Wednesday, October 24, 2018

POST WILDFIRE - Dozer Line Recovery Strategy

Main Connector Route Impacted by Carr Fire Dozer Line
BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area

It is no secret that designated roads and trails provide recreational access to the great outdoors for millions of Americans.  In addition, they are often used by dozers to cut firebreaks or to provide ingress/egress for firefighters and support vehicles to manage a wildfire.  

For the purpose of this article, QWR will focus on post wildfire recovery prescriptions for three different types of dozer line impacts to system routes.  Those situations include dozer lines created on an important connector or corridor road/trail, dozer lines that obliterate the core of a single-track or 50-inch trail network, and non-route related dozer lines that intersect a system road or trail.

Reconstructed Rolling Dips on Connector Trail Used as Dozer Line
BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area

QWR believes the first order of priority for post wildfire recovery and reopening of a unit is for trail crews to reestablish soil loss/water control structures (i.e. rolling dips, sediment catch basins, etc.), signing, and vehicle width restrictors on key connector routes that provide public access for multiple-use recreation and post-fire management/monitoring activities. 

Secondly, the focus should be on installation of temporary pressure treated wood or natural wood/downed tree barriers and signs to restrict vehicle traffic where dozer lines obliterated the core of a single-track or 50-inch trail network.   This gives recovery crews time to focus on restoring public access on major connector routes.   Once that mission is accomplished then workers can focus on reestablishing and reopening the affected trail network.

Dozer Line Intersecting System Trail
BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area

Lastly, dozer lines are also created on old non-system roads or historic fuel breaks from past fires.  These are not legal routes where installation of pressure treated, natural wood, or rock barriers are used to restrict vehicle traffic.

Volunteers and Agency Staff Install Temporary Natural Wood Barriers and Sign 
BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area 

Often it is not the wildfire that directly impacts the trail but is the associated fire management activities such as building dozer lines that affect the road and trail system.

Recovery and Reopening of Connector Trail
BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area

QWR believes a robust recovery and reopening strategy (using agency staff, contractors, and volunteers) should address dozer line impacts in a timely manner so as to avoid economic impacts to rural communities and recreation interests.

*QWR wants to thank the volunteers and agency staff who participated in the recent Post Wildfire OHV Recovery Alliance work party at the BLM Chappie Shasta OHV Area which is now reopened for public use.

No comments:

Post a Comment