BANFF – Fire plays an important role in many ecosystems. However, because of fire suppression throughout most of the 20th century, many forests have changed and become more vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires, insects like the mountain pine beetle, and disease. Parks Canada fire experts say returning fire to the landscape makes for more diverse forests and a greater range of habitat for wildlife like elk, moose, sheep, deer, wolves and bears, and also increases an ecosystem’s resilience to climate change. …In the new management plans for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, Parks Canada has a long-term goal of restoring 50 per cent of the historic fire cycle by 2030 through prescribed fires and managing certain wildfires that are low-risk to communities. Based on long-term fire cycles, that means at least 1,400 hectares per year in Banff National Park.