This review explores the benefits, challenges, limitations, logistics, and cost-effectiveness of different management options to convert conifer-dominated stands to aspen-dominated stands. These alternatives can include overstory removal (harvesting, bulldozing, shear blading, prescribed burning) and site preparation (root trenching, drag scarification, broadcast burning) treatments. On sites where parent aspen trees are not present in the original stand, tree planting will be necessary albeit costly in comparison to regeneration by suckering. While extensive literature exists on the regeneration of trembling aspen through suckering, research on artificial establishment with seedlings and its requirements is still in its infancy and rapidly developing.
The clean air initiative led by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment seeks to develop innovative methods to improve community air quality by utilizing harvest residues and minimizing the volume of fibre burned at roadside. Retaining processed tops as roadside oriented piles is proposed as an alternative to burning debris.
These burn trials have demonstrated that in this unique arrangement of fuels and interaction of site-specific variables, particular areas of the piles will be more vulnerable to ignition sources which can lead to sustained burning and high intensity fire behaviour. In addition to the low fuel moisture conditions, other fuel properties, such as the close proximity of piles, high volume of fine fuels (branches and needles) and orientation of piles to road all contributed to enhanced burning at this site.
FPInnovations investigated the possibility of collecting real time temperature-altitude data that could be used to determine the stability of the atmosphere. Unstable atmospheric conditions have been associated with erratic and extreme fire behaviour. An increased awareness of atmospheric stability conditions would provide fire managers an additional tool to plan firefighting activities. A firefighting aircraft with a specific sensor was sourced and two years of data was collected and analysed to determine if temperature profiles could be built using the data. Results show the data was sufficiently accurate and was collected at a frequency where temperature lapse rates can be calculated, and the stability of the atmosphere in the area of a fire could be determined.
The ongoing evolution of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPASs) with recent advances in micro-sensors and imaging software has the potential to enhance the delivery of infrared imaging services for wildfire operations. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of these aircraft will aid wildfire managers in selecting appropriate RPAS platforms as another "tool in the toolbox" for hotspot detection missions on wildfires.
In October 2018, FPInnovations conducted burn trials to evaluate and compare the ignition potential and potential fire behaviour in two different configurations of piled harvest residuals. Continued collaborations in 2019 with Mosaic Forest Management and British Columbia Wildfire Service identified and developed a potential prescribed fire site that would allow ignition of harvest debris piled in an oriented configuration to evaluate fire behaviour during a period of higher fire hazard conditions.
FPInnovations collaborated with BC Timber Sales and Hummingbird Drones, a company with expertise in wildfire hotspot detection, to explore the use of a DJI Inspire 1 Pro remotely piloted aircraft system equipped with a thermal sensor as a hotspot detection tool.