Off the Beaten Path
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Salmon Arm, BC, Canada.
Well, living in the Shuswap and working in the Okanagan, I'm getting pretty familiar with fires! Anyways, deer come back right away, eating the fresh green shoots that come up within a few weeks. As for bears, probably they would do some grazing on grasses and forbs in the spring, but it would take quite a few years for any substantial amount of berries to come back to attract them at that time of year.
The fire above Salmon Arm (1988) came back very heavy to grasses for the first few years, but now the shrubs are taking over in many areas, especially deerbrush ceanothus (excellent winter food for deer), snowberry, willows, and aspen.
Morels are abundant for about 2 years after a fire. Like berries, in parks there's no law against picking them for personal use--you can't pick them for commercial harvest in parks. Mmm, morels are great!
By the way, Okanagan Mtn Park and Myra-Bellevue Park (where the Myra Canyon KVR trestles used to be) are still closed, perhaps they will be open in 2006 or later this fall. Right now they are busy building a bypass trail around the canyon, and falling danger snags along that route. Meanwhile, in the canyon itself they've rebuilt trestle #18 (the first one on the east end of the Canyon), trestle #1 at the west end was saved, and they will be rebuilding 5 more this year. I think their plan is to work from both ends towards the middle over the next year or so until it's finished.