Decreasing average wildfire size through random fuel treatments: A boreal forest case study.
Vojtek, Stacey Lynn
MetadataShow full item record
Area burned in boreal forests is increasing due to climate change effects and regional increases in fuels due to a history of successful fire suppression. An increase in area burned threatens valuable resources and infrastructure in timber resources areas and communities. The ecological integrity of protected areas may also be threatened if fires increase in frequency and size beyond what would have occurred prior to effective fire suppression and the effects of climate change. Fuel management is one strategy being tested by fire management agencies and researchers to address these concerns. However the pattern of fuel management that best regulates area burned has yet to be determined. This thesis investigates random fragmentation of highly flammable fuels in the boreal forests of North-western Ontario. A case study of Quetico Provincial Park is used. Using the fire growth simulation model, Prometheus, I tested whether, under extreme fire behaviour conditions, fuel isolation (FI) and fuel conversion (FC) were effective at reducing average area burned in the park. Through the simulation of over 21,000 large fires, I determined that FI and FC are effective in significantly reducing area burned for this case study. Based on these findings, random FI and FC should be studied further on a regional basis and as a prescriptive, proactive method of reducing area burned in boreal forests.