The Influence of Seismic Lines on Wildfire Potential in the Boreal Region of Northern Alberta, Canada

Lelia Weiland, Tori Green-Harrison, Scott Ketcheson

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1574
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug. 2023


    • fire weather index
    • groundwater
    • meteorology
    • peatlands
    • seismic lines
    • smouldering
    • soil properties
    • wildfires


    Dive into the research topics of 'The Influence of Seismic Lines on Wildfire Potential in the Boreal Region of Northern Alberta, Canada'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this