Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments
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Prescription Burning: the Recipe, and Post-fire Treatments. ESPM 181 Spring 2006. Where we’re going:. The how & why’s of setting up a prescribed fire in California Why, and hows, of post-fire treatments Expected take-homes: Questions for your final No lab write up. Prescription fire.

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Prescription Burning: the Recipe, and Post-fire Treatments

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Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments

Prescription Burning: the Recipe, andPost-fire Treatments

ESPM 181 Spring 2006


Where we re going

Where we’re going:

  • The how & why’s of setting up a prescribed fire in California

  • Why, and hows, of post-fire treatments

  • Expected take-homes:

    • Questions for your final

    • No lab write up.


Prescription fire

Prescription fire

  • The Background (what the man behind the curtain has been doing)


Reasoning

Reasoning

  • Effective fuels reduction in plantations of the Russell Experimental Station (RES)

  • Fire-Safe University Property

    • Those little 8000 sq ft ‘starter castles’ in the LaMorinda metropolitan area…staring at the Oakland fire scenario

  • Training

    • ESPM 181


Land management descision

Land Management Descision

  • Center for Forestry (C4F) needed to acknowledge the need for management, after that:

    • Designate Forest officer for oversight

    • Designate IC – Site representative


Permitting

Permitting

  • In our case, controlled by:

  • BAAQMD:

    • Bay Area Air Quality Management District

  • Contra Costa County

    • Contra Costa Fire & Cooperating Fire districts, structure protection

    • 911: need to be informed of burn ops.

    • Agriculture Permit Division: Burn Permits

  • California Division of Forestry

    • Wildland Fire Unit Standby, Structure Protection

  • BAAQMD controlling agency variable:

    • Boils down to size, and what’s burning:

      • <10 acres

      • >10 acres

      • Native or Non-native vegetation


Baaqmd

BAAQMD

  • Regulates all burning;

    • Major limitation to all operations in California

      • Regulations vary by air basin; San Joaquin Valley is strictest re: forest Rx fire (most Sierra Nevada forests, YNP, SNP all have to deal with these guys)

    • Smoke Management Plan

      • Requires Environmental Impact Statement

      • Required on:

        • Any burn from May 1 to October 31

        • Any burn over 10 acres

        • Any burn in native vegetation, including WFU


Baaqmd1

BAAQMD:

  • November 1 to April 30:

    • Burning in less than 10 acres of non-native vegetation can occur without Smoke Plan

    • RES:

      • Regulation 5 exemptions used:

        • < 10 acres

        • Plantation, non-native vegetation suite

        • Training


Res calendar

RES Calendar:

  • Convincing C4F that prescribed fires can be included in management: May to December 2005

  • Actual decision to proceed with burn permitting: December 2005

  • Contact (Everett) of regulating agencies: January 2006

    • Fuels Vegetation Workup start

  • Final C4F ‘nod’ for equipment, manning: February 2006

    • ICS

    • Equipment Committal

    • Manning Committal

    • Fuels (181)

  • March 2006:

    • Felling

    • Line construction

    • Equipment relocation (PPE, hose, handtools)


What really happens

What really happens:

  • March 2006: record month with most days with measurable precipitation in East Bay records (not total amount record, though)

  • April 2006:

    • -Standby

      • Rotate to stand down if conditions don’t improve by 15 April

  • Gear up for November application:

    • Add 2-3 acres in the target

  • Not too unusual:

    • PW03: Western Yosemite National Park burns:

      • Planned since mid-1990s

      • Permitted 1998, pending limits by SJAQMD

      • Partially ignited 2001, 2003, shut down by SJAQMD

      • Partially ignited 2005, seasonal shutdown


Why mitigate post fire effects

Why mitigate post fire effects?

  • Waterman Canyon, Christmas Eve 2003

  • Two months after ‘Old’ Fire, October 2003

  • 34 Years, 1 month after Panorama Fire

    • Ryegrassed by CDF & USFS

  • Waterman Canyon has a slide, in one form or another, within a year of every fire since 1932

    • Other Hillslope scenarios very similar throughout the western US


Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments

  • Most of southern California (and huge portions of Bay Area flatlands) are built on alluvium from surrounding hills

    • Large % derived during post-fire storm events

Harrison Canyon Catchment Basin (1983) & Spring Creek Debris Flow (1999). Both San Bernardino County, both are from USGS SCAMP director Doug Morton.


