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After the Pole Creek  Fire Effects and Lessons            fromFire  10 years of Big Fires in           Sisters            ...
Fire is a natural       process ineastside forests
But what is“Natural” ?
Historic accounts tell of frequent fire             “When I came to eastern Oregon in 1905…             each summer there ...
Fire suppression• Began with European settlement• Fire Lookouts staffed since early 1900
Good Fire?
Bad Fire?
Weather Patterns                                                        Insects and Disease     Rainfall Gradient         ...
Rainfall Gradient
Forest types & Fire regimes   vary with elevation and   moistureFire Regime=Frequency onany given acre5 different Fire Reg...
Fire Regime 5High elevation –High Severity,Low frequency >200 years
Missed 0-? Fire cycles
Fire Regime 4Lodgepole pine –High Severity                                 Think Lower frequency,reset forest stands      ...
Missed 0-3 Fire cycles
Fire Regime 3Mixed Conifer -Mixed Severity,Mixed frequency35-100+ years
Mixed Severity firecreates diverse forestswith complex patterns      Missed 0-3 Fire cycles
Fire Regime 2Grasslands- Mixed and highseverity, high frequency fire0-35 years Missed 3 or more Fire cycles
Fire Regime 1Ponderosa Pine- low intensity,high frequency fire0-35 years
Missed 3-10or more Fire cycles
Fire Scars tell the       stor y
Fire is… a part of life in Central Oregon ‘ and always will be.
FIRE NAME      YEAR      ACRESNO NAME                      232ABBOT CREEK                  60SUGAR PINE                   ...
FIRE NAME         YEAR     ACRESLAKE CREEK D-5    1911     1,945SUGARPINE RIDGE   1914     1,152        2 fires - 3097 acres
FIRE NAME      YEAR      ACERSWASCO LAKE      1924      2,480BLUE LAKE       1928       73        2 fires - 2553 acres
FIRE NAME            YEAR     ACRESDUGOUT LAKE          1930         636            1 fires - 636 acres
FIRE NAME            YEAR     ACRESMINTO PASS           1945         4921            1 fire - 4921 acres
No fires
FIRE NAME             YEAR   ACRESROUND LAKE            1960        83BIG LAKE AIRSTRIP     1967      3,412         2 fire...
FIRE NAME           YEAR        ACRESSUGARPINE RIDGE     1975         74            1 fire - 74 acres
NAME                YEAR   ACRESBLACK BUTTE         1981       235BRUSH CREEK         1987       422CABOT LAKE          19...
FIRE NAME             YEAR   ACRESGEORGE LAKE           1991         161JEFFERSON             1996        3,689SQUARE LAKE...
FIRE NAME         YEAR    ACRESCACHE MTN          2002     3,886LINK               2003     3,590B AND B COMPLEX    2003  ...
43% of the Sisters  Ranger  Districthas burnedsince 2002
Acres Burned by Decade               120,000               100,000                80,000                                  ...
Is it his fault?
Weather Patterns                                                     Insects and Disease     Fire Regimes                 ...
FIRE NAME         YEAR    ACRESCACHE MTN          2002     3,886LINK               2003     3,590B AND B COMPLEX    2003  ...
From 1998-2009- 70,000 acres diedMissed 0-3 Fire CyclesNarrow band next to mixed conifer forests Lodgepole at end of lifes...
Pole Creek Fire 2012
Let it burn?*Why did you!?*Why don’t you!?
Backfires off Road 16
A Changed Landscape
Pole Creek Fire        Effects•   Total fire size- 26,183 acres•   Headwaters Whychus Creek     o   42% burned, 4327 acres...
Burned Area      Emergency        Rehab       Concerns•   Steep burned slopes with    Moderate/High soil burn    severity•...
• Loss of interception of snow and rain              • Loss of evapo-transporation                          • Loss of soil...
Already                                        seeing                                        Higher                       ...
Prepare for a landscaperunning
The Dream of Fish Re-introduction
•   Spawn February- April•   Floods in March/April- wash away eggs•   Sediment affects survivalConcerns for Steelhead Spaw...
• 37 % of Pole Creek riparian    and wetland forests burned    moderate to high severity.• 61 % of Snow  Creek riparian   ...
