The major objective of the Bor Forest Island Fire Experiment was the conducting of a high-intensity, stand replacement fire that would permit the documentation of fire behavior and effects in a manner that would allow comparison of eastern and western fire research methodologies. A narrow burning window, and low windspeeds on the day of the burn, meant that the required high-intensity fire could not be achieved without a convection-style, perimeter ignition. However, this was accomplished, and fire behavior was well-documented, establishing a base upon which further fire effects studies will be developed. In addition, this experimental fire effectively simulated many critical aspects of boreal wildfires, including variation in fire intensity and effects across the landscape. For comparison purposes, Figure 18 shows a 1991 Siberian wildfire near Yakutsk, which exhibits patterns of fire intensity similar to the Bor Forest Island Fire.
Fig.18. Aerial view of a coniferous forest affected by a high-intensity fire in Yakutsk Region, August 1991.
This Experiment also demonstrated that it is possible to accommodate a number of experimental approaches within a single experimental fire, including combining fire research methodologies from Russia and western countries. Integrated research was successfully carried out on climatology, meteorology, fire behavior, fire emissions/atmospheric chemistry, fire history, and the fire ecology of the natural landscape and vegetation of this region of Siberia.
The Bor Forest Island site provides an ideal location for long-term fire ecology investigations. The site is well protected from human influences, being isolated from population centres, and protected by surrounding bogs and marshland. However, many more long-term sites, covering a broad range of fuel types and ecosystems burned under a variety of conditions, are required in order to fully understand boreal fire regimes. This is particularly important at a time when global warming is expected to dramatically accelerate the role of fire as the major disturbance regime in boreal forests, with resultant impacts on the global carbon budget.