To conduct our study on the effectiveness of an underburning treatment against crown fire, we chose to use an old test plot that had been created in 2005 by Dr. Martin E. Alexander at the Canadian Boreal FireSmart Community Project site near Fort Providence, NT. Dr. Alexander had constructed a 75 m x 75 m test plot, which he had divided into four sections (Figure 1). In the two treated sections, Dr. Alexander had the dead and down woody debris and the standing dead stems removed, and the flaky bark scrapped off the live stems up to a height of 2 m. He then subjected these two “cleaned” sections to a light surface burn. The two control sections had been left untouched.
To prepare this old test plot for our 2013 study, we subjected all four sections to a light surface burn, i.e. an underburn treatment. During this prep work, we saw some obvious differences in fuel load and fire behaviour between the eight-year-old treatments and the controls. This paper summarizes those differences.