Snow Creek Subwatershed
Lower Snow Creek
Whychus Creek at Rd 151435% Riparian reserves had High/Moderatesoil burn severity
Pole Creek Spring
South Fork Whychus• 65% riparian areas- low, unburned, soil  burn severity
Mixed Burn nearwetland meadows
Interactions with Old Fires
Mixed Severity Burns
Mosaic Patterns
SpotsSpotting distance ½ mile
Low Severity Burns
???
Watershed     Analysis     Trends?•   Disturbance     • Botany-•   Vegetation        Weeds•   Hydrology       • Roads•   S...
Fire/Disturbance• High elevation forests-   – Fire intensity “natural”   – But bigger than historic Fire sizes due to Fire...
Fire/Disturbance• Research Modeling predicts:  –   More Fires  –   Hotter Fires  –   Larger Fires  –   Longer fire seasons...
Black Butte 2 reburn 2009Black Butte Fire 1981 (28 years)
Canyon Creek Fire 2012• B&B Fire area re-burn (9 years)• Lower fire intensities• 6-10 foot shrubs• Standing & down wood
• Restore natural process• Reduce risk of high intensity fires coming out of    wilderness•   Willamette and Deschutes pro...
SOILS  Increased:      •Sediment delivery         from roads        •Erosion from loss of         soil cover        •Erosi...
Wood Straw- GW Fire 2007
WATER QUALITY                • More Peak Flows-                  flood events                • Warmer water               ...
Candle Creek -2012• 9 year recovery
Forest Vegetation• Larger landscape patches that more closely  resemble historic landscape patterns• Loss of connectivity•...
Forests do recover• Can accelerate by planting where seed sources are gone  – 30,000 acres planted on B&B• Monitor natural...
Shadow Lake 2011 & Link Fire 2003
9 years after Link Fire - 2003
Recovery ofNative Plants
No Need to Seed
2003   2004       20062005
Fire behavior canbe altered bythinning
BEFORE THINNING          AFTER THINNINGAFTER POLE CREEK FIRE
Best results come from thinning   followed by Prescribed Fire• Issues-smoke, risk of escape, visuals
FISH?
Bull Trout Habitat                          Changes                     After the B&B Fire                                ...
Jefferson Creek after             B&B Fire    • 49% riparian reserves      burned    • 8% riparian reserves had      stand...
Jefferson Creek July Max Temperature                  12                  10July Max Temp C                  8            ...
B&BBull Trout after the B&B
Street Creek -Eyerly Fire 2002       Street Cr                   64% Riparian reserves burned                   37% Ripari...
Street Creek- Eyerly Fire 2002
Street Creek -2004
Unstable banks• 11% before Eyerly Fire• 22% after Fire
Table 2. Percent fine sediment <2 mm and <5.7 mm averaged for all four sites in riffle and pool habitats. Water years prio...
Large Instream Wood per mile                                   before and after Eyerly Fire                       50      ...
Fire may drive a temporary    pulse in aquatic productivity•   >Sunlight•   >Nutrients•   > Temp•   >Plants•   >Insects•  ...
WILDLIFE                  • Loss of moist                   forests and                   owl habitat                   an...
•Other species              will thrive           •WoodpeckersWILDLIFE      •Big game           •Upland Birds
WEEDS• Increase in Invasive plants• Spread of cheatgrass- very flammable
Roads• Unraveling roads• Hazard trees• Need to upsize or remove  culverts• Continue to reduce road densities  where approp...
SOCIALIncreased understanding of urban      interface wildfire risk             Black Butte Ranch             Cache Mounta...
Homes were lost2 houses burned at Black Butte Ranch
Forest Urban/Interface
Are you Fire Safe?
Expectations of Fire       Suppression
• Delays/Changes in trail access• Lag time for sign replacement• More hazardous trees and down trees• Trail erosion RECREA...
Trail maintenance issues   9 years after B&B
Changes in Visual Quality
Salvage projects willremain controversial• 4,000 acres of salvage in B&B• Road hazard tree salvage proposed for  Pole Cree...
Continued opportunities forPublic Involvement & Partnership
What’s important to you in  Whychus watershed?
Summary• Good Fire/Bad Fire?  – Fires are a part of life in Central Oregon and    will continue to occur.  – Their effects...
