Wildland Fire Operations Group Advisory Committee Meeting

CFS, Edmonton

March 31, 2005.




Marty Alexander                      Ray Ault                       Greg Baxter

Jeff Berry                                 Ken Birkett                  Pete Bothwell

Wally Born                               Mark Campbell            Marv Clark

Gary Dakin                               Con Dermott                Terry Dixon

Vince Eggleston                        Rex Hsieh                     Kris Johnson

Warren Kehr                            Terry Kennedy             Wally McCulloch

Pick Pederson                          Brent Schleppe             Dave Schroeder

Ted Szabo                                Alex Sinclair                 Rory Thompson

Kris VanderBurg                      Robin Woodward         Doug Burgis


0830 – Introductions


Minutes from last meeting (October 2004) approved – seconded by Con Dermott. Respell ‘Doug Higgins’ and add Marv Clark to attendees.


Alex Sinclair talked on current Membership stating it is a work in progress. Talks with BC Hydro regarding their potential membership – they are interested in linear disturbance and how the mountain pine beetle may influence fire behaviour along their lines. Alex also meeting with Manitoba and the Deputy Minister in Ontario. Alex stated that at the fall advisory meeting there may be 2 or 3 new members. Alex also asked if anyone new of any companies that could be approached for potential membership.


“Slow growth is our best option.”


Kris Johnson – Saskatchewan Forestry Centre Update.


Community Assessment Project – 105 communities assessed and a methodology established. Moodle site developed as a reference tool and contains community profiles (fire behaviour/ seasons included). Developed Hazard Abatement Teams.


Submitted 2 proposals (both approved) to the Forest Development Fund.


Aerial Ignition Device – a redesign taking place with the U of Saskatchewan. New design is  3x faster allowing 2 m spacing of ping-pong balls for line ignition. Includes positive-ejection so no ignited balls stay in system. Prototype built. Information is provided to industry.


Prevention DVD – pulled together old prevention messages for education purposes.


Q) BC asked if they could get info on the Moodle site.


Linear Disturbance – Greg Baxter


Six items discussed:

  1. Species flammability – working with the Alberta Research Council to establish plots of selected species to test for ignition probability and response to fire.
  2. Fuel loading – will collect grass samples from 4 regions of the province to develop a database and fuel load model of grass along linear disturbances. Data will be collected by a contract.
  3. Burning trials – more burns planned in mowed and unmowed plots this spring. These will be done in conjunction with SRD and industry. An Advantage Report will come from these this fall.
  4. Tall Timbers Conference – plans for a poster to be submitted for Conference. Poster will cover current work in this project.
  5. Development of a ‘fast-attack’ kit for fast response to ongoing fires containing linear disturbance.
  6. Fire break width – a fire weather analysis will be combined with a fire breaching model to determine the break width required for the 90th percentile fire occurring along linear disturbances.


Q) Are you planning long-term monitoring of fuel loads A) not initially – but this could be done as sites will be marked.


Thinning – Dave Schroeder


Prescribed burns planned at: Hoodoo Creek (Yoho), Meadowland Creek (Willmore), NWT and Calling Lake.


Deliverables – Ignition Probability Model, Testing of Prescriptions.


Q) what is spacing – A) varies by site.

Q) contact Riverside for alternatives to burning.

Comment – let advisory group know when burning windows are approaching.

Comment – Crown spacing methodology – contact P. Bothwell from CFS.


NWT – Ray Ault

 Rick Lanoville retires today (March 31) – he has been instrumental in the work completed to date at Fort Providence.


Work this year will include: burning plots, cabins, sprinklers, hose survivability, Wick100 pump testing, linear disturbance work, debris burning and log deck protection.


18 75x75 m plots will continue to be set up for various treatments. Plan to burn 3 plots at the same time. Work will continue this summer to ready these plots.


Workshop on Fireline Mechanisation – Greg Baxter


A summary of the workshop was presented. CD’s of all the presentations were made available to the Advisory Committee. These are also available on the WFORG website.


