ong>Severeong> Drought ong>effectsong> onFireline SafetyIV International Conferenceon Forest Fire Researchand2002 Wildland Fire Safety SummitGary Dakin (FERIC)
Temperatures June 2002• Temperatureswere up to 7degrees abovenormal in theForest Protectionarea in theProvince ofAlberta, Canada
Precipitation June 2002• The Protectionarea experiencedup to 40% belownormalprecipitation forthe month of June
Apr-97May-97Jun-97Jul-97Aug-97Sep-97Oct-97Nov-97Dec-97Jan-98Feb-98Mar-98Apr-98May-98Jun-98Jul-98Aug-98Sep-98Oct-98Nov-98Dec-98Jan-99Feb-99Mar-99Apr-99May-99Jun-99Jul-99Aug-99Sep-99Oct-99Nov-99Dec-99Jan-00Feb-00Mar-00Apr-00May-00Jun-00Jul-00Aug-00Sep-00Oct-00Nov-00Dec-00Jan-01Feb-01Mar-01Apr-01May-01Jun-01Jul-01Aug-01Sep-01Oct-01Nov-01Dec-01Jan-02Feb-02Mar-02Apr-02May-02Jun-02Jul-02Precipitation Anomaly in mm363432302826242220181614121086420-2-4-6-8-10-12-14-16-18-20-22-24-26-28Alberta ForestMonthly Average Precipitation AnomaliesMonthly Precip. Above NormalMonthly Precip. Below NormalDate
Sudden Flare-ups• Firefighters mustconstantly beaware that the firemay suddenlyflare-up. TheyMUST haveestablished safetyzones and markedescape routes.
Extreme fire behavior• During severeong>droughtong>conditionsfirefighters areoften faced withviolent andextreme firebehavior.Chisholm Fire 2001Build up Index = 123Duff moisture code = 101Drought Code = 388
ong>Severeong> ong>droughtong> can put more• More values canbe threatened insevere ong>droughtong>conditions. Thisexposes thewildlandfirefighter to moreunfamiliardangers andrisks.values at risk
Camp burns by wind borne• Despite this campbeen situated in anold burn; duringsevere ong>droughtong>conditions old burnareas may reburn.This camp is on firedue to air borneembers from themain fire 2 km away.embers
Aspen Stand Burn over• Aspen stands areoften used assafety zones.However, duringseasons of severeong>droughtong>, eventhese areas sufferburn over.
Deep ground fire• During severeong>droughtong>, groundfires can burndeep.This createsanother hazard forthe unwary firefighter.
Fire intensity initiates indirect• The intensity ofthe fire forcesmore use ofindirect attackwhere firefighters mustwork from anchorpoints to be safeon the fire line.attack
Travel rates versus fire• Independent of fueltype, dropping thepack and exitingthrough an improvedescape routecondition wassignificantly quickerthan all other travelconditions (up to200%).spread
Working wildfire in severeong>droughtong> conditions canchallenge even the mostseasoned firefighter.