Canadian Forest Service Publications

Saskatchewan fire regime analysis. 2004. Parisien, M.-A.; Hirsch, K.G.; Lavoie, S.G.; Todd, J.B.; Kafka, V. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-394. 49 p.

Year: 2004

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 24912

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)

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Saskatchewan has 400 000 km2 of boreal forest, where fire is a major natural disturbance with important social, economic, and ecological effects. Sustainable forest management and enhancements to existing fire management policies and practices require a thorough understanding of the current fire regimes in the province. This study analyzed the number of fires, the area burned, the fire cycle, the fire season, causes of fires, potential fire intensity, and the fire climate for two types of ecological units: ecozones and ecoregions (subunits of ecozones). Analyses were performed for all forested ecozones: the Boreal Plain (south), the Boreal Shield (central), and the Taiga Shield (north). Only the ecoregions of the Boreal Plain ecozone were considered. The analysis was based on 20 years (1981-2000) of fire occurrence (ignition) data, a database of large fires (200 ha) for the period 1945 to 2000, and 12 years (1990-2001) of daily fire weather observations. The results revealed contrasts in the fire regime of ecozones and ecoregions. For example, fire cycle values were 263, 99, and 114 years for the Boreal Plain, Boreal Shield, and Taiga Shield ecozones, respectively. Divergent seasonal trends in fire occurrence and cause were apparent especially in the Boreal Plain, where most reported fires (65%) were human-caused spring fires. However, such fires were usually responsible for a small proportion (16%) of the area burned in this ecozone. The results of this study illustrate important variations in the fire regime in both time and space and can assist fire and forest managers alike in strategic planning of future activities.