Forest Fuel Load Treatment

Updated 31 Oct 21:
Trail Closures for Wildfire Fuel Treatment November 1 – December 3, 2021

For the safety of visitors, sections of the Barrett Monfort Trail will be closed near the east boundary of the park, limiting travel. BC Wildfire Service is conducting tree falling, and controlled pile burning will take place.

BC Forest Service Wild Fire Branch at ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park – to reduce the fuel loads within the forest along the eastern boundary and along the entrance road, this October and November, the BC Forest Service Wild Fire Branch will undertake a Fuel Management Prescription. Fifteen areas along the park’s eastern boundary and the entrance road have been identified:

 

EAST BOUNDARY TREATMENT AREAS

A1        west of Charmanah

A2        west of Charmanah and up Raven Creek

A3        above Barret Montfort Trail road crossing

A4        between Dean Park Road and Minstrel Place

A5        west of Minstrel and Echo Places

A6        west of Cathedral Place, south boundary

A7        west of Cathedral Place

A8        between Barret Montfort Trail and Cathedral Place

A9        east of Barret Montfort Trail

A10      above Dean Park Road, north of fire hydrant

A11      above Dean Park Road, south of Barret Montfort Trail

 

DEAN PARK ROAD TREATMENT AREAS

B1        south of road, above Slektain and Bob Boyd Trailheads, north of road

B2        north of road, below upper Slektain meadow

B3        east of road, mid-point

 

PARKING LOT TREATMENT AREA

C1        a circular area surrounding the parking lot; from upper parking lot, mid-Thunderbird south of the summit access road to below upper Valley Mist Trailheads.

 

 

TREATMENT SPECIFICATION RATIONALE

 

This treatment area is part of a long-term plan to mitigate the wildfire hazard in ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park where high visitor use increases the probability of fire starts from human ignitions and potentially impact values at risk including park amenities, nearby structures, and ecological features. Increased visitor demand and use of the park as a regional recreational destination have increased the number of people accessing the trails which are popular with dog owners, local residents, and tourists. These factors add to the growing concern of this area for fuel mitigation activities necessary to protect communities from the threat of wildfire.

 

The objective of this fuel treatment prescription will focus on reducing high hazard fuels directly adjacent to residential areas, park buildings and structures, First Nations values, trails, and the Dean Park Road access / egress route. Proposed fuel treatments of high hazard fuels (Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System C-3 fuel type) are thinning, pruning and surface fuel removal to reduce the likelihood of a surface fire transitioning to a more dangerous crown fire, thereby protecting property and critical infrastructure from damage and improving the personal safety of visitors and staff. Additionally, fuel treatments will facilitate access and safety for firefighting crews, should a wildfire burn through or start in this area.

 

By removing smaller stems, fuel continuity and ladder fuels will be reduced. In relation to the fuel components of the Wildfire Threat Assessment worksheet, the focus of the treatment is to reduce the density of live and dead suppressed understory conifers <17.5cm diameter, raise the crown base height by removing live lower branches, and reduce surface fuels (fine, medium and coarse woody debris).

 

In addition, fuel treatments will support the conservation and recreation objectives of the Park Act and ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park to mimic the region’s previous fire regimes, increase understory biological diversity, promote gap dynamics, advance the stand towards old growth succession thereby protecting old-growth Douglas-fir forest, and to provide opportunities for the study, viewing, and enjoyment of the park’s ecosystems.

 

 

FUEL TREATMENT PROJECT DESCRIPTION

 

  • Maintain BC Parks’ mandate to preserve the natural environment for the inspiration, use and enjoyment of the public (Conservation and Recreation);
  • Comply with the Park Act and associated regulations and policies, including the BC Parks Conservation Policy and Tree Removal Policy by prescribing only the removal of those trees and debris accumulations that pose a threat to human safety and to the natural ecosystems protected by the park;
  • Enhance the resilience of old growth ecosystems of ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park by reducing fire threat within specified areas of the park. This is in line with the primary role of the park outlined in the John Dean Provincial Park Purpose Statement and Zoning Plan, which is to ‘protect one of the best remnants of old growth Douglas-fir forest on south Vancouver Island.’ Enhancing the resilience of ecosystems to fire in ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park in also in line with the secondary and tertiary roles of the park, which are to ‘provide day use opportunities for study, viewing and appreciation associated with the natural and cultural values of the park’ and to ‘protect cultural and historic resources and values.’ By implementing small disturbances to the stands in ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park (thinning from below), large, catastrophic disturbance from wildfire can be avoided;
  • Increase the succession of mature forests (present stand age 87-114 years) to old growth along the eastern boundary of ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park. Thinning Fuel Management Prescription Revised May 12, 2015 Page 2 treatments has been shown to increase both conifer regeneration and shrub cover, hastening the development of multistory stands with old growth attributes;
  • Take into consideration local community concerns about fuel loading and fire risk, including the risk of a wildfire starting in the park due to a discarded cigarette on Dean Park Road, and the risk of a wildfire in the park spreading to the adjacent residential neighbourhood (Dean Park Estates) (Fuel Management);
  • Create a 100 m buffer of reduced fuel loading along the eastern boundary of ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park to help reduce the risk of a fire spreading into or from Dean Park Estates (Fuel Management);
  • Enhance the ability of park managers to protect both human and natural values at risk, including human health and safety, recreational enjoyment, wildlife habitat, and protected ecosystems, by providing an anchor point for suppression efforts (Fuel Management, Recreation, Conservation);
  • Reduce crown and surface fire behaviour potential by targeting understorey trees, ladder, and surface fuels as a priority for fuel reduction through thinning stems <17.5 cm diameter-at-breast height (dbh), pruning; chipping, and the offsite disposal of excess fuels while maintaining visual quality for park users, and conserving biodiversity and wildlife habitat values (Fuel Management); and
  • Minimize impacts to, and where possible enhance, the many values on the eastern boundary of ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park, including aesthetic and visual values for park visitors and habitat for plant and wildlife species (Conservation, Recreation).

 

Reports prepared by B.A. Blackwell & Associates, March 31, 2020

Source materials provided by BC Parks

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