TYPE FOUR TREATMENT
SPRING 2023 WINLAW & TROZZO CREEK
WHAT IS A PRESCRIBED BURN?
A Prescribed burn is the controlled application of low intensity fire to an area of forest. This is done to lower fuel
loads and increase forest health. Prescribed burning is one of a number of fuel management tools and techniques
that can be used to help reduce the intensity of naturally occurring wildfires while returning an integral process
to the ecosystem.
WHY ARE WE USING PRESCRIBED BURNS?
We have been witnessing an increased amount of wildfire activity over the last decade and in 2021 we had a large wildfire event in the Slocan Valley, the Trozzo creek fire. Climate change plus an increase in fuel loads within our forests has severely increased the risk of wildfire in our area. Applying strategically placed prescribed fire in the early spring is a very effective tool we can use to lower the risk of large scale wildfires destroying our forests and entering our communities
WHERE ARE THE BURNS GOING TO BE?
These burns will take place in strategic locations within the Winlaw & Trozzo Creek drainages.
WHY THESE AREAS?
The south aspect slopes in the planned burn areas are dry ecosystems that were historically maintained by fire, and which contain species of plants and animals adapted to and dependent on fire. Prescribed fire is an effective means of managing these habitats, and helping them return to a more resilient state, better suited to a warmer, dryer climate. Applying low intensity controlled fire to these sites in the spring can help prevent these areas from being devastated by a summer wildfire.
WHEN WILL THE BURNS BE CARRIED OUT?
These burns will be conducted by BC Wildfire Services in the early spring of 2023 when conditions are deemed safe. (April - early May).
PONDEROSA BURN 2021
WINLAW BURN 2018
POST BURN PHOTOS FROM OUR 2018 WINLAW PRESCRIBED FIRE
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.