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Prescribed burning case study : evaluating the success of using prescribed fire for the restoration of… Francis, Emily Apr 8, 2013

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   Prescribed Burning Case Study: Evaluating the success of using prescribed fire for the restoration of Douglas-fir grasslands Banff National Park  Emily Francis 4/8/2013    2  Executive Summary Prescribed burning has a variety of uses throughout the forest industry.  It is utilized as a tool within parks as well as within industry.  There are many steps to planning and implementing a prescribed burning program in order to effectively achieve goals while preventing adverse results and keeping the entire program safe.  Many pre-burn steps must be completed before moving towards the burning stage.  Prescribed burning implementation is a lengthy process and includes numerous resources and personnel.  Before burning occurs, managers follow a series of steps as a tool to mitigate risks and safety issues and to attempt to achieve the set goals and objectives of the project.  Without proper planning, prescribed burning would not be a viable tool within the forestry sector. Within Parks Canada, prescribed burning is widely used for a number of reasons including habitat enhancement, restoration, and research.  In 2003 a prescribed burn was completed with a variety of pre-treatments and ignition methods.  The goal of the program was to evaluate how effective prescribed burning was in restoring Douglas Fir forests within Banff National Park.  The prescribed burn evaluated a number of plots immediately after burning in 2004 to see which treatments and ignition methods had the most survival in the overstory of Douglas-fir.  In order to look at the midterm fire effects, the study was revisited in 2011 and information was gathered again.  By reviewing the project a second time, lag effects could be seen as well as changes in patterns between the post fire and the midterm. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the planning process associated with implementing a prescribed burn.  As a secondary objective, analysis and evaluation of data from a prescribed burn is presented.  Conclusions and results from these findings as well as comparison from earlier data is also completed.     3  Table Contents Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................. 2 Index of Figures ....................................................................................................................................... 4 Index of Tables ........................................................................................................................................ 5 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 6 What is Prescribed Burning and Who Uses It? ...................................................................................... 6 What are some of the reasons for Prescribed Burning? ....................................................................... 6 Hazard Reduction ............................................................................................................................ 7 Silviculture ....................................................................................................................................... 7 Wildlife Habitat Enhancement ......................................................................................................... 7 Other Uses ....................................................................................................................................... 8 Implementation of a Prescribed Burn ...................................................................................................... 8 Before The Burn (Preparation) ............................................................................................................. 9 Prepare A Full Burn Plan .................................................................................................................. 9 Safety preparedness ...................................................................................................................... 12 Fuel management .......................................................................................................................... 12 Prescribed burning techniques ....................................................................................................... 13 Ignition patterns ............................................................................................................................ 13 Methods of control ........................................................................................................................ 16 Smoke management ...................................................................................................................... 18 Case Study: Banff National Park ............................................................................................................. 19 Objectives ......................................................................................................................................... 19 Methods ............................................................................................................................................ 19 Results ............................................................................................................................................... 23 Effects of Fuel Treatments on Tree Survival ....................................................................................... 23 Effects of Different Ignition Types on Tree Survival ............................................................................ 26 Discussion ............................................................................................................................................. 34 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................. 35 References ............................................................................................................................................ 36    4  Index of Figures Figure 1 - Fire Complexity portion of burn plan template ....................................................................... 10 Figure 2 - Go-No-Go Checklist ................................................................................................................ 11 Figure 3 - Example of Burn Plan map ..................................................................................................... 12 Figure 4 - Backing Fire ........................................................................................................................... 14 Figure 5 - Heading Fire ........................................................................................................................... 14 Figure 6 - Flanking fire ........................................................................................................................... 15 Figure 7 - Grid or point source fire ......................................................................................................... 15 Figure 8 - Center or ring fire .................................................................................................................. 16 Figure 9 - Prescribed Burn Plan .............................................................................................................. 17 Figure 10 - Field Data Sheet for Calculating Composite Burn Index ........................................................ 22 Figure 11 - Field Data Sheet for Calculating Composite Burn Index ........................................................ 22 Figure 12 ? Effects of fuel treatments on all trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for each fuel treatment type, regardless of the ignition methods.  