The purpose of the MacLean Creek trials (2012) was to begin to understand how slash fuel loading affects fire behaviour and specifically to address the question of ‘ how much slash loading is too much’ in terms of the hazard it poses to fire containment. This issue will continue to be investigated, this time in a harvest block west of Edson.
Wildfire managers are concerned about the potential fire hazard in cutblocks containing scattered woody debris (i.e., slash). Fires in slash, especially recent cuts with good needle retention, tend to be slow moving and intense. Suppressing these fires can be difficult, and out-of-control slash fires can quickly spread to adjacent forests and other values.
In 2012, FPInnovations and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) launched a study to determine what an acceptable fuel load is in cutblocks where harvesters scatter woody debris. The study aims to answer two questions: (1) How much woody debris can be left in cutblock before it becomes an extreme fire hazard? (2) To contain a fire in harvest debris, what resources need to be dispatched given the fuel load and weather conditions.
The project was suspend by the advisory group in 2021. Please contact Greg Baxter for details.