hanging forests and forest fires have always been a challenge for people, especially those who are involved in the unique experience of living, working and following recreational activities within the forest itself.
There is ongoing evidence that climate change is leading to increasing forest fire fuel on the landscape as a result of increased weather severity with one to two million hectares of storm damaged forest in the last 10 years. This is coupled with approximately eight million hectares of budworm killed forest and new insect infestations spreading across the landscape and increasing the forest fire risks.
Weather and insect damaged forests increase the challenges for fire crews with more intense fires that are more difficult to control. This means an integrated solution is necessary, with adapted fire management strategies and increased involvement from tourist operators and the public to identify hazardous areas and values at risk. It as well means focusing on hazard reduction and adoption of FireSmart principles to prepare structures to withstand exposure to fire.
In recent years the challenge has increased with the development of large tracts of weather damaged forests and insect infestations which have set the groundwork for extreme situations in forest fire management. They range from the fire threat to people, to the challenge of protecting properties and managing fires effectively.
The fire program has developed methods of fighting fires in extreme situations including air attack, back burning and strategic ground attack. Values protection systems including sprinklers are also deployed when fire threatens.
“The combination of people, forests and fires need not be a catastrophic one when a coordinated approach is taken to prevention and protection that involves tourist outfitters, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources forest fire management program and an understanding of the forces at play in nature,” says Dave Cleaveley, Planning and Information Coordinator with the Aviation and Forest Fire Management Program.
Tourist outfitters can make significant differences towards a positive outcome when fire threatens by preparing the property in a FireSmart way and using sprinkler systems.
Cooperative efforts between the forest fire management program and organizations like NOTO can shift the balance towards better protection and even prevention of forest fires.
This article was taken from page 15 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Winter 2008 Issue