All tree species were included. .............. 23 Figure 13 ? Effects of fuel treatments on Douglas-fir trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for each fuel treatment type, regardless of the ignition type.  Only Douglas-fir trees are included. ............................................................................................................................................... 24 Figure 14 ? Effects of fuel treatments on Lodgepole pine trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for each fuel treatment type, regardless of ignition type.  Only Lodgepole pine trees are included. ............................................................................................................................................... 25 Figure 15 ? Effect of ignition method and fuel treatments on all trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for the different ignition methods, while differentiation plots with no fuel treatment from plots with fuel treatment (all types of fuel treatment combined).  All tree species were included. 26 Figure 16 ? Effect of ignition method and fuel treatments on Douglas-fir trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for the different ignition methods, while differentiation plots with no fuel treatment from plots with fuel treatment (all types of fuel treatment combined).  All tree species were included. ............................................................................................................................................... 27 Figure 17 ? Effect of ignition method and fuel treatments on Lodgepole pine trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for the different ignition methods, while differentiation plots with no fuel treatment from plots with fuel treatment (all types of fuel treatment combined).  Lodgepole pine trees are only included. .................................................................................................................................. 28 Figure 18 - Effect of fuel treatments on tree survival in plots ignited by wildfire.  All tree species were included. ............................................................................................................................................... 29 Figure 19 - Effect of fuel treatments on tree survival in plots ignited by handlighting.  All tree species were included........................................................................................................................................ 30 Figure 20 - Summary graph of all ignition methods and treatments types.  All tree species were included............................................................................................................................................................... 31 Figure 22 ? Composite burn index comparison across all treatment types ............................................. 32 Figure 23 ? Composite burn index comparison across all ignition types and treatments ........................ 33 5  Index of Tables Table 1 - Summary of Fuel Treatment Types and Number of Plots within Each ...................................... 20 Table 2 - Summary of Ignition Method and Number of Plots within Each ............................................... 20 Table 3 - Summary of Fuel Treatment Type, Ignition Type, and Number of Plots within Each ................. 21            6  Introduction Prescribed burning within Canada has historically taken place for a number of reasons and continues to be utilized in our forested landscape within protected park areas and within industry.  This type of tool has many benefits but suffers from high risk for reward gained and reliance on certain weather conditions and site conditions to be safe and effective.  The actual implementation of a prescribed burn is a timely process and requires extensive work within a team environment to be completed successfully and safely.  In this report, the implementation process for a prescribed burn will be explained along with data analysis for a case study of a prescribed burn in Banff National Park. What is Prescribed Burning and Who Uses It? Prescribed burning may carry numerous definitions but for the purpose of this report we will describe a prescribed burn as ?a fire that is set in a specific area, under pre-determined conditions for certain management purposes? (Blackwell, 2012).  There are many different uses of prescribed burning ranging from reducing wildfire risks to enhancing vegetation.  A number of different groups may use prescribed burning as a tool in their particular sector.  Within this report, the focus will be on the forestry sector and the act of knowingly applying fire to a landscape to achieve a specific goal.  Prescribed burning is extensively used within the wildfire fighting sector of forestry as a tool to attempt to fight fire with fire.  Large forestry companies also utilize fire each fall as a tool to eliminate piles of debris in a clearing technique towards replanting and to minimise fuel buildup for wildfires. (Blackwell, 2012) Prescribed burning poses many risks and provides a challenge for forest managers in trying to utilize such an important tool towards historic ecosystem conditions and processes.  Many areas are fire dependent to some extent but with fire suppression these ecosystems are not able to experience their natural conditions.  Prescribed burning is an option for managers to consider in fire management to attempt to bring sites back closer to natural settings.  Many goals and objectives can be attained with prescribed burning when implemented effectively.  Ecosystems can be introduced again to their natural regimes around fire on the landscape.  (Grant, 2007) Ecosystems with a dependence on fire are very common within North America.  Many different components impact how vegetation responds to fire on the landscape after a burn.  Prescribed burns have to be effectively planned to look at these factors in order to be successful.  Components include fire behaviour, length of burn, as well as the pattern of how the fire burns and takes in the fuels within the area.  Depending on goals and objectives around wildlife or habitat, these factors can be planned for and prescribed burn programs can be catered to achieve them.  (Brose, 2000) What are some of the reasons for Prescribed Burning? Prescribed burning can be used for a number of reasons.  Depending on the sector whether it be agriculture or forestry the use of fire will achieve various objectives.  Specific to forestry, the use of fire has been used to reduce hazards, silviculture, wildlife habitat enhancement, along with a number of other uses not as widespread. (Taylor and Weber, 1992)   7  Hazard Reduction One of the most widely applied uses of prescribed burning is to reduce the hazards of wildfire on the landscape (Taylor and Weber, 1992).  By using fire to reduce risk of hazards occurring it refers to removing or minimizing the amount of fuel present on a landscape.  Fuels can be both live and dead within the forested landscape.  By minimizing these fuels it brings the risk of fire down as well.  These methods will also keep the rate of spread down by reducing fuel connections within the landscape and providing breaks to hinder movement of fire.  This use of prescribed burning can apply to wildland urban interfaces where the forest is located nearby to resources or infrastructure.  These types of fires would be used to keep risk down and to protect the urban areas.  Within industrial forestry, large amounts of logging debris and waste are created by operations.  Prescribed burning of debris piles or broadcast of blocks reduces wildfire risks for the company involved and is required through legislation as well.  