Thank you…
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
Pole Creek Fire Recovery
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Pole Creek Fire Recovery

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Presentation from Deschutes Land Trust's Nature Night series. Maret Pajutee talks about fire and fire recovery after 2012's Pole Creek Fire near Sisters, Oregon. Maret is the District Ecologist for the Sisters Ranger District in Deschutes National Forest.

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Pole Creek Fire Recovery

  1. 1. After the Pole Creek Fire Effects and Lessons fromFire 10 years of Big Fires in Sisters Maret Pajutee District Ecologist Sisters Ranger District Deschutes National Forest - US Forest Service
  2. 2. Fire is a natural process ineastside forests
  3. 3. But what is“Natural” ?
  4. 4. Historic accounts tell of frequent fire “When I came to eastern Oregon in 1905… each summer there were many wildfires… caused by lightning. As there was no underbrush, these fires consumed nothing but the dead pine needles, cones and twigs… the little blaze only a few inches high crept slowly over the ground… but did no damage whatever to green trees.” Dr Urling Coe, Frontier Doctor
  5. 5. Fire suppression• Began with European settlement• Fire Lookouts staffed since early 1900
  6. 6. Good Fire?
  7. 7. Bad Fire?
  8. 8. Weather Patterns Insects and Disease Rainfall Gradient Its Fire SuppressionClimate Change Complicated! Past Timber Harvest Aspect and Slope Forest Type
  9. 9. Rainfall Gradient
  10. 10. Forest types & Fire regimes vary with elevation and moistureFire Regime=Frequency onany given acre5 different Fire Regimes are present
  11. 11. Fire Regime 5High elevation –High Severity,Low frequency >200 years
  12. 12. Missed 0-? Fire cycles
  13. 13. Fire Regime 4Lodgepole pine –High Severity Think Lower frequency,reset forest stands Yellowstone 35-100+ years
  14. 14. Missed 0-3 Fire cycles
  15. 15. Fire Regime 3Mixed Conifer -Mixed Severity,Mixed frequency35-100+ years
  16. 16. Mixed Severity firecreates diverse forestswith complex patterns Missed 0-3 Fire cycles
  17. 17. Fire Regime 2Grasslands- Mixed and highseverity, high frequency fire0-35 years Missed 3 or more Fire cycles
  18. 18. Fire Regime 1Ponderosa Pine- low intensity,high frequency fire0-35 years
  19. 19. Missed 3-10or more Fire cycles
  20. 20. Fire Scars tell the stor y
  21. 21. Fire is… a part of life in Central Oregon ‘ and always will be.
  22. 22. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESNO NAME 232ABBOT CREEK 60SUGAR PINE 36 3 fires - 328 acres
  23. 23. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESLAKE CREEK D-5 1911 1,945SUGARPINE RIDGE 1914 1,152 2 fires - 3097 acres
  24. 24. FIRE NAME YEAR ACERSWASCO LAKE 1924 2,480BLUE LAKE 1928 73 2 fires - 2553 acres
  25. 25. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESDUGOUT LAKE 1930 636 1 fires - 636 acres
  26. 26. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESMINTO PASS 1945 4921 1 fire - 4921 acres
  27. 27. No fires
  28. 28. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESROUND LAKE 1960 83BIG LAKE AIRSTRIP 1967 3,412 2 fires - 3495 acres
  29. 29. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESSUGARPINE RIDGE 1975 74 1 fire - 74 acres
  30. 30. NAME YEAR ACRESBLACK BUTTE 1981 235BRUSH CREEK 1987 422CABOT LAKE 1987 3,030CANYON CREEK 1989 133 4 fire - 3820 acres
  31. 31. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESGEORGE LAKE 1991 161JEFFERSON 1996 3,689SQUARE LAKE 1998 113CACHE 1999 382DUGOUT 1999 17 5 fire - 4362 acres
  32. 32. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESCACHE MTN 2002 3,886LINK 2003 3,590B AND B COMPLEX 2003 90,682LAKE GEORGE 2006 5,533 4 fire – 103,691 acres
  33. 33. 43% of the Sisters Ranger Districthas burnedsince 2002
  34. 34. Acres Burned by Decade 120,000 100,000 80,000 WHY?Acres Burned 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s Decades
  35. 35. Is it his fault?
