Mulching forest vegetation is a common forest fuel treatment used in the wildland-urban interface. Mulching redistributes surface, ladder, and aerial fuels into a compact surface layer, and some studies have suggested that this reduces the potential for active crown fire (Battaglia et al. 2010, Kreye et al. 2011).
Even though forest fuel managers with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) have conducted numerous mulch treatments in the Slave Lake region over the past decade, much remains unknown about mulch treatments. In 2014, ESRD wanted to place a mulching treatment adjacent to the town of Slave Lake to mitigate the risk of wildfire to that community. ESRD managers and FPInnovations researchers realized that this would be a good opportunity to create the Slave Lake Mulch Research Area; an area that, in addition to offering protection for the community of Slave Lake, would provide a venue for ongoing studies on mulch treatments. Working with ESRD fuels managers and an experienced consultant, we developed various treatment prescriptions. We then monitored operations to evaluate the different treatment types and the different equipment types.