Fire History Analysis
Cross-dating of samples of fire scars from trees are providing key evidence for fire frequencies over the past 2-3 centuries. They confirm evidence obtained from live trees and from charcoal deposits in nearby lakes that a substantially different fire regime existed before European contact and the modern fire-suppression era. In the pre-contact era, the fire-scarred trees show evidence of much more frequent, less intensive fires. In the modern fire-suppression era, fires were much less frequent, but a fire in the 1960's produced an anomalously high level of charcoal concentration in each of three lakes sampled. These findings, when further substantiated, will provide key evidence related to the ongoing evolution of fire management in the dry forests of the southern British Columbia Interior.
The lake sediment cores have also pointed to potential cycles of charcoal abundance with periods on the order of 20 and 100 years respectively. These may provide vital clues to underlying causes of similar cyclic fluctuations in such phenomena as fur returns to the Hudson Bay Company, Pacific salmon returns, and insect outbreaks.