Evaluation of forest environments to assess fuel loading using conventional inventory methods is labour-intensive, time-consuming, and requires extensive training to be completed correctly. Fuels managers would like to apply simpler, less expensive fuel sampling methods and still maintain acceptable accuracy in fuel load measurements.
FPInnovations has explored different fuel sampling techniques that may be applicable to the forest stands of central British Columbia. The photoload sampling technique was deemed to be a valuable tool that can be enhanced to suitably represent the forest fuels in Interior Douglas-fir environments and can be adapted to other fuel environments with appropriate amendments.
The City of Quesnel, B.C. has applied an innovative selective harvesting technique in a mature Douglas-fir forest stand with the objectives of maintaining biodiversity and reducing fuel-load buildup and consequent wildfire threat. FPInnovations researchers monitored and documented the harvesting operations and measured machine productivity to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the operation.
To support the assessment of fuel-load reduction, FPInnovations’ Wildfire Operations group conducted pre- and post-harvest fuel-sampling activities to evaluate changes in forest fuel components.
The City of Quesnel has applied an innovative selective harvesting technique in a mature Douglas-fir forest stand with the objectives of maintaining biodiversity and reducing fuel-load buildup and consequent wildfire threat. FPInnovations researchers monitored and documented the harvesting operations and measured machine productivity to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the operation.
To support the assessment of fuel-load reduction, FPInnovations' Wildfire Operations group conducted fuel-sampling activities to produce a pre-harvest forest fuel inventory. The inventory data were converted to formats to be applied in two fuel-management tools: a photo guide of the pre-treatment fuel environment and a dataset that can be input to FuelCalBC
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.
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.