Canadian Forest Service Publications

Evaluation of new methods for drought estimation in the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System. 2023. Hanes, C.C.; Wotton, M.; Bourgeau-Chavez, L.; Woolford, D.G.; Belair, S.; Martell, D.; Flannigan, M.D. International Journal of Wildland Fire, page 1-18.

Year: 2023

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40971

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.

† This site may require a fee

Mark record

Plain Language Summary

Background: Canadian fire management agencies track drought conditions using the Drought Code (DC) in the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System. The DC represents deep organic layer moisture. Aims: To determine if electronic soil moisture probes and land surface model estimates of soil moisture content can be used to supplement and/or improve our understanding of drought in fire danger rating. Methods: We carried out field studies in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario. We installed in situ soil moisture probes at two different depths in seven forest plots; from the surface through the organic layers, and in some cases, into the mineral soil. Results: Our results indicated that the simple DC model predicted the moisture content of the deeper organic layers (10-18 cm depths) well, even compared to the more sophisticated land surface model. Conclusions: Electronic moisture probes can be used to supplement the DC. Land surface model estimates of moisture content consistently under predicted organic layer moisture content. Implications: Calibration and validation of the land surface model to organic soils, in addition to mineral soils, is necessary for future use in fire danger prediction.