Canadian Governments Unite to Avoid Future Forest Fire Disasters

4 October 2005

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SASKATOON — Federal, Provincial and Territorial Forest Ministers have committed to working together to reduce future losses oflife, property and critical forest lands to wildfires. 

The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers today unveiled the Canadian Wildland Fire StrategyDeclaration (CWFS), agreeing to develop joint, cost shared, proposal driven initiatives which could represent significant investments over the next10 years. 

The initiatives that would see comprehensive and innovative changes to the management of wildland fires inCanada.

The Declaration presents a shared vision and common principles that emphasize the use of risk management and hazard mitigation, enhancing publicsafety, forest protection, and the effective use of funds in managing fires.

It emphasizes a strong, effective fire suppression organization, as well asprevention, preparedness and recovery activities, and recognizes the important role fire can play in rejuvenating ourforests.

“In recent years we have seen more frequent and intense fires, and a rising number of homes, cottages, and businesses being built in or near highlyflammable forests,” said the Honourable David Forbes, Minister of Environment for Saskatchewan and Chair of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers.

“Sooner or later, other major disasters like the devastating fires in British Columbia in 2003 will occur somewhere else inCanada.”

“Wildfires have directly threatened more than 700,000 Canadians in more than 200 communities in the past decade, and therefore pose a serious threatto public safety,” said the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of National Revenue and Acting Minister of NaturalResources.

 “Recent natural disasters have highlighted the benefits of being prepared and this Declaration providesthe catalyst to reduce the threat to public safety, the destruction of property and the impact on jobs in the forest sectoroverall.”

The Ministers agree that spending money in preparation and mitigation, will save countless dollars in suppression and disasterrelief.

The Declaration recognizes that fire is an essential and vital ecological process that can sometimes threaten public safety. 

It proposes to work toward improved land planning and updated forest management practices, as well asincreased investment in innovation, public education, and building capacity in local communities.


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