Infrared technology is widely used by Canadian wildfire management agencies to achieve wildfire suppression objectives. The use of infrared technology to identify smouldering woody material during the final stages of fire mop-up is most commonly conducted using helicopters equipped with infrared cameras. This report documents the use of an infrared camera by firefighters on the ground on two separate fires in Ontario. FPInnovations has completed several projects related to the use of infrared technology in identifying small, smouldering spots of burning organic material. This Ontario study is our first evaluation of handheld infrared cameras operated on the fireline by fire crews. The initial reaction to the project proposal was suggestion that widespread use of infrared technology on the ground would result in a reduction in cold trailing activities. This study found the use of an infrared camera on the fireline did not alter conventional cold trailing activities but generally complemented conventional patrol and mopup procedures by enabling firefighters to locate more hotspots earlier in the day. In part this study was initiated in response to improvements in infrared camera technology which have increased their applicability to ground patrol operations while reducing the camera acquisition and maintenance cost.
This project is a cooperative study between the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and FPInnovations.
This study identified footwear appropriate for Alberta wildland firefighters and assessed the need for protective toecaps on their footwear. Hazard and risk of foot injuries were assessed, and recommendations are made.
Wildfire is a natural phenomenon in Canada that threatens to destroy property and endanger lives. Wildfire agencies are tasked with reducing the threat of wildfire in the wildland-urban interface, which becomes a greater issue as more communities locate near or within forests or become more populated.
Forest fuel treatments that reduce or modify forest stands are the most common and effective methods to reduce wildfire danger around communities. However, convincing the public to support forest fuel treatments around their communities can be a challenge for wildfire managers. Understandably, communities want some assurance that what they are committing to will make a difference. One of the many benefits of forest fuel treatments is thought to be an increase in the effectiveness of wildfire operations.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry asked FPInnovations to evaluate the patented Trident Pump System developed by Younkers Wielding for the system's suitability for wildfire operations. This report summarizes the author's observations and thoughts.
The Forest Engineering Resarch institute of Canada (FERIC) surveyed off-highway, ground-based water delivery systems working in Alberta wildland fire operations to develop a recommended standard for these types of systems. This report contains information useful in the design and operation of mobile water delivery equipment in support of Alberta fire operations.
The provinces of Alberta and British Columbia requested FPInnovations- Feric to manage an independent evaluation of vendors interested in providing thermal infrared services during wildland fire operations. The evaluation was meant to determine a company’s ability to:
- meet criteria for detection and accuracy;
- produce and deliver products, both digital and hard copy, in standardized formats; and
- integrate multiple technologies in an optimal arrangement.
Feric consulted with experienced wildland fire operations staff and individuals knowledgeable in thermal imaging to establish an evaluation process that provides a consistent and reliable assessment of product performance and capability in a wildfire setting. It is intended that all rotary wing thermal infrared vendors will demonstrate their services in providing hotspot detection to the quality and standards stipulated by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (Alberta SRD) prior to commencing contract operations.
In May 2017 FPInnovations conducted an initial field assessment of a helicopter on-board system for mixing water-enhancing gel concentrate at Fort Vermillion. For this study, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry contracted a Bell 214B helicopter with on-board gel mixing capability. The helicopter company chose Firewall II gel and an Isolair external tank to meet the contract requirements.
This Info Note presents FPInnovations’ observations of the ability of the on-board mixing system to effectively mix Firewall II gel with water.
Innovation in hotspot target equipment used for Infrared (IR) testing reduces risks and logistical challenges. This InfoNote describes the development of a new hotspot prototype for use at the IR grid in Hinton, Alberta.
FPInnovations studied the effectiveness of sprinkler systems and aqueous gel for the protection of structures from wildfire. The study results may assist fire suppression personnel when making strategic decisions on wildland–urban interface fires. The time and resources required to set up the systems, water volumes used, structural damage, and structure temperatures were investigated.
FPInnovations performed two case studies in the Northwest Territories to evaluate the effectiveness of sprinkler systems and aqueous gel for the protection of structures from wildfire. This report presents the results from the second study. The study results may assist fire suppression personnel when making strategic decisions on wildland–urban interface fires. The time and resources required to set up the systems, water volumes used, structural damage from wildfire, and structure temperatures were investigated.