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.
This study focuses on evaluating the relative performance of different commercially available wildland fire chemicals using a custom-built sensible enthalpy rise calorimeter, known as the ‘Thermal Canister.’ Six different fire chemicals were evaluated in this study: Blazetamer 380, AquaGel-K, Firewall II, WD 881C, Thermo-Gel 200 L, and FireIce 561. The evaluation of the relative performance of the fire chemicals was conducted by using the average heat release rate as the primary metric.
It was found that under the test conditions, Thermo-Gel 200L at 3% concentration and FireIce 561 at 1.4% concentration were the most effective at suppressing combustion. The fire chemicals that were least effective at suppressing combustion were Firewall II at 0.25% and 2% concentration and WD 881C at 0.1%, 0.3%, and 1% concentrations. The study also found that certain fire chemicals such as AquaGel-K and FireIce 561 at their highest approved mix ratios were too viscous to be applied and may prove to be challenging to use for firefighting operations.
Data from this study will be used in the Wildfire Chemical Roadmap, where results from multiple tests will help assess the effectiveness and cost of using gels.
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.
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.
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.