A wildfire has consumed just under 700 hectares of grassland at Riding Mountain National Park. The fire is three kilometres inside the park’s boundary in the Birdtail Valley. (SUBMITTED)
A wildfire burning in the Birdtail Valley is under control, according to a spokesperson from Riding Mountain National Park.
The slow-moving grass fire, which has been burning since May 16, has burned just under 700 hectares in the portion of the park known as the Birdtail Bench located northwest of Gunn Lake.
Investigation revealed that the fire was man-made.
Parks Canada continues to monitor the fire and control hot spots occurring on the fire’s flanks.
Cooler temperatures combined with the greening of the adjacent aspen forest are helping to limit the spread of the blaze.
It is hoped that forecasted rain in the area will also help limit the spread of the fire and possible extinguish it in some areas.
The fire has not affected any of the trail system at the park and currently, no fire bans are in place.
Park officials remind the public to exercise caution when lighting fires and to ensure that they are properly extinguished before leaving the area.
Any visitors to the backcountry are advised to stay on marked trails and in designated campground areas.
The fire is three kilometres inside the park boundary, and at this time there is no immediate danger to people or property.
The fire also has several benefits to the neighbouring ecosystem, as grasslands such as the Birdtail Valley require fire to renew themselves and recycle nutrients into the soil.
Also, many plants and trees require fire to germinate.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 22, 2012