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Article

Recent Crown Thinning in a Boreal Black Spruce Forest Does Not Reduce Spread Rate nor Total Fuel Consumption: Results from an Experimental Crown Fire in Alberta, Canada

1
Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Canada
2
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Wildfire Management Branch, Government of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Canada
3
School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
4
FPInnovations Wildfire Operations Research Group, Edmonton, AB T6H 3S5, Canada
5
Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
6
Department of Forestry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1A1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2020 / Revised: 1 July 2020 / Accepted: 6 July 2020 / Published: 9 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Boreal Fire-Fuels Interactions)
A 3.6 ha experimental fire was conducted in a black spruce peatland forest that had undergone thinning the year prior. After 50 m of spread in a natural stand at 35–60 m min−1, the crown fire (43,000 kW m−1 intensity using Byram’s method) encountered the 50% stem removal treatment; spread rates in the treatment were 50–60 m min−1. Fuel consumption in the control (2.75 kg m−2) was comparable to the treatment (2.35 kg m−2). Proxy measurements of fire intensity using in-stand heat flux sensors as well as photogrammetric flame heights had detected intensity reductions to 30–40% of the control. Crown fuel load reductions (compensated by higher surface fuel load) appear to be the most significant contributor to the decline in intensity, despite drier surface fuels in the treatment. The burn depth of 5 cm in moss and organic soil did not differ between control and treatment. These observations point to the limited effectiveness (likely reductions in crown fire intensity but not spread rate) of stem removal in boreal black spruce fuel types with high stem density, low crown base height and high surface fuel load. The observed fire behaviour impacts differ from drier conifer forests across North America. View Full-Text
Keywords: fire behaviour; boreal; crown fire; fuel treatment; thinning; black spruce fire behaviour; boreal; crown fire; fuel treatment; thinning; black spruce
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    Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3745537
    Link: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3745537
    Description: Geospatial information (fuels, fire location, etc) and weather station records for the experimental fire.
MDPI and ACS Style

Thompson, D.K.; Schroeder, D.; Wilkinson, S.L.; Barber, Q.; Baxter, G.; Cameron, H.; Hsieh, R.; Marshall, G.; Moore, B.; Refai, R.; Rodell, C.; Schiks, T.; Verkaik, G.J.; Zerb, J. Recent Crown Thinning in a Boreal Black Spruce Forest Does Not Reduce Spread Rate nor Total Fuel Consumption: Results from an Experimental Crown Fire in Alberta, Canada. Fire 2020, 3, 28. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3030028

AMA Style

Thompson DK, Schroeder D, Wilkinson SL, Barber Q, Baxter G, Cameron H, Hsieh R, Marshall G, Moore B, Refai R, Rodell C, Schiks T, Verkaik GJ, Zerb J. Recent Crown Thinning in a Boreal Black Spruce Forest Does Not Reduce Spread Rate nor Total Fuel Consumption: Results from an Experimental Crown Fire in Alberta, Canada. Fire. 2020; 3(3):28. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3030028

Chicago/Turabian Style

Thompson, Dan K., Dave Schroeder, Sophie L. Wilkinson, Quinn Barber, Greg Baxter, Hilary Cameron, Rex Hsieh, Ginny Marshall, Brett Moore, Razim Refai, Chris Rodell, Tom Schiks, Gregory J. Verkaik, and Jessica Zerb. 2020. "Recent Crown Thinning in a Boreal Black Spruce Forest Does Not Reduce Spread Rate nor Total Fuel Consumption: Results from an Experimental Crown Fire in Alberta, Canada" Fire 3, no. 3: 28. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire3030028

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