Unit 5 - Forest Protection

Lesson 3: Forest Fire Management

Basic Goals of Forest Fire Management

We have just learned about the positive effects of fire on the forest ecosystem. Unfortunately, forest fires can also threaten lives, property, and resources. Because of this, forest management must balance environmental, economic, and social criteria.

In essence, fire management practices must accomplish two goals:

  1. Protect people, property, and the forest resource itself (example, minimize the negative social and economic impacts of forest fires)

  2. Preserve ecosystem diversity

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Fire Management Strategies and Techniques

Effective forest fire management involves evaluating the risk of fire, predicting fire behaviour, and responding to fires.

In recent decades, research and technology has led to the development of many innovative tools for fighting fires.

Over the past twenty years, the Canadian Forest Service has developed information systems that use advanced technologies, such as remote sensing and geographic information, to monitor and report on forest fire activity at a national scale. 

Prescribed Burning

According to Natural Resources Canada, forest managers sometimes use prescribed burning to get rid of built-up fuel loads in forested areas. These planned and controlled burns are referred to as “prescribed fires.” They are a versatile management tool, often used to reduce the risk of large, uncontrollable fires breaking out.

Large fires are responsible for the greatest amount of area burned in Canada and they pose the highest risk to Canadians’ property, health and safety.

Prescribed burning is also used to improve wildlife habitat or meet other resource management objectives.

Quick Fact
In 2002, prescribed fires burned more than 3,500 hectares of forest, but that's still less than 0.2 per cent of the total forest area that burned in that year.
Canada is recognized as a world leader in forest fire research and management. 
To understand this better, you only need to look at some of these resources available:

  • Alberta Wildfire has a website that has a lot of information on wildfires in Alberta.
The resources above will help you better understand why Canada is recognized as a world leader in forest fire research and management.