TYPE FOUR TREATMENT
FUEL MANAGEMENT FOR HABITAT RESTORATION & ECOSYSTEM RESILIENCY
The southern portion of the CFA contains a few isolated areas of dry ecosystems on steep south facing slopes.
These areas have locally unique plant communities that are more commonly associated with the dry Interior Douglas Fir biogeoclimatic zone.
Large ponderosa pine (Py) are common, and open pine forests with a fire adapted shrub/herb understory are the desired future condition.
These areas are not part of the timber harvesting landbase.
These sites are the western end of a belt of deer and elk winter/spring range that runs for 25 km to Nelson.
From a climate change adaptation perspective, these units contain outposts of the biota that should thrive in surrounding areas as the climate warms.
These areas are, however, currently being reduced and degraded by coniferous ingress. Further, if/when these areas burn under current fuel loads, the fire is highly likely to be intense, fast moving, and uncontrollable due to combinations of steep slopes, upslope winds, high fine fuel loads, and generally dry conditions.
A fire under current conditions will likely
kill many of the locally rare and ecologically valuable species on the site, which are not well adapted to extreme fire events,
kill many or all of the ecologically valuable leave trees, and
transition from local to landscape scale.
The ecosystem and strategic fire management benefits of managing these areas with low intensity, frequent fires are significant.
Reintroduction of fire will also improve and maintain ungulate range and forage values.
Type 4 treatments in these areas are designed to facilitate the return of fire to the ecosystem. The treatment regime includes:
Machine piling and/or mulching of fuels and debris where terrain conditions are suitable.
Hand treatment as required to reduce fuel loads adjacent to the stems and above the rooting area of large leave trees to reduce fire intensity, and soil and bark heating.
Hand treatment to reduce the fuel loads in dense regeneration thickets to moderate fire intensity.
Creation of very low fuel load fire breaks along the boundary of the burn area.
Reintroduction of fire, as well as post fire surveys and documentation (under separate funding in collaboration with the Southeast Fire Center).
SIFCo is working closely with the BC Wildfire Service - Arrow Fire Zone in the planning and execution of the restoration program.
Safety, smoke management, reserve management and information sharing protocols will be the same as for treatment types 1 through 3.