Parks Canada to study wildfire behaviour in B.C.

A small forest fire in Kootenay National Park is being studied by officials to learn how wildfires move.

Wildfire study

10 years ago
Duration 2:22
Parks Canada is studying wildfire behaviour in BC.

A small forest fire in Kootenay National Park is being studied by officials to learn how wildfires move.

The wildfire spans five-square kilometres and two national parks and its smoke, at times, can be smelled from Calgary.

Rick Kubian, resource conservation manager with Parks Canada, said crews have buried sensors, called thermocouples, in the ground to study to the wildfire’s behaviour.

"We leave the end of the wire sticking out and as the fire front passes this will register a pulse in temperature," Kubian said, "By having a grid of these that we've got spaced equidistant, we can understand how a fire front passes through a small piece of ground and by doing that we're actually able to calculate the rate of spread of a fire."

The B.C. Forest Service and Parks Canada say despite the fire burning on Octopus Mountain, it’s been a relatively quiet forest fire season.

Kubian said although acres of trees will be destroyed in the blaze, it is actually doing the forest some good.

"Fire's a really interesting entity, I guess, in sort of ecological terms," Kubian said. "It's really neutral. People put a positive or negative spin on it but fire's been part of this valley and the ecology of this valley for millennia."

Experts also say letting smaller wildfires burn can prevent larger ones down the road.