It is required within the legislation to perform hazard abatement which includes prescribed burning of slash as one viable option. (Taylor and Weber, 1992) Silviculture The second use of prescribed burning within Canada is related to silviculture activities, specifically site preparation.  Using prescribed burning as a tool for site preparation is very effective in preparing the site for artificial planting or natural regeneration situations.  With a prescribed burn, a number of site conditions are altered in order to improve the environment for regeneration.  Site characteristics include the creation of a seedbed that is appropriate for planting or natural regeneration.  This is achieved by taking the organic layers off the site through the use of fire or by reducing the layers.  Next, the access to the site is greatly enhanced by the elimination of slash on the site which reduces planting costs and improves safety as well.  Prescribed burning can also be effective in creating more plantable spots or microsites which can lead to better planting and growing conditions for seedlings.  The use of fire can also be useful in dealing with vegetation competition with seedlings and crop trees.  Prescribed burning can reduce or completely eliminate the vegetation opposition growing in and around standing timber as well as in open cutblocks.  (Taylor and Weber, 1992) Another success factor achieved through prescribed burning is access for further treatments.  With the use of fire, access can be improved for other site prep treatments or herbicide treatments.  In regards to the specific soil characteristics and regimes, the conditions can be greatly improved immediately after fire treatments have been applied.  In certain site conditions and locations, prescribed burning can also be effective in rehabilitating a site that was previously not satisfactorily stocked.  Fire can produce more vegetation and growth responses after burning which creates good growing conditions for seedlings.  (Taylor and Weber, 1992) Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Habitat improvements and enhancements can be completed with the assistance of prescribed burning.  Specifically, changes to the environment in order to advance the landscape for wildlife can be directly related to the use of fire.  Fire has been an important part of many disturbance regimes for vegetation types within Canada.  Habitats originally created by natural fire patterns as well as those that are maintained on a time scale by fire are widespread for a number of wildlife species.  With prescribed burning, the habitat can be improved in a number of ways.  First, food supply can be increased due to a 8  stimulus in certain species and nutrients as well as a preservation of other species and communities.  Along with these positive effects and changes there can also be conversion of certain species mixes towards a more desirable outlook for specific wildlife users.  Cover conditions within the forest can also be affected and changes may occur within a prescribed burn project.  When speaking about wildlife habitat enhancement, most of the prescribed burning projects are focused on improving browse for a number of ungulate species.  For example, deer and moose would greatly benefit from increased forage in post fire conditions. (Taylor and Weber, 1992) Many studies have been completed around the changes that occur when fire is introduced on a landscape and the habitat improvements that can occur.  Some species are adversely affected by prescribed burning while others thrive on the new environment.  Depending on fire conditions, severity, and ignition types, there can be varying degrees of improvement for wildlife habitat.  Fires create a higher abundance of food sources through vegetation and are more exposed and open as compared to unburned areas.  This attracts many animals to burned areas to forage.  Prescribed burning can be used effectively to improve habitat conditions for many wildlife species.  (Lyon, 2000) Other Uses Apart from the above uses there are a number of other reasons for applying prescribed burns to a forested landscape.  Research is a very important use of prescribed burning to learn more about how various tree species respond to fire, how landscapes respond to fire, among other reasons.  With the use of fire for research purposes there can be significant positive results in attempting to find out more about fire weather, fire behaviour, and various other fire characteristics.  Pest control and management is a use of prescribed fire that is not widely implemented at this time.  It can be seen in various examples such as Dutch Elm disease as an effective tool but as of yet has not been widely applied at larger scales.  From a cultural standpoint, fire has historically been utilized within a number of aboriginal groups for various reasons.  By looking into certain cultures within Canada it can be seen that fire plays a large part in the history of many aboriginal groups. (Taylor and Weber, 1992) The use of prescribed burning can be a very effective training tool for fire fighters.  Wildfire fighters can benefit greatly from being placed in a controlled situation where they can gain experience without facing the stressed time constraints from a real fire.  By using this type of outdoor classroom it provides the fire fighters with necessary knowledge and technical skills to apply to fires in the future.  Fire can be a very useful tool in preparing potential firefighters and maintaining skills for others in order to be ready for wildfires when they occur. (Blackwell, 2012) Implementation of a Prescribed Burn When considering the implementation of a prescribed burn, many steps need to take place in order to achieve objectives and mitigate any risks associated with the project.  Planning is a critical component to a prescribed burn program.  Many resources need to be consulted and considered prior to the burn taking place.  (Elmore, 1996)  9  Before The Burn (Preparation) Before implementing a prescribed burn there are a number of preparation activities that need to be completed.  The three main requirements prior to burning include the preparation of a full burn plan, safety preparedness, and fuel management. (Blackwell, 2012) Prepare A Full Burn Plan The creation of an extensive burn plan will ensure the success of the prescribed burn.  By addressing all concerns and possible problems prior to further implementation it allows for changes to be made throughout the process.  The burn plan will include a project overview in order to give an idea to those concerned what the process will look like.  This overview will provide insight into the project before further details are covered.  Next, fuel description will be completed explaining what the conditions of the current stand are.  Other major components of the burn plan include the objectives of the project, the values at risk, public relations, operations, and monitoring.  (Blackwell, 2012) Fire Complexity Rating Within the burn plan, some calculations are needed to determine the fire complexity rating for the project.  This rating takes a number of factors into account in finding out how complex the prescribe burn will be.  The major considerations for this calculating include: safety, threats to boundaries, fire behaviour, objectives, size of project, and air quality.  Figure 1 below illustrates the considerations that go into calculating the fire complexity rating within the BC Burn Plan Template. Fire complexity ultimately gives fire managers a full review of how difficult the fire will be in the implementation stage.  It will show (Blackwell, 2012) 10   Figure 1 - Fire Complexity portion of burn plan template  Prescribed fire Go-No-Go The next major step in completing a burn plan revolves around the Go-No-Go Checklist.  