Yesterday, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) launched the Canadian Dialogue on Wildfire and Forest Resilience to support the development of a pan-Canadian Wildland Fire Prevention and Mitigation Strategy. Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) supports the government’s formal launch of the national discussion and was pleased to participate as a panelist. FPAC is committed to being an active and engaged voice in finding solutions to address the growing risk of wildland fires in Canada.
Canada’s commitment to sustainable forest management is rooted in supporting forest health and keeping forests as forests forever. This places Canada’s forest sector in a unique position to be a key partner in a whole-of-society approach in providing landscape-scale solutions on the ground – solutions that will strengthen economic opportunities for forested communities and help prevent and mitigate impacts from catastrophic fires.
Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its wildfire crisis strategy, underscoring the urgency of the shared situation south of the border. The USDA strategy, which stresses the need for a paradigm shift in how we manage for fire in the face of climate change, and which promotes management interventions such as prescribed burning and thinning, has allocated $50 billion over 10 years to promote forest resilience and community safety.
“In its National Issues Report, released last June, Natural Resources Canada recognized the important role that Canada’s forest sector and its workers play in mitigating the risk of fires across the country,” noted FPAC’s Senior Vice President, Kate Lindsay. “Forestry professionals are increasingly working with communities, Indigenous Peoples, academia, governments and key partners in supporting fire risk mitigation. We are encouraged by the launch of the National dialogue as well as work underway on a National Adaptation Strategy”, she added.
Canadian Forest Fire Facts
- Only 3% of all wildland fires that start each year in Canada grow to more than 200 hectares in area.
- Wildfire season typically runs from April through to September. Canada experiences around 7,300 wildfires each year, burning an average of 2.5 million hectares.
- In 2018, the area burned in Canada’s managed forests was 1.4 million hectares (ha), similar to 2017.
- Fire suppression costs over the last decade in Canada have ranged from about $800 million to $1.5 billion a year – Forest fires (nrcan.gc.ca)
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, paper, and wood-based bio-products producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $75B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 225,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.