Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services

Wildfire Response and Recovery

Okanagan Mountain Park Research Plots

Tory Stevens

Tory Stevens is an ecologist with the Protected Areas Branch of the Ministry of Environment .

Judy Millar

Judy Millar is an Ecosystem Officer in the Okanagan Region of the Ministry of Environment . She has worked on fire issues for many years including during a one year exchange in Australia.

Presentation Summary: The Okanagan Mountain Fire burned virtually the entire park including 74 plots that had been put in during the late 1990s. The opportunity to learn from the effects of the fire by monitoring and measuring pre-fire plots was augmented by additional objectives. This Case Study is looking at the long term vegetative response to fire including the buildup of fuel over time, and the invasive plant species and distribution change over time in relation to the fire. Our efforts were concentrated in the PPxh1 due to the wildland/urban interface concerns in this variant.

Forty-three plots are being monitored. In each plot data is collected on tree size and species, scorch height, and whether it is dead or alive. There are also transects for coarse woody debris, mineral soil and organic layer, vegetation plots for % cover and recording invasive plants by species and distribution code. The plots have all been permanently marked and photo points designated along each transect. These plots will be re-measured at 5 year intervals to record a snapshot of succession, the invasive plant progression and to monitor fall down rates for fuel analysis.

Work in Okanagan Mountain Park was hampered in 2004 by safety concerns. Work procedures were developed to allow researchers access to the park. These involve tree inspection prior to entering an area, a certified tree inspector as part of the crew and a wind speed threshold when working around trees.

Invasive plant data was collected to a provincial standard for inclusion in the Ministry of Environment invasive plant database. Invasive plants will be monitored annually, particularly the priority weed such as the Tansy Ragwort on the south and eastern edge of the park.

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