This list shows a number of questions that an implementer must answer prior to the prescribed burn going ahead.  The key component is if a ?no? answer is found for any of the questions then the prescribed burn cannot proceed as planned.  An example of a question would be, ?is the current and projected weather forecast favourable?? (Blackwell, 2012).  It is very important to ensure safety and effectiveness of prescribed burning through this type of checklist.  It allows for fire managers to easily determine whether a prescribed burn is ready to be implemented and go ahead or whether the specific conditions are not conducive for that particular day.  Figure 2 below illustrates an example of a Go-No-Go checklist that is utilized within the forest industry. 11   Figure 2 - Go-No-Go Checklist  Burn plan map As part of the burn plan, an in depth map must be created to illustrate the major considerations and locations of safety equipment and information.  The burn plan map will include the following pieces: the burn boss headquarters, control crew locations, escape routes, ignition pattern, and pump and hose locations.  Figure 3 below shows an example of a burn plan map.  By mapping out the prescribed burn plan and covering off all safety measures prior to burning it allows for personnel involved to be ready for unforeseen issues.  (Blackwell, 2012) 12   Figure 3 - Example of Burn Plan map  Safety preparedness In order to prepare for a prescribed burn, safety is a paramount component to consider.  The first thing to look at is building or digging guards against the possibility of escaping fire.  There is always a possibility of a fire escape despite how prepared the group is.  By building guards it allows for the anticipation of possible issues before they occur.  When designing the fire guards, one should consider the placement within the site.  Things to consider include protection of infrastructure as well as wildlife or cultural features.  The other main driver of placement of fire guards will be the site itself and the topography limitations.  Another option to consider if feasible would be sprinklers. (Blackwell, 2012) Fuel management Fuel management is a concern when looking at implementing a prescribed burn.  The site has to have the right conditions to be successful in working towards various goals and objectives.  First, the site may need to be harvested prior to burning.  Managers must looks at the objectives of the burn to see if they can be met without harvesting.  Next, if thinning or harvest is required managers must look at a number of factors.  The wood that is being harvested can be either left on site to burn or removed.  In the case of merchantable timber being present, removal is the best option to gain value from the site.  With harvest, accessibility also has to be looked at as heavy machinery has to get to the area in question.  Another option for dealing with fuel management is piling and burning.  This method is controversial due to the non natural process.  By using piles and burning it doesn?t simulate natural fire regimes 13  within the forested landscape.  Another downside is that the piles can create hot spots and heat up to harmful temperatures in the soils.  Lastly, the protection of individual trees within the burn areas has to be considered.  If there are culturally important or other important trees within the prescribed burn area, a number of protection methods can be applied.  Managers can utilize raking, wraps, or foams around the base of the trees that need to be protected. (Blackwell, 2012) Prescribed burning techniques There are two main methods of ignition that are used in prescribed burning programs.  The two types are aerial ignition and ground ignition.  Aerial ignition can be implemented in two ways, helitorch or delayed aerial ignition devices (DAID).  With helitorch programs, a helicopter is used along with a drip torch hanging below it.  This method is very effective in lighting large areas with fuel types that are discontinuous.  With DAID methods, a plane or helicopter is used to disperse lighting devices.  A large dispenser is located on the plane and releases small spheres made of plastic.  The balls have a chemical mixture in them containing potassium permanganate.  The small spheres will ignite when they are pumped with ethylene glycol.  This type of ignition method is best suited for vast areas with continuous fuel types. (Blackwell, 2012) There are two main methods of ignition when working on the ground.  First, drip torches can be used.  A drip torch is a smaller handheld device of cylindrical shape that holds a form of fuel.  Fuel types can vary between diesel, gasoline, or kerosene.  The drip torches then proceed to drip a flame as you walk, igniting the ground.  Second, propane torches can be used.  This method provides a heightened amount of heat in the fuels when they are ignited.  A downside is that propane torches might create broken up burn patterns if the fuels are moist, they are also more expensive. (Blackwell, 2012) Ignition patterns There are five main methods of ignition patterns when speaking about prescribed burning.  The right choice for the particular burning program will depend on goals/objectives, weather constraints, landscape constraints, and protection features. (Blackwell, 2012) The first type of ignition pattern is called backing fire.  This method allows the fire to spread out against the wind.  Fire breaks or guards are also utilized as the fire is set against these features.  This type of ignition pattern is the safest and easier than other methods to implement.  It also allows for slow burning and more control of the prescribed burn.  Figure 4 below illustrates a backing fire ignition pattern. (Blackwell, 2012) 14   Figure 4 - Backing Fire  The second type of ignition pattern is called heading fire.  This method is opposite to backing fire as it does not go against the wind but with it.  The fire line will gravitate with the wind as it moves.  This type of fire pattern is hotter and more suited to less desirable burning conditions than a backfire.  If heading fire has issues with the wind and gets away from the prescribed burn plan, a backing fire can be an effective tool to use to curb the escape.  This method also has an increased probability for crown fires if that is the objective. (Blackwell, 2012)  Figure 5 - Heading Fire Next, flanking fire can be used in an ignition pattern for prescribed burning.  Within this type of pattern, the fire is started in distinct lines in a way that is parallel to the wind.  Flanking fire can also be a tool used instead of backing fire due to the fact that is moves faster.  This method is more technical than 15  others and requires managers to be skilled and knowledgeable in fire weather and fire behaviour. (Blackwell, 2012)   Figure 6 - Flanking fire Next, grid or point source fire ignition patterns are a useful method is certain situations.  This method employs spot fires to be started in a grid like pattern.  When started grid or point source fires, either aerial or ground ignition methods can be used depending on the situation.  This method has higher intensity than backing fires but less than heading fires.  The intensity is contingent on the spacing of the grid and spot fires.  Figure 7 below shows an example of a grid or point source fire. (Blackwell, 2012)   Figure 7 - Grid or point source fire 16  Lastly, a center or ring fire is another method of prescribed burning ignition pattern.  Within this type of ignition pattern, a large fire is lit in the center to create a central column.  Once this is created, the fires around the perimeter of the circle then are brought into the center due to convection.  This method can only be utilized with burning of slash because it has high intensity heat that doesn?t allow vegetation to survive the prescribed burn.  