  36. 36. Weather Patterns Insects and Disease Fire Regimes Its Fire SuppressionClimate Change Complicated! Timber Harvest Forest/Urban Interface Developments Changing values
  37. 37. FIRE NAME YEAR ACRESCACHE MTN 2002 3,886LINK 2003 3,590B AND B COMPLEX 2003 90,682LAKE GEORGE 2006 5,533 4 fire – 103,691 acres
  38. 38. From 1998-2009- 70,000 acres diedMissed 0-3 Fire CyclesNarrow band next to mixed conifer forests Lodgepole at end of lifespanMortality east of Three Creeks
  39. 39. Pole Creek Fire 2012
  40. 40. Let it burn?*Why did you!?*Why don’t you!?
  41. 41. Backfires off Road 16
  42. 42. A Changed Landscape
  43. 43. Pole Creek Fire Effects• Total fire size- 26,183 acres• Headwaters Whychus Creek o 42% burned, 4327 acres• Upper Whychus Creek o 54% burned, 4114 acreso Total Vegetation Mortality o 10,303 ac Stand replacement- 39% o 9,374 ac Mixed severity- 36% o 6,505 ac Low- 25%o Soil erosion hazard o Moderate to high -6800 acres or 26%
  44. 44. Burned Area Emergency Rehab Concerns• Steep burned slopes with Moderate/High soil burn severity• Potential road damage and washouts• Sediment into Whychus Creek and the Deschutes River• Risk of Invasive plants
  45. 45. • Loss of interception of snow and rain • Loss of evapo-transporation • Loss of soil cover • More water flowImpacts to Riparian Areas & Forests
  46. 46. Already seeing Higher Flows• 6 of top 11 peak flows in 102 years (1999-2009) • More Rain on Snow • Mortality in lodgepole forest
  47. 47. Prepare for a landscaperunning
  48. 48. The Dream of Fish Re-introduction
  49. 49. • Spawn February- April• Floods in March/April- wash away eggs• Sediment affects survivalConcerns for Steelhead Spawning
  50. 50. • 37 % of Pole Creek riparian and wetland forests burned moderate to high severity.• 61 % of Snow Creek riparian and wetland forests burned moderate to high severity.
  51. 51. Snow Creek Subwatershed
  52. 52. Lower Snow Creek
  53. 53. Whychus Creek at Rd 151435% Riparian reserves had High/Moderatesoil burn severity
  54. 54. Pole Creek Spring
  55. 55. South Fork Whychus• 65% riparian areas- low, unburned, soil burn severity
  56. 56. Mixed Burn nearwetland meadows
  57. 57. Interactions with Old Fires
  58. 58. Mixed Severity Burns
  59. 59. Mosaic Patterns
  60. 60. SpotsSpotting distance ½ mile
  61. 61. Low Severity Burns
  62. 62. ???
  63. 63. Watershed Analysis Trends?• Disturbance • Botany-• Vegetation Weeds• Hydrology • Roads• Soils • Scenery• Fish • Social• Wildlife
  64. 64. Fire/Disturbance• High elevation forests- – Fire intensity “natural” – But bigger than historic Fire sizes due to Fire suppression• The more fire cycles missed- the more risk to ecosystem components• Decreased fire risk for 5 years• Increased fuel loading as snags fall (5-60 years)
  65. 65. Fire/Disturbance• Research Modeling predicts: – More Fires – Hotter Fires – Larger Fires – Longer fire seasons – Migration of forest types • From: Greaves, HE. 2012
  66. 66. Black Butte 2 reburn 2009Black Butte Fire 1981 (28 years)
  67. 67. Canyon Creek Fire 2012• B&B Fire area re-burn (9 years)• Lower fire intensities• 6-10 foot shrubs• Standing & down wood
  68. 68. • Restore natural process• Reduce risk of high intensity fires coming out of wilderness• Willamette and Deschutes proposal• Scoping in ProgressPrescribed Fire in the Wilderness?
