Detection is critical for successful wildfire management. The Alberta Wildfire Detection Challenge was a collaborative program between Alberta Wildfire, Alberta Innovates, and FPInnovations. The program selected six commercially available fixed detection systems for a challenge. These systems were installed and operated on the Marten Mountain Lookout tower near Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada during the 2022 wildfire season. This report presented analyzed performance data of these systems from the demonstration in an operational environment. Results will facilitate a better understanding of these systems.
A literature review was conducted to summarize research reports available on the wildfire ignition potential of cigarettes. Articles from 1933 to 2021 were compiled and analyzed. The search included publications on cigarette physical characteristics, ignition thresholds, cigarette behavioral response to variable environmental conditions and statistical studies regarding impact on wildfire in Canada.
According to the information gathered during the review, a cigarette can start a fire in wildland fuels but requires very specific physical and environmental conditions. However, this review also highlighted many gaps in the literature on the subject. Articles published are limited; experimental methods are often not scientifically sound and lack
standardization. Furthermore, there are inconsistencies around the definition of the term “ignition”. A couple of factors are of the utmost importance in cigarette-caused fires
according to research: wind and fuel moisture content (FMC). There is plenty of evidence showing that air flow is necessary up to a certain level to obtain ignition. Data also show that the FMC must remain below a certain fuel-dependent threshold.
McCall Engineering (ME) was retained by FPInnovations to conduct the study of non-forest industry loadings on forestry bridges and to prepare simplified Live Load Capacity Factors (LLCFs) for typical forestry bridge types that can be used to screen forestry bridges for an overload quickly. Since data for heavy off-highway non-forest industry vehicles were not readily available, ME proposed to represent overloads by three typical overweight permit vehicle configurations; a standard track width low bed vehicle, a wheeler axle (8-tire axle) low bed vehicle and a wheeler axle platform trailer vehicle. It was assumed that an overweight permit would be sought from the MOF when a non-forest industry equipment transporter plans to move a heavy load on exclusively off-highway routes that include a Forest Service Road (FSR). The live load factors for these configurations operating under single trip permits are well understood and summarized in CSA S6 (Canadian Hwy Design Bridge Code).
The objective of this study was to calculate simplified adjusted LLCFs for representative forestry bridge types, spans and design vehicles, and three reference permit vehicle types and to develop a tool to enable LLCFs to be extracted for spans ranging from 5 m to 70 m and considering four typical bridge cross sections, 13 bridge design vehicles and three reference permit vehicles. The LLCFs can then be used by experienced bridge evaluators to quickly screen-evaluate bridges for any overload vehicle with a similar (or wider) track width as one of the reference permit vehicles.
The success of current and future forest management, particularly when dealing with triggered changes stemming from extreme climate change-induced events, will require prompt, timely, and reliable information obtained at local scales. Remote sensing platforms and sensors have been evolving, emerging, and converging with enabling technologies that can potentially have an enormous impact in providing reliable decision support and making forest operations more coherent with climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives.
This is chapter 27 from the open access book: Boreal Forests in the Face of Climate Change, sustainable Management (2003) available: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-15988-6
The use of night vision imaging systems (NVIS) offers the opportunity to conduct operations such as heli-tanking at night. Due to reduced fire behaviour at night owing to lower temperatures, greater relative humidity, and often less wind, night-time suppression from helicopters can conceptually offer a notable benefit.
To better understand the benefits and limitations of NVIS technology in wildfire applications, the Wildfire Management Branch (WMB) at the Government of Alberta engaged FPInnovations to collaborate on an NVIS-supported operational trial. The intent of this trial was to explore the feasibility of using NVIS in rotary wing operations with emphasis on heli-tanking.
The Capability, Development and Analysis Program at the Government of Alberta, in collaboration with FPInnovations’ Wildfire Operations Program, is proposing a research roadmap for advanced night-time firefighting operations. The intent of this roadmap is to provide an over-arching direction for research projects that aim to provide a better understanding of the value proposition of advanced night-time wildland firefighting operations.
This InfoNote describes the The 5th Wildfire Detection Workshop that was held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on February 28 and March 1, 2023. The workshop provided Canadian Federal, Provincial, and Territorial wildfire agencies with an opportunity to exchange ideas and information related to the state of wildland fire detection in their jurisdictions.
On August 14, 2021, the Tremont Creek wildfire threatened the community of Logan Lake, British Columbia, when the high-intensity wildfire approached from the north. A wind shift mid-afternoon on August 14 pushed the fire head toward the east with flanking fire spreading toward Logan Lake. Late in the afternoon, extensive aerial suppression operations were
conducted to reinforce forest fuel reduction treatment areas on three sides of the community. Later in the evening, suppression crews incorporated fuel treatments in a successful burnout operation to reinforce a control line that had been created by heavy equipment and hand crews.
This case study presents the fire chronology with fuel, weather, and topographic conditions that impacted fire behaviour. A key objective of this case study is to examine how fuel treatments modified fire behaviour or were strategically used to support and enhance suppression operations.
