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ENVIRONMENT. Millar Western Detailed Forest Management Plan Moving Towards Fire-Smart Forest Management. Kelvin Hirsch and Victor Kafka Canadian Forest Service. Natural Resources Canada Ressources naturelles Canada Canadian Forest Service Service canadien des for ê ts.
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ENVIRONMENT Millar Western Detailed Forest Management Plan Moving Towards Fire-Smart Forest Management Kelvin Hirsch and Victor Kafka Canadian Forest Service Natural Resources Canada Ressources naturelles CanadaCanadian Forest Service Service canadien des forêts
Presentation Outline 1. Background information 2. Concept of fire-smart forest management 3. Round 1 assessments 4. Creating and evaluating fire-smart landscapes 5. Where to from here?
Wildfires are a natural component of all boreal forest ecosystems and have played a major role in forming and maintaining: • ecosystem health • biodiversity • landscape patterns
Fire can be positive or negative depending on the land and resource management objectives. • Detrimental effects on: • timber supply • communities • Beneficial impacts on: • wildlife habitat • forest health
Frequent, small, low intensity surface fires Infrequent, large, high intensity, crown fires Fire Regime in Northcentral Alberta
It is neither economically possible nor ecologically desirable to eliminate fire from the ecosystem. • Forest management involves risk • Short-term socioeconomic impacts of fire • Longer-term ecological impacts of no-fire • Pro-active steps can be taken to reduce the potential for unwanted fire and increase opportunities for desirable fire.
Fire-Smart Forest Management: The Concept
Minimize Area Burned Forest Mgt Fire Mgt • site preparation • regeneration • stand tending • harvest scheduling • block layout and design • roads • prevention • suppression Fire-Forestry Relationship Under Sustained Yield Maximize Fibre Production
Fire-Smart Sustainable Forest Management GOAL: Create landscapes that are less prone to catastrophic wildfire but suitable for extensive use of prescribed fire Working with nature to determine where and when to put/allow fire on the landscape while minimizing short- and long-term risk
Fire-Smart Sustainable Forest Management • Requires: • understanding of the historic role and ecological importance of fire • altering forest management planning and operations to • reduce ignition potential, • reduce fire behaviour potential, • increase suppression capability • creating opportunities for the use of prescribed fire by minimizing the risk of escape
Ignition potential • Suppression capability Number of escape fires Forest Mgt • site preparation • regeneration • stand tending • harvest scheduling • block layout and design • roads Area Burned Fire behaviour potential Fuels Fire-Smart Sustainable Forest Management Weather Topography
Understanding the Historic Role of Fire and the Future Potential for Fire • Ignition Potential • historic fire patterns • fire incidence • Fire behaviour potential • fuels • weather • topography • Suppression capability • Values-at-risk
FIRE BEHAVIOUR POTENTIAL FOREST FUELS Fuel types (and flammability) Spruce-lichen woodland (moderate) Boreal spruce (high) Mature jack or lodgepole pine (moderate) Immature jack or lodgepole pine (high) Aspen (very low) Boreal mixedwood (30% D) (moderate) Boreal mixedwood (50% D) (low-moderate) No data or fuel Grass (moderate-high) Ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir (low-moderate)
Fire Assessment of Round 1 Scenarios • Four Alternatives • Business as Usual • Adjusted Spatial Pattern • no limit on cutblock size, no species conversion • Intensive Two Pass • limits on cutblock size, species conversion • Enhanced Timber Production • no limit on cutblock size, species conversion
Fire Assessment of Round 1 Scenarios • General Observations • None of the alternatives significantly reduces the fire behaviour potential on the FMA • all have large components of C-2/C-4 fuel types (boreal spruce and immature pine) and have a reduction in D-1(aspen) over time • all have large amounts of grass which will create a spring/fall fire season • none have strategically located fuel changes that would limit multi-day fire spread
Business as Usual Scenario • Creates many small blocks but they are not large enough to influence fire spread • Widespread distribution of age classes over the FMA which may soften the impact of a future large fire on timber supply BAU 2198
Adjusted Spatial Pattern • Creates large cutovers which become large continuous blocks of homogeneous fuel • Mixedwood composition remains intact but further modification is needed ASP 2098
Intensive Two Pass • Similar block pattern as BAU • Significant reduction in mixedwoods leads to even more continuity of coniferous fuels • Effects of thinning on fuel type is evident but it is not strategically located on the landscape I2P 2098
Enhanced Timber Production • Similar block pattern as ASP • Significant reduction in mixedwoods leads to even more continuity of coniferous fuels • Effects of thinning on fuel type is evident but it is not strategically located on the landscape ETP 2148
Insights from the Round 1 Assessments 1. Spatially conscious fuels conversion and reduction is required to create “fire doors” and reduce the large fire spread potential. 2. Fuel changes/breaks must be large enough to slow forward fire spread (1 to 5 km in width). 3. Must break the historic large fire pattern resulting from runs in a NW/SE direction. 4. In deciduous dominated areas there may be an opportunity for the introduction of more conifer/mixedwood blocks to offset deciduous and mixedwood fuel breaks in conifer areas.
CREATING AND EVALUATING FIRE-SMART LANDSCAPES
FUTURE WORK • 1. More comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of fire-smart forest management at reducing the potential for large fires • 2. Quantifying the impact and/or return on investment from fire-smart forest management • -timber supply, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, (others?) • 3. Techniques for the spatial and temporal optimization of barriers to fire spread. • 4. Develop burn probability maps and evaluate the likelihood of “company ending events”.
ENVIRONMENT Time for Questions Natural Resources Canada Ressources naturelles CanadaCanadian Forest Service Service canadien des forêts