Figure 8 below shows an example. (Blackwell, 2012)   Figure 8 - Center or ring fire  Methods of control There are a number of methods of control to utilize when implementing a prescribed burning program.  The first method is preparedness.  Being prepared is the best way to deal with unforeseen issues and any problems that may arise.  The full burn plan is the first tool to being prepared as a way to plan the entire program and showcase the issues that could pose a risk to the program.  Certain components such water source locations should be noted and described to have ready in case of fire escapes.  Human resources and personnel is also an important factor, as all roles and duties should be allocated according to knowledge, experience, and expertise.  Test burning is also a very important step to ensure that the prescribed burn is effective when implemented.  Lastly, preparing and testing all equipment is a key step to make sure that everything is ready for the day of the prescribed burn. (Blackwell, 2012)  17   Figure 9 - Prescribed Burn Plan As a second method of control, the location choice for burn sites is very important.  Many considerations have to take place when looking at the burn sites for prescribed burns.  First, there has to be extensive knowledge of areas that are populated that are located near the burn site.  Safety is paramount within prescribed burning so knowing where populated areas occur is important.  Next, the topography has to be looked at, specifically the slope and aspect of the area.  These two factors come into play when looking at fire behavior and planning of the prescribed burn objectives.  Wind direction that is prevailing in the area has to be studied along with wind direction changes that are possible to reduce chances of escape or safety issues.  The area needs to be mapped and locations of features such as roads for escape routes and access as well as water sources and distances need to be noted.  The specific conditions onsite such as sensitivity and resilience have to be considered prior to burning.  The soils and vegetation as well as flora and fauna have to be studied to ensure the prescribed burn will not 18  adversely affect them.  Lastly, the types of fuels with the prescribed burn area must be looked at to ensure that there is sufficient fuel to begin burning. (Blackwell, 2012) Weather conditions and seasonal environment are a major hindrance to prescribed burning and implementation of programs.  The timing of the burn will depend on a number of components.  The local weather conditions will be used to calculate the Forest Weather Index and ultimately decide if the conditions are suitable for a prescribed burn.  Temperature inversions are not ideal or safe for prescribed burning so shut down procedures will prevail.  It is important to wait for the wind directions to become recognized in a day.  Sometimes the wind directions will change throughout the day until they establish themselves.  In regards to relative humidity, the RH is usually between 30% and 55% and in a rising pattern at the point when the burn begins.  The season plays a major control on prescribed burning as escapes are more likely to happen in the summer than in the colder wetter months. (Blackwell, 2012) The burn method selection is the final choice as it relies on all the other factors involved in a prescribed burning program.    As described earlier, methods include backing, heading, flank, point/grid, and center fire patterns.  Factors such as the location of the burn, layout of program, weather and environment, goals, budget, and knowledge/experience all govern what burn method will be the best choice.  The size of the burn will depend on the personnel available as well as the experience among those involved.  Equipment constraints will also decide how much burning can occur at any one time as there must be enough equipment to fight a possible escape.  The frequency of the burn is something to look at when considering the soils and vegetation.  Depending on objectives and goals, the sensitivity of the site has to be looked at in relation to fire frequency to ensure the least amount of damage occurs.  Fuel buildups and quality of the fuel available is also directly related to the frequency of the burn. (Blackwell, 2012) The final step of a prescribed burn is the mop up stage.  This component is a large factor of methods of control.  Mop up is an important step during the prescribed burn but also after the burn is completed.  The length of mop up is variable as it depends on weather.  Sometimes rain will help to reduce mop up length for certain programs.  Mop up is completed when the whole burn area is free of smoke and hotspots. (Blackwell, 2012) Smoke management The issue of smoke is a major problem when operating near the public.  People have concerns about smoke and their health around prescribed burning.  The production of smoke is inevitable but can be reduced when thinking about three things.  First, the burn method choice can reduce smoke.  When a method is chosen that initiates more smoldering conditions it leads to more smoke.  Next, the fuel type and state of the fuel is a smoke issue.  With a moderate amount of compaction, the smoke production is reduced.  Areas of high foliage in fuels and moisture also produce more smoke.  The weather conditions will impact smoke amounts and production.  Higher atmospheric stability leads to more concentrated smoke and longer time periods to disperse.  Wind speeds and prevailing directions impact the movement of smoke.  The best weather conditions for smoke management are a high ventilation index. (Blackwell, 2012) 19  There are some regulations and laws that apply to prescribed burning and smoke management.  The Environmental Management Act ? Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation applies to prescribed burning and smoke production.  There are minimum distance requirements from certain establishments such as hospitals and airports. (Blackwell, 2012) Case Study: Banff National Park In 2003, a research project was implemented within Banff National Park looking at prescribed burning and its use in restoring Douglas-fir grassland areas (Park, 2011).  The study area is located in the Bow Valley within Banff National Park.  Historically, the area was dominated by open Douglas fir woodlands and grasslands but, due to several factors, the area of these vegetation types has been dramatically reduced.  There is a lack of fire due to fire exclusion through direct suppression and land use changes which has resulted in an increased amount of in-growth and closed canopy forests. Historically in Banff National Park, fires were set by First Nations groups quite frequently.  These fires were of lower intensity but were an integral tool to maintaining the grasslands.  Some trees survived these fires so that old growth Douglas fir with ages near 700 years can be found within this area although they occur at low density.  Because of the lack of intentional fires and fire repression, the situation now leads to less frequent but higher intensity fire occurrences.  (Park, 2011) Objectives The main objective of the project was to assess how different types of ignition patterns as well as different types of fuel management methods affected the survival of old-growth Douglas fir within the prescribed burn unit.  A secondary objective of the project was to look at how feasible it is to utilize prescribed burning within Douglas fir stands while reducing to a minimum the overstory mortality in the old growth forest. (Park, 2011)   For this case study, the 2011 data were evaluated to obtain information about specific objectives of the project.  The data allowed for determination of tree survival eight years after the prescribed burn was implemented.  