  69. 69. SOILS Increased: •Sediment delivery from roads •Erosion from loss of soil cover •Erosion from increased peak flows or flood events
  70. 70. Wood Straw- GW Fire 2007
  71. 71. WATER QUALITY • More Peak Flows- flood events • Warmer water temperatures • Short term nutrient increase in water for 4-6 years (nitrates & phosphorus)
  72. 72. Candle Creek -2012• 9 year recovery
  73. 73. Forest Vegetation• Larger landscape patches that more closely resemble historic landscape patterns• Loss of connectivity• Loss of interior forest habitats• Increase in early seral habitats
  74. 74. Forests do recover• Can accelerate by planting where seed sources are gone – 30,000 acres planted on B&B• Monitor natural regeneration• Allow most areas to regenerate naturally
  75. 75. Shadow Lake 2011 & Link Fire 2003
  76. 76. 9 years after Link Fire - 2003
  77. 77. Recovery ofNative Plants
  78. 78. No Need to Seed
  79. 79. 2003 2004 20062005
  80. 80. Fire behavior canbe altered bythinning
  81. 81. BEFORE THINNING AFTER THINNINGAFTER POLE CREEK FIRE
  82. 82. Best results come from thinning followed by Prescribed Fire• Issues-smoke, risk of escape, visuals
  83. 83. FISH?
  84. 84. Bull Trout Habitat Changes After the B&B Fire More Instream Wood andCandle Creek- 2012 pools9 years after B&B
  85. 85. Jefferson Creek after B&B Fire • 49% riparian reserves burned • 8% riparian reserves had stand replacement
  86. 86. Jefferson Creek July Max Temperature 12 10July Max Temp C 8 6 4 2 B&B Fire 0 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Year
  87. 87. B&BBull Trout after the B&B
  88. 88. Street Creek -Eyerly Fire 2002 Street Cr 64% Riparian reserves burned 37% Riparian reserves burned stand replacement
  89. 89. Street Creek- Eyerly Fire 2002
  90. 90. Street Creek -2004
  91. 91. Unstable banks• 11% before Eyerly Fire• 22% after Fire
  92. 92. Table 2. Percent fine sediment <2 mm and <5.7 mm averaged for all four sites in riffle and pool habitats. Water years prior to 2004 were below average. 2002 2003 2004* 2005Fines<2mm 25 23 28 (+3%) 27Fines<5.7mm 28 30 36 (+8%) 32 * p< 0.05
  93. 93. Large Instream Wood per mile before and after Eyerly Fire 50 small wood large wood reach 1 40pieces of wood /mile reach 2 30 20 10 0 1999 2002 1999 2002 pre-fire post-fire pre-fire post-fire
  94. 94. Fire may drive a temporary pulse in aquatic productivity• >Sunlight• >Nutrients• > Temp• >Plants• >Insects• >Fish and wildlife food From: Harris, et al, Idaho State University
  95. 95. WILDLIFE • Loss of moist forests and owl habitat and connectivity continuesSpotted Owls • 21 known owl sites down to 3
  96. 96. •Other species will thrive •WoodpeckersWILDLIFE •Big game •Upland Birds
  97. 97. WEEDS• Increase in Invasive plants• Spread of cheatgrass- very flammable
  98. 98. Roads• Unraveling roads• Hazard trees• Need to upsize or remove culverts• Continue to reduce road densities where appropriate – 71 miles of roads closed after B&B – 38 miles closed after Eyerly• Continue to implement Travel Management Plan
  99. 99. SOCIALIncreased understanding of urban interface wildfire risk Black Butte Ranch Cache Mountain Fire 2002
  100. 100. Homes were lost2 houses burned at Black Butte Ranch
  101. 101. Forest Urban/Interface
  102. 102. Are you Fire Safe?
  103. 103. Expectations of Fire Suppression
  104. 104. • Delays/Changes in trail access• Lag time for sign replacement• More hazardous trees and down trees• Trail erosion RECREATION
  105. 105. Trail maintenance issues 9 years after B&B
  106. 106. Changes in Visual Quality
  107. 107. Salvage projects willremain controversial• 4,000 acres of salvage in B&B• Road hazard tree salvage proposed for Pole Creek• Additional analysis underway
  108. 108. Continued opportunities forPublic Involvement & Partnership
  109. 109. What’s important to you in Whychus watershed?
  110. 110. Summary• Good Fire/Bad Fire? – Fires are a part of life in Central Oregon and will continue to occur. – Their effects and cycles vary. Its complicated!• We are working to restore conditions to reduce risks to people and ecosystems• We need your help and understanding. – Get involved with your public lands.
  111. 111. Thank you…

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