An important characteristic of the majority of the water-enhancing products on the wildfire suppression market is their ability to increase the viscosity of water. This increase in viscosity is linked to their performance. While performance of these products is key, there are several external variables that can influence how these suppressants physically behave. One such external variable is water quality, which is anecdotally known to impact water-enhancing products.
This study aimed to understand how water quality—in particular, hardness—affects the viscosity of various water-enhancing products at different mix ratios. Understanding how water quality affects the viscosity of these products can offer insight into (1) which products are highly sensitive to water quality changes, and (2) how the target viscosity of a mixed product can be affected by water quality.
The Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AFF) Wildfire Management Branch Ignition Specialists Working Group has endorsed a collaborative project to develop a redesigned helitorch. The goal of this project is to have an acceptable and proven replacement helitorch based on extensive testing.
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.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) asked FPInnovations to conduct a field trial of two heavy helicopters that had recently been installed with on-board injection and mixing systems. The study focussed on determining the accuracy and reproducibility of these systems to produce effectively mixed water-enhancers for aerial delivery during wildfire suppression operations.
These field trials were conducted north of Slave Lake, Alta. in June 2020. This report discusses the background, methodology, and outcomes of this equipment validation test.
A fuel amendment treatment is proposed as a technique that can allow prescribed burning in hazardous fuels during low to moderate fire hazard conditions to minimize the risk of fire escape. In August 2017, a fuel amendment technique was applied at the Fort Providence Wildfire Experimental Site. In October 2019, a burn trial was conducted in a plot treated with the fuel amendment technique and fire spread to adjacent fuels was documented. Future documentation at this site will include assessing crown mortality to determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
These concealed or void space cases require installation of elements which represent additional material cost and labour. For wood buildings that rely heavily on prefabrication, these steps can have a significant impact on scheduling. Removing dependence on concrete and gypsum board in certain applications could make wood buildings more cost competitive to similar buildings of steel and concrete and could further enhance the benefits of prefabricated construction.
Currently, mass timber building designs commonly incorporate a concrete floor topping. This can improve building accoustics by increasing the mass of the assembly, reduce floor vibration and create a smooth flat surface to install finish flooring on. The installation of concrete requires formwork, pouring and finishing the concrete and time to cure which adds to project schedules. One way to address this is to use mass timber elements that are prefabricated with concrete toppings preinstalled. Replaceing the concrete floor toppings wiht dry alternatives, such as cement board, may also reduce construction timelines, while still ensuring adequate acoustic and vibration performance. Cement board needs only to be screwed in place and can be walked on immediately after installation; this reduction in construction time may reduce overall project costs and help make wood buildings more cost competitive than other types of construction.
Mulching is a common method of fuel treatment. However, it is not currently listed by the U.S. Forest Service as a fuel type in its recommendations for fire retardant coverage levels. FPInnovations researchers set up plots with different coverage levels of retardant on a mulch fuel bed and collected fire behaviour data when a fire interacted with these plots. The results are intended to help wildfire agencies understand the effectiveness of retardant on mulch fuels in developing better suppression plans.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) has asked FPInnovations to investigate current information and knowledge for bridge fire impact mitigation opportunities and strategies.
The extent of the investigation includes reaching out to domestic and international contacts to find directly applicable information and literature on strategies to mitigate fire impacts to bridge structures. This will include review of academic journals and reports, products and methods, to find
Data was collected within a burned out area on a steep mountain slope as part of FPInnovations’s Survival Zone project. The fire was a prescribed burn carried out by Parks Canada in Jasper National Park. The data collected shows that in this one instance, that temperatures and heat flux values fell within survivable range for firefighters wearing PPE. This report does not condone firefighters above a fire on a steep slope, but rather this PB was used as a data collecting opportunity.