Seismic lines are cleared corridors for the location mapping of subsurface bitumen. After use, the lines can be left to regenerate naturally with varying success. Wildfires, another prominent disturbance in the Boreal region, are propagated by continuous fuel distribution (coarse/fine), meteorological variables (e.g., wind speed, temperature, and precipitation), and the moisture content of the fuel and soil. However, little is known about seismic lines and the potential risk and severity of wildfires. This work presents a case study of wildfire variables on two paired (seismic line and adjacent natural area) sites near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Wind speed was increased on seismic lines, and the dominant wind direction changed. Higher precipitation, air temperature, and soil moisture and reduced water table depths were observed on seismic lines. Coarse fuel distribution was not continuous on seismic lines; however, fine fuels were. Although the Fire Weather Index (FWI) indicated an enhanced wildfire potential on one line (NS orientation), peat smouldering and ignition models (Hcomb/Hign) showed increased smouldering potential on both seismic lines compared to adjacent natural areas. Future work should focus on expanding the diversity of seismic line characterization, working towards the landscape-scale modelling of these variables.
|Publication status||Published - Aug. 2023|
- fire weather index
- seismic lines
- soil properties