This in turn leads to conclusions around midterm effects of prescribed burning.     Methods Data for this case study were provided by Jane Park, the Fire/Vegetation Specialist at the Banff Field Unit of Parks Canada Agency.  Data on species composition and tree status (live versus dead) were collected from 111 research plots established to monitor the effects of the Fairholm prescribed burn that took place in 2003.  Plots were established before the fire, measured immediately after the fire in 2004 and again in 2011.   Within this study there were four treatments applied to the fuels before the prescribed burn took place.  The treatments included: no fuels treatment, plot thinning only, thinning and delimbing of trees, and raking and thinning.  Table 1 below shows how many plots fell within each pre-treatment category. 20   Table 1 - Summary of Fuel Treatment Types and Number of Plots within Each Treatment Number of Plots No fuels treatment 96 Plot thinning only 1 Thinning and delimbing of trees 4 Raking and thinning 10  In order to show the effectiveness of thinning, delimbing, and raking, a control needed to be established.  The control within this study was the no fuels pre-treatment plots.  This control allows for an assessment to be done regarding fire severity following years of fire exclusion.  The plot thinning pre-treatments were done in collaboration with the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada (FERIC).  FERIC is a private, not-for-profit research and development organization that works with Parks Canada on projects such as this one. There were several types of ignition patterns that were applied to the various plots within this study.  Modes of ignition included hand lighting with a drip torch and aerial ignition.  During the prescribed burn, as a result of a period of dry and hot weather patterns it created conditions leading to the start of wildfires.  These fires were started from the prescribed burn and therefore were included as holdover/wildfire ignition plots.  The Table 2 below shows the breakdown of ignitions across the plots. Table 2 - Summary of Ignition Method and Number of Plots within Each  Fire Treatment Type  Helitorch Raking and Hand Lighting Holdover/Wildfire # of Plots 34 13 66  There were a number of combinations of fuel pre-treatments and ignition types throughout the study.  Ignition types ranged from wildfire to handlighting or aerial helitorch.  Fuel treatments prior to burning included raking and thinning, delimbing, and controls with no treatments.    Table 3 below depicts the various combinations used in the prescribed burn:   21  Table 3 - Summary of Fuel Treatment Type, Ignition Type, and Number of Plots within Each Treatment Ignition # of Plots Area Thinned Tree Delimbed Wildfire 4 Ferric Plot Thinned Wildfire 1 No Treatment Wildfire 39 HL 3 HL/HT 4 HT 35 Unknown 12 No Treatment/Unknown Wildfire 1 Unknown 1 Raked and Thinned, Handlight Handlight 11  Data was provided in excel format for analysis.  First, division of plots and organization took place to sort data effectively.  Certain portions of the data were eliminated from analysis due to missing information or the small number of plots.  The percentage of trees alive in 2011 was calculated for the various fuel treatments, ignition patterns, and tree species. Next, Composite Burn Index (CBI) was analyzed among the various ignition types and pre-treatment?s.  CBI is a tool that provides a rating describing conditions after a fire has taken place.  CBI values fall within a range from 0 to 3 which refer to an unburned site to a maximum severity site.  In order to calculate CBI, an average is taken from certain effects of the fire on a specified plot.  The CBI includes a number of factors from the plot such as substrates, vegetation, and trees.  The figure below shows the CBI field data sheet that is utilized to calculate the values. (Description of CBI, 2012) 22   Figure 10 - Field Data Sheet for Calculating Composite Burn Index  Figure 11 - Field Data Sheet for Calculating Composite Burn Index 23  Results Effects of Fuel Treatments on Tree Survival When looking at the effects of fuel treatments with ignition methods together, the plots that had the highest percentage (83.4%) of trees alive in the overstory were raked, thinned, and handlit (Figure 12).  Just below that was the one plot that was thinned only (80.7%).  The areas with no fuel treatment before the burn had the most mortality in the overstory and the lowest level of survival (54.2%).  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for each treatment type applied prior to burning.  The thinning of the plot has high survival and is close to those plots that were raked, thinned, and handlit.  As mentioned, the number of plots falling within the thinning category is very low and not statistically important at this point.  Figure 12 illustrates the possible success of raking, thinning, and handlighting towards the survival of overstory trees.         Figure 12 ? Effects of fuel treatments on all trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for each fuel treatment type, regardless of the ignition methods.  All tree species were included.    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Area Thinned Tree Delimbed Ferric Plot Thinned No Treatment Raked, Thinned, Handlight Percentage of Surviving Trees (%) Effect of Fuel Treatments  on Tree Surivival 24  There was a total of 1965 Douglas-fir trees monitored within this study.  This represents a total of 41.3% of the trees monitored within the study.  The patterns for Douglas-fir were somewhat similar but seem to be more homogenous among all treatments than within the results for all trees.  The highest percentage of Douglas-fir alive after treatment can be seen within the areas that were raked, thinned, and handlit (95.7%).  The areas that were thinned and trees delimbed (97.2%) were very close as well.  The areas with no pre-treatment (54.25) had the lowest survival among Douglas-fir trees.  Specifically regarding the Douglas-fir trees within the overstory, thinning and delimbing pretreatments as well as raking, thinning, and handlighting seem to be the most successful in maintaining the overstory.      Figure 13 ? Effects of fuel treatments on Douglas-fir trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for each fuel treatment type, regardless of the ignition type.  Only Douglas-fir trees are included.          0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Area Thinned Tree Delimbed Ferric Plot Thinned No Treatment Raked, Thinned, Handlight Percentage of Surviving Trees (%) Effect of Fuel Treatments  on the Survival of Douglas-fir 25  Within the study, 2263 of the trees monitored were Lodgepole pine which represents 53.5% of all trees.  The results for Lodgepole pine were similar to those for the fir in that the highest survival came within the raked, thinned, and handlit treatments (78.6%).  The area that was thinned along with the delimbing (55%) of the trees had the second highest survival followed by the no treatment (41.5%) areas and lastly, the thinned plots (33.3%).  Between the two species Fir and Pine, it is interesting to consider the similarities but percentage differences as well.  With the fire resistant bark characteristics of Douglas-fir it is not surprising to see such low mortality as opposed to the mortality numbers in the Pine. (Egan, 1999)   Figure 14 ? Effects of fuel treatments on Lodgepole pine trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for each fuel treatment type, regardless of ignition type.  Only Lodgepole pine trees are included.    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Area Thinned Tree Delimbed Ferric Plot Thinned No Treatment Raked, Thinned, Handlight Percentage of Surviving Trees (%) % Pl Alive by Treatment Type (All Ignition Types) 26  Effects of Different Ignition Types on Tree Survival Among the various ignition methods there were numerous combinations with the fuel treatments.  