In Canada, since 1990, wildfires burned an average of 2.5 million hectares per year.
These wildfires occur in forests, shrublands and grasslands. Some of them are not controlled and were ignited by lightning or careless humans. A very small number of lights consists of prescribed burns qu’effectuent authorized forest managers. The goal is to mimic natural processes related to vegetation fires that regenerate ecosystems and maintain health.
Wildland Fire Management – the balance between the advantages and disadvantages
Wildfires pose a challenge to forest managers because they can be as harmful as beneficial.
- On the one hand, they can pose a threat to the community , destroying large amounts of forest resources and result in costly losses.
- On the other side, wildfires are a natural phenomenon of the forest ecosystem that is important in many parts of Canada with regard to forest health and biodiversity. Seen in this light, controlled burning can be a valuable management tool of resources when it comes to improving ecological conditions and eliminate the excessive accumulation of combustible
Not all wildfires that should (or can) be controlled. The agencies responsible for forests thus exploit the strength of natural light to benefit from its environmental benefits while limiting at the same time damage and potential costs.
Control programs against wildfires are an essential component of forest management and emergency management in Canada’s forests.
The understanding of the complex phenomenon of wildfire starts with understanding the fundamental physical aspects of these fires and their ecological role in the forests and other vegetated areas. Evaluations increasingly precise situation of the fires in Canada help land managers to use forest science knowledge to reduce the risk of fire and vegetation to maximize the benefits of such fires.
Research on vegetation fires conducted by CWS and its partners
The Canadian Forest Service (CFS) is involved in research on wildland fires since decades. It works with partners across the country to improve the knowledge base on wildland fires and increase the authorities’ ability to anticipate and manage the risks and benefits of these fires.
The main research areas are:
- the study of the behavior of wildfires , including how plant fuel ignited, the flame develops and fire which spreads;
- analysis of the ecological role of wildfires in different forests of Canada and the study of the impact of climate change on the occurrence and behavior of these lights and other forest disturbances;
- evaluation of the current activity of wildfires by monitoring forest conditions, monitoring of current fires and the estimation of risks inherent in new lights;
- the achievement of all tasks associated with the management of vegetation fires – since the development of new people protection strategies, property and forest resources to the use of fire to meet objectives forestry, wildlife and land use, and assistance to responsible jurisdictions in their efforts to fight against the fire.