FOREST FIRES AND BRUSH DISPOSAL 109
interior plateau and the long though narrow slope of the Rockies, is lodgepole pine. Over extensive areas, it forms practically pure forests, especially on the higher elevations with poor soil conditions. The stand is everywhere dense and the timber small, the trees rarely being of sawlog size. Practically the only use now made of lodgepole pine is for railway ties, but it is probable that it will be utilized for pulp-wood in the near future. Spruce is common along all the streams and on most good soils. On good sites at high elevations it frequently forms almost pure stands, balsam being the only other component. Douglas fir occurs at elevations below 2,500 feet throughout all but the north-western portion of the plateau region and over the whole length of the Rockies to Yellowhead pass. In the southern portion of the region it is found as high up as 4,000 feet. Along the Fraser and the North Thompson it is found in almost pure stands on limited areas. Generally, however, it occurs in mixture with lodgepole pine. The timber, though rough and often defective, will make rough lumber and rail-way ties. In the aggregate, considerable quantities are available and will, eventually, be used. Up to the present, however, only a few portable mills are using it. Yellow pine creeps into the type south of Bridge river and the North Thompson, but has no commercial significance.
Like the wet belt region, this forest region has, both in the plateau and Rocky mountain sections, suffered severely from fires. Scarcely any considerable areas are without traces of old fires, and vast tracts have been almost completely denuded. Regeneration, however, follows quickly and most of the severely burned lands are covered with a dense second growth. After a fire, poplar is a universal component of the stand, but is of commercial importance only on moist soils at low altitudes. Here, it attains a diameter of six inches to twelve inches and a height of 50 feet. Until the pulpwood industry can make use of it, its only value will be for cordwood, fences, etc.
Throughout the forest of this immense region there is a considerable accumulation of dead, fallen timber, branches, leaves, moss and other vegetable material, which adds greatly to the fire risk and interferes with regeneration. The timber also is small, with a relatively large crown, and logging operations will result in a large amount of slash. Owing to poor soil fertility and the small supply of moisture which exists in this region, and the resultant slow rate of growth, any practical plan for management must include measures to preserve and improve these most important factors of growth. Since the logging slash and dead material are also an obstacle to regeneration, a cautious policy must be adopted as regards the removal of the debris. Apparently, no general rule can be followed, each case requiring measures to