Weyerhaeuser Aerial Spray Program

weather montiors accessing a block on atvs
Weather montiors accessing a block on ATVs
helicopter taking off from a mix site
Helicopter taking off from a mix site
helicopter spraying
Helicopter spraying

THE TASK

Tree Time Services coordinates an annual aerial spray program for Weyerhaeuser Drayton Valley.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

This program presents many special challenges.

The blocks are spread out over approximately 15,000 square kilometers many of which are only accessible by ATV.

We have approximately twelve people working on the program, about half from Tree Time Services and half from the helicopter company.

We have to keep an eye on our levels of water, herbicide and jet fuel, all of which are consumed at an unbelievable pace.

We have to manage safety in an environment of long hours, aircraft working at low altitudes, chemicals, ATVs, aggressive wildlife, camping in the woods, extreme weather, and driving on public and private roads.








OUR SOLUTION

We provide Weyerhaeuser Drayton Valley with the following services:

  • aerial scouting and prescriptions
  • assist in preparing a herbicide program plan which is approved by the government of Alberta.
  • coordinate the execution of the spray program
  • provide people to monitor weather conditions in every block to be sprayed
  • supply the client with a final report detailing all spraying

OUR PRIORITIES IN EXECUTING THIS PROGRAM

Our first priority in a project of this magnitude is safety. To that end, we ensure our staff have the appropriate training and experience to work in such a demanding environment. We emphasize safety every day.

Our second priority is to only spray approved cut blocks in the way that was planned. It's easy to make a mistake and spray the wrong block or the wrong part of the correct block.

We have multiple levels of redundancy to minimize the risk of a mistake. The program coordinator scouts the pilot on each block he is approved to spray. They discuss the areas within the block to be sprayed, the rate of spray and any hazards or special considerations for the block. The pilot receives a map of the block as well as a GPS shape file for his computer.

On the ground, the weather monitoring staff are also given maps and GPS shape files of the blocks and are present at the block before the pilot arrives to apply the herbicide.

The weather monitoring staff continuously monitor the weather and ensure spraying only occurs within acceptable parameters.

So when the helicopter arrives to spray the block, the pilot has already been there with the program coordinator, he has a map of the block and a GPS shape file, he then makes visual and radio contact with the person monitoring the weather on the ground to confirm the location and weather conditions and only then does he apply the herbicide.

Our third priority is to do our work efficiently. Efficiency is largely the result of the Scott Formaniuk's exceptional organizational skills. After nearly two decades of coordinating spray programs he has developed an amazing ability to maximize the productivity of all aspects of the spray program.

The second way we achieve efficiency is by hiring people with experience with forestry work and aerial spray programs in particular. Many of our workers have been doing this for years and they perform at a much higher level than beginners.

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BACKGROUND

Tree Time Services has worked closely with Weyerhaeuser to provide a quality aerial herbicide program from 2005 to present. We spray 1,500 to 2,250 hectares of land per year as part of Weyerhaeuser's vegetation management strategy for C, CD, and, DC blocks. The actual herbicide application phase of the program takes about 12 to 20 days, depending on the weather.