable ventilation index. The burn is tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 27, and it is not expected to generate considerable smoke.

Provincial fire crews will supervise the controlled burn during optimal conditions. The District of Metchosin remains under a fire ban until Oct. 1.

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