Comment – where to from here? This workshop brought up the idea of looking at new equipment that can be used on the fireline. It was a low priority from the group so to move on the group will have to vote for it.


Comment – should put together (on the website) a description of potential equipment and what they currently do and how they may be used on the fireline for use by fire managers when they request equipment.


Tank Systems – Ray Ault


Project is finally done!! Paper is out for review at this time. Report includes survey, recommendations and tech-transfer.


Q) is driver style or experience included?

Comment – could lift both ends in stability test to demonstrate the differences.

Comment – what is the liability if FERIC states a vehicle should not be driven over certain slopes? Will include a disclaimer.

Comment – How big an issue is stability? Believe it is business as usual. More emphasis should be on training the operators to increase their awareness of ground crews on the fireline. Could put together a short video on this for training purposes. This could be a ‘module’ for training skidder operators.


Smoke Detection – Dave Schroeder


Now an operational study. This season will have three towers each with two cameras. Operator will be based in Hinton at the HTC. Communications will be a low cost satellite which will be used only when something appears thus lowering costs. Capabilities will include a smoke database for training.


Deliverables will include a smoke database and Test results.


Q) Has any study taken place on fire size and fire weather indices?




IR Grid – Ray Ault


Project is driven from AB and BC. Many new companies entering field that is not controlled for quality. Have established a grid with 87 target sites of which some may be randomly chosen for each trial. These will be of different size and temperature. Will monitor acquisition to delivery time.


Pilot tests in April 2005.

Evaluation flights May 2005.

2006 RW evaluation.


Fuel Mixtures for Aerial Ignition Torches – Rory Thompson


This project is looking at mixing ratios for drip torches. More testing will occur during the spring and summer of 2005.


Safety Summit – Marty Alexander


Marty will be attending this Conference in Missoula in April of 2005. He will be presenting a poster on travel rates of firefighters (taken from the Advantage Reports). These posters will be presented in US units.


Log Deck Protection – Dave Schroeder


This project is investigating the best practices and new ideas for log deck protection. In 2005 sprinklers and chemicals will be tested. A Demonstration will take place at Vanderwells (Slave Lake) on April 26th.


Comment – should look at FWI indices and historic deck fires to develop a Red Flag system to alert of potential situations.


U of A Sprinkler Testing – Gary Dakin


Working with the U of A Mechanical Engineering Department to design an automatic system of setting off sprinklers when there is a fire. Three groups working on this and their reports are due April 6th. May be able to take the best ideas from each report and come up with a system.


Q) who owns the information? Each University has different ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ rules.

Comment – should provide the homeowner with instructions and the cost of the supplies required. Put together a homeowners kit.

Comment – is Mercedes Textiles and Wildfire involved? No – but other companies are.


S-64 Water Delivery – Rory Thompson


Rory presented his work and the group voted for him to get it out. Rory will finish his tables and then get the report out for review.


Comments – this is support action – are all the costs included? Should look at cost vs effectiveness.

Comments – are time and motion studies required? No – get report out now. Should have short guidelines on what piece of equipment should be used and where it is best suited. S-64 is an expensive way to deliver water – better suited for retardant.


Integrating Timber Management and FireSmart – Rory Thompson


A lot of FireSmart activity is planned in Alberta and this will affect the AAC of some companies. Will do case studies on 6-12 communities.

Q) Are you working along with FireSmart? Yes.


Prescribed Burn Fuel Loads – Marty Alexander


Marty is developing a simple methodology for measuring fuels where prescribed burns are to occur.


Will develop a methodology and then have it field tested during the summer and the reconvene the fuels group and fine tune the procedure. Methodologies will include surface fuels, tree data and grass.


Initial Attack Performance – Wally McCulloch


Project was changed to developing a checklist form to audit initial attack on fires. This has been completed.


Air Program - Wally McCulloch


This project includes:


Comment – should contact Bob Roth of the USFS in Boise re:devices


Closing Comments – Ray will contact all advisory members for new project ideas by August.


Next Meeting – Thursday October 6th at the CFS in Edmonton. Will contact group if any conflicts with the room.



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