Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services

Wildfire Response and Recovery

Skull Mountain Special Management Area

Donna Falat

Donna Falat is a Registered Professional Biologist from Kamloops. She has worked in the Skull Mountain Resource Management Zone north of Kamloops for over 8 years -- first with the BC Conservation Foundation, and more recently with Cascadia Natural Resource Consultants.

Presentation Summary: The Skull Special Resource Management Zone was designated under the Kamloops Land and Resource Management Plan in 1995 (KLRMP, 1995). Objectives for the area under the plan include:

  1. Maintaining the natural diversity of plant and animal life, and
  2. Maintaining or enhancing forage production and habitat requirements on critical mule deer winter range.

In 1995 an inventory program was initiated to examine some of the wildlife and habitats occurring within the RMZ. This inventory was used, in part, to develop a harvesting prescription for the area designed to create a landscape that would be similar to that created by naturally occurring wildfires in an NDT4 ecosystem; encouraging early and late seral feature development.

A monitoring program was initiated in 1999 to assess changes in bird communities and mule deer use of winter range in response to the modified harvest. In addition the vegetation features associated with each monitoring component were examined. This work continued until 2003 when the McLure fire affected almost the entire study area. Following the fire, we realized we had several opportunities:

  1. Several years of pre-fire data for bird, deer and vegetation communities,
  2. New treatments including pre-fire modified harvest, post-fire salvage, and fire with no harvest,
  3. Portions of the study area would be seeded for erosion and weed control and range and this could provide additional study opportunities.

Post-fire work to date has consisted of initial sampling of vegetation features within the three treatments mentioned above. As well, preliminary work to establish sites for comparing seeded and unseeded sites has been completed. In addition, mule deer surveys are planned for this winter.

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