Timber harvest companies are looking for cost-effective methods for harvesting low value fibre. FPInnovations conducted a multi-faceted research project in the Nazko region to compare several operational aspects of two harvest methods: cut-to-length and conventional.
As part of this research project, FPInnovations’ wildfire group measured and assessed the harvest residue resulting from both harvest methods. With this information, we were able to evaluate potential fire behaviour in each of the harvest areas.
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.
Reduced surface evaporation rates are marketed as a competitive advantage by water-enhancer manufacturers. In this report, a new test method is developed and applied to quantify the evaporation rates of various commercially available water-enhancer products in a controlled environment. These quantified evaporation rates were then compared to the evaporation rate of water which served as the benchmark.
Forest fuels engineering is one of the primary wildfire mitigation strategies advocated by FireSmart™ Canada (Partners in Protection, 2003) and applied by partnering wildfire management agencies and industry operators. Over the past two decades, mechanical forest fuel treatments (including mulching) have been extensively applied in and around communities in the wildland-urban interface to mitigate the risk of wildfire. Fuel managers and fire operations managers would like to better understand how manual and mechanical fuel treatments modify fire behaviour.
Fuel treatment efficacy has been evaluated through post-wildfire case studies (Mooney, 2014; Pritchard et al., 2011), fire behaviour modelling (Fernandes, 2009; Stephens et al., 2009) and subjective expert opinion based approaches (Hayes et al., 2008). The use of experimental fire to evaluate the effectiveness of fuel treatments is limited.
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
Forest fuel treatments are applied across a broad range of ecosites in Alberta and Canada, with an overarching goal of managing hazardous fuel buildup to mitigate wildfire. These treatments use various manual and mechanical processes to achieve fuel treatment objectives. Planning and application of a specific forest fuel treatment technique is often shaped by several factors, including objectives of the fuel treatment, availability of resources (personnel and equipment), and commitment to using local resources (socio-economics). In addition, site conditions in certain ecosites will favour the application of some treatment techniques over others.
With the broad nature of numerous fuel treatment techniques applied over a wide range of environmental conditions, it is difficult to document all treatments and develop comparative productivity and cost evaluations. This summary of fuel treatment studies accesses current research to present relevant findings and identify knowledge gaps in research on stand-level fuel treatment productivity.
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.
Alberta helitorch has been in service for over 20 years, and based on helitorch life expectancy and the advancements in technology, Alberta wildfire management staff decided to explore design improvements and construction of a replacement helitorch prototype.
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.
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s (AAF) Wildfire Management Branch recently contracted two Sikorsky S-61N heavy helicopters. Both helicopters are equipped with an external tank (max. volume 1000 U.S. gallons) and have on-board injection systems that are capable of mixing class A foams and water-enhancers.
Currently, there is limited data on comparative drop footprints of foam and water-enhancers (suppressants) for these heavy helicopters. To fill this knowledge gap, AAF has asked FPInnovations to conduct drop tests in different wildland fuel environments. This study focuses on mapping the drop footprints of water, foam, and water-enhancers in black spruce stands at specific flight parameters.