A summary of the number of plots within each can be seen Table 3 within the methods sections above. For both pine and fir together it can be concluded that the plots that were ignited through wildfire had the least survival (48.9%).  The next lowest survival occurred with the helitorch areas (61.8%).  The most successful areas for tree survival were within the handlit areas (75%) throughout the various treatment types, then the handlit/helitorch (79.6%) areas with no pre-treatment.  Figure 15 ? Effect of ignition method and fuel treatments on all trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for the different ignition methods, while differentiation plots with no fuel treatment from plots with fuel treatment (all types of fuel treatment combined).  All tree species were included.     0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 HLHT - No Treatment HT - No Treatment WF - All Treatment Types HL - All Treatment Types Percentage of Surviving Trees (%) Effects of Ignition Method and Fuel Treatment on Tree Survival 27  With a focus on the overstory of Douglas Fir, the data analysis reveals low survival in the wildfire (74.9%) areas and the handlit/helitorch (79.9%) areas.  The helitorch (86.9%) plots within the no treatment areas had the highest percent of fir alive, the handlit (86.6%) areas through all treatment types also had a very high percentage of fir alive.  Figure 16 ? Effect of ignition method and fuel treatments on Douglas-fir trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for the different ignition methods, while differentiation plots with no fuel treatment from plots with fuel treatment (all types of fuel treatment combined).  All tree species were included.   0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 HLHT - No Treatment HT - No Treatment WF - All Treatment Types HL - All Treatment Types Percentage of Surviving Trees (%) % Fd Alive by Ignition Method 28  Within the Pine overstory there seems to be lower survival within the wildfire ignition (32.8%) areas.  The highest survival occurred in the handlit (63.8%) areas throughout all the treatment types.  These results vary from the results associated with the Fir overstory.    Figure 17 ? Effect of ignition method and fuel treatments on Lodgepole pine trees.  The percent of trees alive in 2011 was determined for the different ignition methods, while differentiation plots with no fuel treatment from plots with fuel treatment (all types of fuel treatment combined).  Lodgepole pine trees are only included.   0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 HLHT - No Treatment HT - No Treatment WF - All Treatment Types HL - All Treatment Types Percentage of Surviving Trees  (%) % Pl Alive by Ignition Method 29  Specifically looking at the wildfire ignition method and the various treatments applied prior to burning we can see that the ferric plot thinned areas had the highest percentage of trees alive.  This is negligible though with only one plot in that pre treatment section.  The next highest survival in the overstory occurred within the thinned areas, and lastly the no treatment areas.  Figure 18 - Effect of fuel treatments on tree survival in plots ignited by wildfire.  All tree species were included.   0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 WF - Average (All Types)  WF - No Treatment WF - Plot Thinned WF - Area Thinned Percentage of Surviving Trees (%) Effect of Fuel Treatments on Tree Survival in Plots Ignited by Wildfire 30  As an average for all pre treatment methods, the wildfire ignition method has a much lower percentage of trees alive when compared to the handlight ignition method as seen below.  Within the handlit ignition method, the areas that were raked and thinned prior to burning had a higher than average amount of survival in the overstory.  The no treatment areas had a lower than average survival rate.   .    Figure 19 - Effect of fuel treatments on tree survival in plots ignited by handlighting.  All tree species were included.    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 HL - Average (All Types) HL - No Treatment HL - Raked and Thinned Percentage of Surviving Trees (%) Effect of Fuel Treatments  on Tree Survival in Plots Handlit 31  When all ignition methods and fuel treatments were considered together, the highest survival occurred in the Douglas-fir within the areas that were thinned only and ignited with a wildfire method.  This contrasts previous analysis in which survival in wildfire ignited plots was low.  This is due to the comparison including all tree species rather than separating between fir and pine.  The least survival for the Douglas-fir took place in the areas of with no fuel treatment and an ignition method of handlighting.  Previous analysis did not differentiate ignition methods within the no treatment category but rather did an all inclusive analysis of all ignition methods. For the pine, the highest survival was within the areas that were raked and thinned prior to burning with an igniting method of handlighting.  With all species considered, it seems that the best method for preserving the overstory was within raked and thinned areas that were handlit.    Figure 20 - Summary graph of all ignition methods and treatments types.  All tree species were included.    0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Percentage of Surviving Trees  (%) % Trees Alive % Fd Alive % Pl Alive 32  There was a wide range of CBI values measured throughout the project results.  The CBI values ranged from 0 to 3.  When looking at the composite burn index it is anticipated that the areas with various pre-treatments to reduce the intensity of the burn will have higher survival in the overstory Douglas Fir.  The highest CBI values were seen within the areas of no pre-treatment.  The thinned plot was higher but again is negligible.  The lowest CBI values were found within the areas that were thinned and delimbed before burning.      Figure 21 ? Composite burn index comparison across all treatment types   0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 ATTD FPT NT RTH CBI Value CBI Value Comparison Among Pretreatments Final CBI CBI 33  Across all the ignition types and pre-treatments, the plots with the highest CBI values were those that experience no pre treatment and had an unknown ignition method.  It is difficult to interpret the meaning of these plots since the ignition type is not known.  It is difficult to interpret the meaning of these plots as the ignition type is not known.  For this reason, the results associated with the unknown ignition types will be omitted from discussion. The next highest CBI plots were those that had no pre-treatment and were handlit.  The lowest CBI values were within the plots that had thinning and delimbing pretreatments and were lit through wildfire.   Figure 22 ? Composite burn index comparison across all ignition types and treatments   0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 ATTD-WF FPT-WF NT-HL NT-HL/HT NT-HT NT-U HT-WF RTH-HL CBI Value Final CBI CBI 34  Discussion In 2004, the data analysis of the Fairholm prescribed burn revealed three main points that could be discussed further.  First, plots that were hand lit had CBI values that were smaller than holdover/wildfire plots.  Second, the method of applying hand raking allowed for an increased survival probability of Douglas Fir as opposed to aerial ignition and no treatment.  Lastly, because of the low/moderate severity of the prescribed burn the survival amount could not be determined at that point. (Park, 2012) Within previous data analysis and evaluation it was determined that the areas that had pre-treatments such as hand raking combined with hand lighting ignition methods had somewhat smaller CBI values than those that did not experience fuel pre-treatments.  