Parks Canada fire management

Across the country, Parks Canada’s fire management program works to protect communities, restore and maintain ecosystem health, and create landscapes that are more resilient to climate change. Parks Canada does this using all the tools in the toolbox including prescribed fire, wildfire risk reduction, and managed wildfires.

The role of fire

Why fire is important, fire ecology, and the effects of fire on wildlife.

Indigenous fire stewardship

Cultural burning and training initiatives.

Fire management history

Impacts of wildfire suppression, and negative impacts on Indigenous Peoples and ecosystem health.

Wildfire management

Fighting wildfires, climate change, and managing wildfires on the landscape for ecosystem health.

Prescribed fire

What are prescribed fires, planning, preparation, and monitoring.

Reducing the risk of wildfires

Keeping communities safe, FireSmart™, and reducing vegetation buildup.

The people of fire management

Types of fire positions, jobs and hiring, diversity and inclusion.

Four principles of fire management

The National Fire Management Program contributes to Parks Canada’s mandate through four principles of fire management.

  • 1. Mitigation

    Definition: the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something

    • lowering the risk of severe wildfires to local communities and infrastructure by following the seven FireSmart™ disciplines:
      1. education
      2. emergency planning
      3. vegetation management
      4. legislation
      5. development
      6. interagency cooperation
      7. cross-training
    • reducing the buildup of flammable materials such as trees, shrubs, logs and branches
    • creating and following site-specific fire management plans outlining how each park/site will:
      • reduce the risk of wildfire
      • keep communities and infrastructure safe
      • restore and maintain ecological integrity and cultural landscapes
      • provide visitor experiences and public education opportunities on fire management
    • reducing human-caused wildfires through public education and awareness programs, fire bans and restrictions, and fire pit design (engineered metal fire rings and boxes)
    • fostering partnerships with communities, organizations, and various levels of government (ex: Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, Natural Resources Canada, municipalities)
  • 2. Preparedness
    • strategically placing fire management personnel and equipment in national parks based off of the level of risk to that site
    • maintaining a centralized equipment cache and ensuring that it is ready to be deployed across the country on a moment’s notice
    • monitoring weather and vegetation conditions (moisture, fuels, etc.) to determine the daily fire danger rating at each site
    • hiring and coordinating helicopters to detect and manage new wildfires
    • moving fire personnel around the country to enhance local capacity, as required
  • 3. Response
    • ensuring that each national park and national historic site has a pre-planned response that considers public and staff safety, as well as the ecological, cultural and financial implications of wildfire response
    • meeting Parks Canada’s ecological protection mandate by managing fires for ecological integrity and ecosystem restoration, when appropriate
    • providing resources to support Parks Canada administered parks and sites, as well as to external agencies (Ex: BC Wildfire, Société de protection des forêts contre le feu, AB Wildfire, etc.)
  • 4. Restoration
    • restoring and maintaining the ecological and cultural integrity of landscapes through the use of prescribed fire and managed wildfire
    • restoring cultural burning practices within national parks and national historic sites
    • creating climate change-resilient landscapes through the restoration of fire as a natural process

Fire management across the country

A dense smoke column rises above a forest.

Fire videos

Learn more about Parks Canada fire management with videos from national parks across the country.

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