Fire history analysis
Researchers: Reed, Routledge
Students: Lu, Magnuson, McConnell, Tommasi
Scientists have recently begun using charcoal abundances in lake sediments to generate insight on local fire history. The original focus of this section of the project was to examine the charcoal accumulation rate in the bottom sediment of a lake in the dry forest area of the South Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Large uncontrollable fires that have occurred in this forest type on several occasions in recent years have focused attention on theories of past fire history, and this would be the first solid evidence on this history for the Okanagan Valley. Findings to date, from analyses of both the lake sediments and nearby fire-scarred trees, point to a substantial change in the fire history near the end of the nineteenth century. An earlier regime of frequent, low-intensity fires was replaced by one of infrequent, widespread, stand-replacing fires. The project is now focused on substantiating the evidence from this lake, extending the analysis to other lakes in the region, and improving the associated methodology.