Fire is a
natural element in the forest ecosystem, and many of the positive effects of
fire have been recognized. However, the net effect of wildfire is negative for
timber production, recreation, traditional uses, and some species of wildlife.
The reduction of losses to wildfire is a key timber management goal in
Alberta, and an important consideration in determining sustainable yield and
Annual Allowable Cut.
Environment has a major program for fire prevention, detection and suppression.
The forest industry is required to provide supplemental support in the
form of equipment, training and personnel. In addition, the forest industry is
assessed an annual per-hectare fee for protection. Principal fire management
program activities include prevention, detection, pre-suppression (preparedness,
initial attack, and hazard reduction), and suppression.
Since 1987, fire
fighting expenditures have increased with a greater commitment to control and
suppress fires. Most of the fire suppression efforts are targeted at the
smaller fires to prevent them from becoming large, more costly fires. Budgeted
expenditures for forest fire control in Alberta have increased significantly
from just over $3 million in 1970 to more than $35 million in 1995.
Alberta Department of the Environment. State of the Environment Report, Terrestrial Ecosystems. Edmonton: n.p., 2001. With permission from Alberta Environment.