Wildfire Response and Recovery
Rick Tucker is a Range Agrologist with the southern Interior Region
of the Ministry of Forests.
- Why not use native seed:
- Need 30 – 60% coverage to discourage erosion
- Native seed germinates and grows slowly
- Availability is also a problem
- Lynne Atwood has put in experimental plots at Vaseux:
- Established in the summer of 2004
- Comparing native to agronomic seed
- Will monitor for 5 years
- Aerial seeding in draws immediately post-fire (autumn) helped
when floods came in the following July – August.
- The Okanagan Valley has been the scene of a giant seeding experiment
with hand seeding, aerial seeding, plugs, and other techniques.
- Some areas are using a non-persistent agronomic mix.
US National Parks have used sterile agronomics
- Vaseux wanted to avoid genetic pollution from “native” seeds
that came from other seed stocks outside of Vaseux.
- Need to identify where fire has been so hot that roots have
- Labor intensive
- May overseed, but cheaper than assessment
- A visual assessment protocol needs to be developed so
that decisions re: to seed or not to seed and with what,
be made immediately
following (or even during) a fire. This may have
been done in the US.
- US has teams known as BAER (Burn Area Emergency Rehabilitation)
Teams. They are in communication with the Incident
Commander on the fire.
- Can seeding help break up hydrophobicity?
- Need a reasonable coverage of vegetation (>50%)
- Reference: Wildfire and Conservation in the
2004. Williams, J. and D. DellaSala (editors). Conservation
Papers 16 and 17.
- 16: Postfire Seeding for Erosion Control:
Effectiveness and Impacts on Native Plant Communities.
- 17: Postfire Management on Forested Public
Lands of the Western US. Beschta, R.
- Is there an ecosystem function to erosion? Are we doing what
we did for decades with fire suppression by suppressing this
- Limit erosion suppression to areas where it may have an
impact on human values
- Ridge tops are a concern for weed spread
- Historically burns were cool enough to keep below ground
structures alive so vegetative cover was high enough
to prevent erosion
soon after the fire.
- Seed contamination by weeds
- Forage common # is certified free of noxious weeds by
- Weed situation is worse on fire guards – Can we keep
dirty machines off fire guards?
- Difficult to do in the heat of the moment.
- In Washington State they use portable washing units.
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