Between the 1950s and mid-1990s many forestry roads in B.C. were inadequately
constructed with a lack of or poorly managed drainage, subsequently were incorrectly or not at all deactivated, and now pose landslide hazards and an increased risk to the public and the environment. This study defines and tests a preliminary stability indicator that can be used to screen large areas for the relative debris slide hazard from these legacy roads using two fundamental landslide factors: slope and flow (specific catchment area). Using a 2 m-resolution digital elevation model, the stability indicator was applied to a case study area that had previously been the subject of a terrain stability assessment. The stability
indicator proved to be a good predictor of road hazard ratings at a 15% level of significance. This quantitative approach to identifying road hazards may prove useful for prioritizing terrain stability assessments (TSAs) of areas with legacy roads by land managers and could provide additional insight to professionals for TSAs.
The Trident mobile high-volume water delivery system is self-contained. The main components of the system are two UTVs, a 200 hp high-volume pump, and 7000 feet (2134 m) of 4-inch hose. It can deliver 500 gpm of water at 190 psi in a wildfire operational situation. Alberta Wildfire asked FPInnovations to document three deployments in 2021 to identify opportunities for using the system and to reduce the knowledge gaps around best practices for deployment.
Debris piles were scattered among a fuel-treated stand at the Jumpingpound Demonstration Forest. The existing trees were deemed as assets worth protecting while the piles required to be burned. To facilitate the protection of the trees surrounding these debris piles, the Calgary Forest Area requested the use of water-enhancer capable fire engines to protect the trees during debris pile burning.
A total of 15 debris piles of varying fuel loads were burned over two days. The use of water-enhancer capable fire engines allowed FPInnovations to document the use of suppressants (water and water-enhancer) to better understand their advantages and limitations. Qualitative observations suggested that water-enhancers were more effective at withstanding radiant heat than water when applied immediately prior to the incident heat. Its efficacy, however, was found to decline with time.
Multiple log-deck fires at mill sites and log yards in Western Canada in the past year resulted in the loss of merchantable timber. These fires showcased how existing equipment and suppression efforts from wildfire agencies are heavily challenged when asked to handle the thermal output from burning log-decks.
In an effort to explore alternate solutions, FPInnovations collaborated with West Fraser and the High Level Forest Management Area to understand the efficacy of high-volume water delivery systems in log-deck fire suppression. Over the course of three days, water-penetration tests as well as suppression tests were carried out to better understand the utility and resource requirements of high-volume water delivery systems.
A human-caused wildfire was started on May 6, 2021 in Parkland County, Alberta near the rural community of Tomahawk. Among several Alberta Wildfire resources deployed to the wildfire, one particular resource was high-volume water delivery systems provided by Fire & Flood Emergency Service Ltd.
Alberta Wildfire asked FPInnovations to document the implementation of high-volume water delivery systems in actioning a peatland wildfire as a case study.
In 2021, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Wildfire Management Branch identified an opportunity to evaluate new and emerging technologies to supplement and improve current wildfire response capabilities. A one-year directed research initiative was undertaken with the FPInnovations’ Wildfire Operations group to assess the efficacy of five different technologies and their utility in the wildfire domain. This report summarizes the five projects undertaken in this initiative, highlighting key outcomes and considerations.
Seven vendors participated in a smoke detection exercise conducted in Alberta, Canada from August 23 to 29, 2021. This exercise aimed to understand how well current detection technology uses imagery from existing cameras mounted on towers to detect smoke. All vendors in this exercise use artificial intelligence / machine learning algorithms in their systems. Alberta Wildfire expects to gain a better understanding of these detection systems and how they differ from each other.
Wildfire risks in British Columbia are currently elevated and continue to increase. The subject of this report is to review the state of knowledge about how wildfires will impact resource roads now and in the future. Available wildfire hazard information along with resource road vulnerabilities are summarized and links to wildfire risks are established. The report also discusses how our understanding of risk might be improved with better information about wildfire impacts to resource road infrastructure, standardizing valuation of resource road function to support budget priorities, and standardizing variables for use in projections of future wildfire hazards and how projections may be combined with current wildfire hazard ratings. Improved understanding about wildfire risks to resource roads is necessary to initiating effective adaptation actions and strategies that create resilience.
Innovative adaptations are needed to respond to increasing wildfire risks in British Columbia. This report reviews existing and potential adaptations for resource roads using approaches that include planned fuel management, proactive actions that protect infrastructure from oncoming wildfires, emergency firefighting, and considering post-wildfire risks. Following this review a discussion summarizes adaptation knowledge gaps that include a need for greater focus on stock management in fuel break design, evaluation and testing of existing and evolving adaptations to protect crossings, considering how road data can enhance reactionary and preplanned firefighting responses, and questioning if, and how, adaptations are appropriate in post-wildfire conditions. Improved understanding of adaptations that mitigate wildfire risks to resource roads can help identify options and strategies for project prioritization to enhance resilience.
The relative performance of various wildland fire suppressant products had previously been assessed using the Crib Test Methodology. This InfoNote presents an addition to the dataset wherein the performance of Barricade II, a Qualified Product List (QPL) approved water-enhancer product, is reviewed.