After a very devasting and damaging Wild Fire Season habitats and reserves have to be allowed to recover. As a result, the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has decided to close roads leading through the backcountry. This decision will hopefully allow certain types of plant life and animals to replenish for the flames of the summer. Along with that, the land could be unstable for motor vehicles to travel through areas that have been seen extreme damage from the fires.
Press Release for the Ministry
Due to severe wildfire damage in areas of the Thompson Okanagan and one area in the Kootenays, 15 motor-vehicle closures under the Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation of the Wildlife Act are in effect.
The closures affect backcountry roads across approximately 536,000 hectares, and are due to the following concerns:
- wildfire impact to habitats that need time to recover
- erosion of charred soils and impacts to fish habitat
- increased vulnerability of wildlife due to migration disruptions, habitat loss and improved sightlines for hunting where vegetation was burned
- increased access to wildlife habitat due to the construction of approximately 2,900 kilometres of fire guards.
Closure boundaries were created using landmarks such as roads, rivers and streams near wildfire perimeters.
The closures do not affect community residents or access for commercial activities other than hunting. The closures are intended to be in place while recovery efforts are planned and initiated. It is unknown how long the closures will remain in effect.
Some exceptions to these prohibitions will be provided to ensure that throughfares remain open and access to private property is not affected.
Maps of the area, including downloadable georeferenced maps, are available at: www.gov.bc.ca/motorvehicleprohibitions
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