Now that crews have contained the 78 hectare wildfire that has been burning in Burns Bog since Sunday afternoon, ecological experts are anxious to visit the site so they can survey the damage.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said it is essential the recovery of the bog is guided by science.
“We determined that we had to have a Scientific Advisory Panel to oversee the bog and we have one of those,” said Jackson.
“We will meet with them as soon as we can.”
Dr. Richard Hebda with the Royal B.C. Museum is an expert on the bog.
He is concerned that if the bog floor has been damaged, it will open the door for invasive species to move in.
“It’s like you’re scraping your hand, you create a wound on the surface and it’s a perfect place for bacteria to grow. Well, you can think of these invasive species in a similar manner,” he said.
“Before the healing takes place of native species, birches can get in there and pump out thousands of seeds onto the landscape and take over the trajectory of the recovery of the bog as we want it.”
Jackson is urging people to stay away from the site.
She says humans can cause major damage to the fragile ecosystem.
However, Burns Bog Conservation Society President Eliza Olson believes people would have a greater appreciation of the bog if they were allowed to see it.
“I can see where the mayor is coming from but I believe that we need controlled access because people are curious about what is in the bog,” she says.
“They’ve seen beautiful pictures and they want to see if that’s true.”
Hebda said the public has a much greater understanding of how unique the area is than in the early 2000’s, partly because of an even bigger wildfire that tore through the bog in 2005.
“People recognize and understand that raised bogs, and this bog in particular, are very special places,” Hebda said.
“You’re not asking if the bog is important, you already know that it’s important in the back of your head, even if you don’t know all of the details.”