Sources

Sources

  • Robichaud, Beyers & Neary, 2000. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Postfire Rehabilitation Techniques. RMRS-GTR-63

    • Web Reading # 6

  • Biscuit Fire, 2002:

    • http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/rogue-siskiyou/biscuit-fire/index.shtml


B a e r burned area emergency rehabilitation

B.A.E.R.:Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation

  • Formal Authority: 1974

    • Originally for

      • 1) Threat Reduction,

      • 2) Soil & Water Loss,

      • 3) Water Control &

      • 4) Water Quality

  • Reassessed 1998:

    • Addition assessment for needs concerning:

      • Evaluation of Run-off control

      • Minimization of Downstream post-fire effects

      • Assess impacts on ecosystems’s ability to recovery

      • Compare Hillslope v. Channel mitigation effects

      • Assess economic, social and environmental costs & benefits (including no treatment)

      • Treatment Transfer: How can one successful treatment be employed elswhere

      • Identification of information gaps


Process

Process:

  • BAER initiates during Type 1 project fire events

    • Requested by Type 1 Overhead

      • Own Authority

      • On request by Area-of-concern managers (usually Forest level)

      • Team is in-place well before ‘containment & control’; begins immediately on soil & water rehabilitation, usually during suppression activities


Staff

Staff

  • Team Leader (just like a Type 1 Incident Commander)

  • Disciplines:

    • Hydrology

    • Soils

    • Timber Management

    • Wildlife

    • Engineering

    • Range Management

    • Archaeology

    • Fire Management

    • Geology


Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments

BAER

  • Primary Objectives:

    • Health & Human Safety

    • Watershed Stabilization

      • Both fire-affected area & downstream

      • Should address both alluvial & colluvial mass movement

  • Secondary ‘Big’ question:

    • Is there any treatment that could be performed which will significantly increase the ecosytem recovery?


Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments

BAER

  • Limited to rehab work and ‘significant improvement over natural recovery’

    • For instance:

      • Cannot build new facilities with BAER $ (but you can repair old ones)

      • Cannot alter long-term silvicultural goals (but can provide for some seeding, if ‘significant improvement’ is indicated)

      • Can’t set up tasked, event-specific research


Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments

BAER

  • GTR-63 provides:

    • Fire effects review

    • How to acquire & analyze data

    • How to describe results of assessment & monitoring

    • Discusses BAER assessments & treatment effectiveness

    • Makes conclusions regarding BAER process

    • Makes recommendations about BAER process


Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments

  • Hillslope Treatments (“First line of defense”):

    • Broadcast seeding, including grasses

      • Exotics: cheap, fast growth

      • Natives: Expensive (20x to 50x), slow growth

      • Most BAER treatments are shying away from inexpensive seeding, but Private, County & State agencies (except CDF) not.

    • Mulching

    • Contour trenching

    • Contour felling

    • Fencing & contour check-dams

    • Lopping & scattering of slash

    • Hay, straw wattles, Jute meshing, etc


Channel treatments

Channel Treatments

  • Within any ‘order’ stream

  • Check dams:

    • Logs

    • Hay Bales

    • Rock Dams, Rock Cages, Weirs

    • Tend to fill w/ debris


Road treatments

Road Treatments

  • Target: increase the water and sediment ‘capabilities’ of roads & road structures

    • Culverts

    • Outsloping

    • Overflows

    • Crossings

    • Bridges


Prescription burning the recipe and post fire treatments

BAER

  • Biscuit Fire, 2002:

    • Provides a real-life example of the BAER process

      • Records of Decision

      • Final E.I.S.’s:

        • Environmental Impact Statements

        • The alternatives, including the ‘no treatment’ alternative


Willow fire sbnf 1999

Willow Fire (SBNF 1999)

  • BAER Team identified, addressed:

    • Slope erosion problems

      • Meadows

      • Streams With Chubb, Trout populations

      • North Face (Steep Terrain) Check Dams & Trenching

    • Some Reseeding

      • Atriplex & Artemesia populations

      • NO GRASSES (Even the haybales were suspect…T&E species problems)


Hmmmm interesting questions

Hmmmm: Interesting questions:

  • Be able to briefly discuss the Fire Impacts that GTR-63 is concerned with.

  • What are the three primary types of erosion control treatment categories?

  • Why isn’t broadcast seeding such a good idea anymore, and what vegetation community is most affected by this treatment?

  • Are ‘no treatment’ costs more or less than specific treatment alternatives? Why or why not?


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