ON-GOING RESEARCH 

Reducing Black Spruce Hazard through Fuels Engineering and Prescribed Fire

The goal of the proposed research is to determine if altering black spruce stand structure (fuel amendment) can be done to allow burning in moderate to low hazard conditions. The burn objective will be to remove enough canopy fine fuel to prevent future crown fires. As such the prescribed fire only needs to have enough intensity to burn off the needles and small twigs (less than .5 cm diameter), which is typical of a crown fire. Canada Wildfire has provided partial funding for equipment and knowledge exchange in support of this project.

CANFIRE Modeling

The CAN FIRE application models fire behaviour and fire effects at the stand level. Inventory plot data will be input into the CANFIRE application and compared with the outputs to both the Fire Behaviour Prediction (FBP) System outputs, and the post-fire inventory plot data. Based on the results, new fuel type specific consumption equations will be developed for use in the CANFIRE model. This project will also evaluate the feasibility of incorporating successional data and FireSmart data in the CANFIRE model to model succession, instead of using growth and yield curves (equations).

Analysis of the Conditions that Contributed to Past Blow-up Wildfires in Canada

This project will review the conditions that contributed to past blow-up wildfires not only in Alberta but across Canada.

Alberta Wildland Fuels Inventory Program: 10 year Data Summary and Anaylsis for Prescribed Fire and FireSmart Planning Applications

The primary objective of the proposed work is to support an evidence-based implementation of FireSmart and prescribe fire fuel treatments at multiple scales.

Analysis of Night Time Burning

This project will assess whether more spring night-time burning is occurring in Alberta.

Fire Ecology in Kootenay National Park Soils

The objective of this study is to characterize the effects of wildfire and prescribed fire on soil pyrogenic carbon content and organic matter thermal stability, as well as to investigate the soil microbial communities within the different fire site soils.

Landscape Fire Modelling

This project uses landscape fire modelling, and modelling comparisons, in order to understand the role of weather, climate (including climate change), vegetation, ignition, fuel management, and suppression in fire activity across Canada and around the world.

Alberta Fire Risk Analysis Using FIRETEC

The objectives of the Alberta fire risk analysis using FIRETEC project will be to develop data and expertise within Partnership members to use FIRETEC for the Canadian boreal forest (specifically Alberta) and to use FIRETEC to model fire behaviour within stands that are altered to reduce fuel hazard.

Automated Prediction of Extreme Fire Weather from Synoptic Patterns in Northern Alberta, Canada

Previously a computer program was developed to recognize large-scale atmospheric patterns leading to extreme fire weather in northern Alberta using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) methods mimicking processes in the human brain. This project will build upon this recent success by: 1) expanding the scope of research, using AI to predict extreme fire weather under various climate change scenarios, and 2) moving from theoretical research to the development of an Extreme Fire Weather AI Application for operational wildfire management.

Barriers to building FireSmart communities

The objective of this work is to determine what the barriers are to building FireSmart communities in Alberta are and how they can be overcome.

Pyrogenic Carbon Production

This study will examine pyrogenic carbon production in dead and down woody debris from three-tree species in Alberta.

Canada's Boreal Wildland-Society-Water Nexus: Risk Assessment and Adaptation Solutions

Develop a more effective risk analysis framework and adaptation solutions management tools. Adopting a new combined hydrological modelling and social-ecological systems (SES) solutions approach aiming to create a more resilient wildland-society-water nexus for our stakeholders and users in Canada’s boreal landscape.      

FireSmart Vegetation Management Decision Support Research

The primary objective of the work is to support an evidence-based implementation of vegetation management for community protection and wildfire risk reduction.

Exposures, prevention and health in wildland firefighting

Aiming to expand research Alberta and British Columbia combined wildland firefighting projects. To establish whether wildland firefighters have more chronic lung disease than others of the same age, gender and geographic area and whether, within the firefighter cohort, those with longer seasonal work have more chronic lung disease, accounting for age, sex, and smoking. To examine the nature and concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the breathing zone and on the skin of wildland firefighters and to evaluate the use of urinary 1-hydroxypyrene as a biomarker of exposure in field studies of wildland firefighters. To explore the acceptability and effectiveness of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and enhanced dermal hygiene to reduce hazardous exposures in wildland firefighters.

Barriers to FireSmart Development in Alberta

The purpose of this social science research project is to identify barriers to the integration of wildfire mitigation goals into municipal land use planning. Key research outputs will include a snapshot of municipal government policies and actions being taken to address wildfire hazards and risk in Alberta and recommendations for overcoming identified hurdles to a land use planning approach to wildfire mitigation.