FPInnovations collaborated with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and other research agencies to conduct two experimental fires in mulched fuels under very high fire hazard conditions.
This study documented fire behaviour and compared it to other experimental fires in mulch fuel beds at other independent study sites. Documentation of fire behaviour in this novel fuel type can inform wildfire managers of potential fire behaviour and suppression challenges.
Current forest management policy in many jurisdictions in North America manages excess woody debris by piling and burning it, mainly as a post-harvest fire hazard abatement obligation. This study highlights three key points to consider regarding utilization and disposal of waste wood piles:
1) Allocate most woody debris waste to the biofuels sector in a cost-effective manner;
2) Allocate a small portion of woody debris (e.g. 10-15%) to implement windrow habitats where necessary to maintain mammalian biodiversity on clearcuts;
3) Limit burning of waste wood to those sites near human activity (potential fire hazard) that do not have an opportunity for biofuels or windrow purposes.