International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire

Comparing landscape-based decision rules for placement of fuel treatments in the boreal mixedwood of western Canada

Marc-André Parisien A C D , David R. Junor A and Victor G. Kafka B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, 5320 122nd Street, Edmonton, AB T5H 3S5, Canada.

B Parks Canada Agency, Quebec Service Centre, National Fire Centre, 3 Passage du Chien d’Or, Québec, QC G1R 4V7, Canada.

C Present address: University of California, Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, 137 Mulford Hall 3114, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email:

International Journal of Wildland Fire 16(6) 664-672
Submitted: 18 May 2006  Accepted: 6 September 2007   Published: 17 December 2007


The present study used a rule-based approach to prioritise locations of fuel treatments in the boreal mixedwood forest of western Canada. The analysis, which was conducted in and around Prince Albert National Park, Saskatchewan, was based on burn probability (BP) mapping using the Burn-P3 (Probability, Prediction, and Planning) model. Fuel treatment locations were determined according to three rule-sets and five fuel treatment intensities. Fuel treatments were located according to BP only; jurisdictional boundaries and BP; and non-flammable landscape features, BP, and fuel treatment orientation. First, a baseline BP map was created from the original (i.e. unmodified) fuels grid. Fuel treatments were then added to the selected areas and BP maps produced for each combination of rule-set and treatment intensity. BP values for the treated landscapes were compared with those of the baseline BP map. Results varied substantially among scenarios. Locating fuel treatments as a function of the jurisdictional boundaries and BP yielded the lowest reduction in BP. Results suggest that clumping fuel treatments within a limited area or using landscape features to maximise the large-scale spatial benefits of the fuel treatments can significantly reduce landscape-level BP. Although these two strategies may produce similar overall reductions in BP, their appropriateness and utility depend on management objectives.

Additional keywords: Burn-P3 model, burn probability, landscape features, strategically placed areas of treatments (SPLATs).


The present study was made possible by the Prince Albert Model Forest Science and Technology Fund. We are grateful to Jen Beverly, Paul Maczek, Diana Stralberg, Nicole Vaillant, and Jeff Weir for their ideas and comments. Alan Frank and Dave Wieder provided geospatial data, and Daniel Poirier and Richard Carr provided weather data. We thank Cordy Tymstra for his project-long assistance with Prometheus and Peter Englefield for helping with the geographic information system analysis.


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