In that case, the variations were not statistically significant.  Another noted finding involved the hand lit plots and the aerial lit plots.  These two types of ignition patterns did not differ very much in their CBI values that were calculated.  This similarity was especially significant because it hinted that the completion of pre-treatment of fuel within the plots was a useful tool in changing the severity of the burns that were aerially lit. When evaluating composite burn index values it is important to consider the range and what each value means.  When CBI values are around 2.5 and just below, these values indicate that the Douglas Fir overstory trees would be subjected to large amounts of mortality (Park, 2004).  Values above 2.5 are a distinct indicator of high mortality of approximately 70% of the canopy and also show that these areas will have little to no chance of recovery.  In our 2011 data analysis, there were only two plots that had CBI values greater than 2.5.  These two plots had no pre-treatments and were ignited through wildfire methods.  There were five plots with CBI values in the range of 2.0 to 2.5.  These plots had a range of ignition methods but all had no pre treatments applied. (Park, 2004)  Within the data analysis of the 2011 information it can be seen that the best survival in the overstory came within the areas that were raked and thinned prior to burning and handlit.  This particular result compares with the 2004 results as well.  The patterns between immediately post burn and midterm have not changed dramatically and seem to follow similar models. The use of prescribed burning for research is a very practical and effective tool when performed safely and correctly.  In the above case study, a long term project has been established that is providing very useful information to evaluate various pre-fire treatments and their effectiveness working towards overstory survival, specifically in the Douglas-fir.  The project will also evaluate fire severity and the right choices that need to be made in order to minimize mortality in the overstory.  (Park, 2012) By conducting extensive data collection across a time step and performing analysis, certain patterns can reveal themselves leading to discussion and conclusions being drawn.  As a whole, analysis looked at the feasibility of utilizing prescribed burning programs in Douglas Fir areas all while keeping survival at a maximum in the overstory.  Throughout the data analysis, a number of considerations had to be made that eliminated some plots from calculations.  First, there were a number of plots that had an unknown ignition type which had to be removed from analysis.   Without a known ignition type they could not be evaluated for effectiveness.  Next, considerations had to be made with sections that had lower numbers 35  of plots included.  The statistical significance was much lower and not useful when the number was below five. Some aspects of the survival results need to be discussed.  First, the control sites with no fuel treatments were anticipated to have higher impacts due to burning because of fuel buildup.  Within the 2011 results this statement seems to be supported.  It is clear that within the control plots there was lower survival within the overstory as opposed to the various methods of fuel treatments. The two main species of interest within the overstory were Douglas-fir and Lodgepole pine.  Results seemed to follow the same pattern for both species.  The highest survival for both species was found in the thinned and delimbed plots.  The lowest survival was found in the control plots with no fuel treatment when the thinned plots (n=1) were discounted. Overall, it can be seen that areas that were hand raked and thinned with a handlit ignition method were the most effective at retaining Douglas-fir within the overstory.  Close in success was also the wildfire ignition pattern within thinned areas.  These two scenarios seem to provide the best results in maintaining the Douglas-fir.  Conclusion With prescribed burning come many risks associated with the objectives and potential rewards of the program.  The implementation process for prescribed burning is very time consuming but necessary to ensure safety and outcomes.  Many steps must be taken before the burn even occurs and numerous personnel will be involved in the program.  In the case of Banff National Park, prescribed burning is very common for a number of reasons.  It is important to consider the benefits of such a project for designated parks and the ecosystems that reside within.  Within the forest industry, apart from park areas there is not the amount of creative allowance to apply these types of tools.  Historically there was more leeway but that has since decreased.  The benefits of prescribed burning are many and could help to mitigate certain issues such as pine beetle devastation areas, restore ecosystems, and create habitat for wildlife.  Going forward, further research is needed in order to attempt to bring prescribed burning into the industry again as a tool.  Research projects such as the Fairholm prescribed burn will allow fire managers to effectively find out more information and lead to further understanding of how various pre burn treatments and varying fire intensities can reduce mortality in old growth overstory conditions.  By attempting to create certain burn conditions through ignition methods and treatments it leads to specific fire characteristics that can meet the goals of managers.   36  References 1. Blackwell, Bruce. "Abiotic Disturbances." Fire and Climate. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Jan 2013.  2. Brose, Patrick, Brent Brock, et al. 2000. Wildland Fire in Ecosystems: Effects of Fire on Flora. Rocky Mountain Research Station, United States Department of Agriculture. Forest Service.: , 2000. Print.  2.3. "Description of CBI." Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK). USGS Science for Changing the World, 2012. Web. 6 Apr 2013. <http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/science/fire/cbi/description>.  3.4. Elmore, Benji. "Prescribed Burning: An Efficient and Cost-Effective Tool." Alabama Prescribed Fire Council. Alabama Forestry Commission, 1996. Web. 5 Mar 2013.  4.5. Grant, Ankica. "Fighting Fire with Fire: Investigating Prescribed Burns for Fuel and Fire Management in Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario." . University of Waterloo, 2007. Web. 5 Mar 2013.  5.6. Lyon, Jack, Mark Huff, et al. United States Department of Agriculture. Forest Service. Wildland Fire in Ecosystems: Effects of Fire on Fauna. Rocky Mountain Research Station: , 2000. Print.  6.7. Park, Jane. "Evaluating the success of using prescribed fire for the restoration of Douglas Fir grasslands." Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Parks Canada, Banff Field Unit, 2011. Web. 9 Mar 2013.  7.8. Park, Jane. "Fire Intensity Under Varying Forest, Treatment and Ignition Types in Banff National Park's Fairholm Prescribed Burn." Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Parks Canada, Banff Field Unit, 2004. Web. 9 Mar 2013.  8.9. Taylor, W, and M Weber. ? ?The use of prescribed fire in the management of Canada's forested lands?. - The Forestry Chronicle (Vol 68):(324-334) Canadian Institute of Forestry, 1992. Web. 5 Mar 2013. <http://pubs.cif-ifc.org/doi/abs/10.5558/tfc68324-3>.  9.10. Egan, Brian. "The Ecology of the Coastal Douglas-fir Zone." . Government of British Columbia, 1999. Web. 6 March 2013. <http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/docs/bro/bro30.pdf>. 

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