Road Deactivation and Restoration
Work after Wild Fire within a Domestic Watershed
Fireguard trail rehabilitation using soil bioengineering
techniques on a steep gully sideslope in a domestic
Location: Hidden Creek, Arrow Forest District
Client: Ministry of Forests, Southeast Fire
Objective: To ensure that all fireguard trails
and roads are stabilized, natural drainage patterns
are maintained and surface soil erosion is minimized.
Fireguard trails were constructed in the attempt to
contain a wildfire in the Hidden Creek watershed in
August 2003. Trails were constructed following a steep
grade with little or no consideration for drainage control.
In addition, some gullies were dammed to act as sumps
used for fire fighting.
Fireguard trails cross moderately steep terrain composed
of sandy till and broken or completely decomposed (saprolite)
bedrock. Bedrock in the area includes granitic rock,
which is susceptible to chemical weathering and often
decomposes in situ to highly erodible pure sand and
Carol Wallace Consulting was retained by the Ministry
of Forests, Southeast Fire Centre in August, 2003 to
prepare fireguard trail rehabilitation prescriptions
in the Hidden Creek watershed.
A total of 17 kilometres of trails and roads were assessed
and required prescriptions. Prescriptions focused on
restoring the natural surface drainage patterns where
possible by using cross ditches where required. Some
pull back was required where oversteepened fill was
supported by standing timber, often on switchbacks and
steeper terrain. Gullies that were filled in or plugged
were restored. Once these structures were in place,
available slash and large woody debris were placed on
the trails to act as natural sediment traps. Woody debris
was firmly placed to ensure that they were not undermined.
Grass seeding occurred concurrently with deactivation.
The risk of sediment delivery to the stream was considered
in the prescriptions, and soil bioengineering techniques
were recommended in an area where the sediment delivery
potential was rated as high. Straw wattles were installed
where the fireguard trail follows a 65% grade down the
fall line directly into the stream gully. The work was
implemented by Terra Erosion Control Ltd. and will help
to reduce surface erosion and the amount of sediment
entering the stream.