Fire management zones

Fire management zones help guide how wildfires are prioritized and managed. 

Intensive Fire Management Zone (zone 1, red)
  • high levels of human activity, facilities and infrastructure, and/or; 
  • other values that might be impacted by wildfire (e.g. species-at-risk);
  • regions where there is a high probability that a fire will spread onto neighbouring lands;
  • the Bow Valley and the Kicking Horse Valley are included in the intensive zone.
Intermediate Fire Management Zone (zone 2, yellow)
  • less development and human use on the landscape and lower probability that a wildfire will spread from these areas onto neighbouring lands; 
  • good fuel breaks are available, but there is still some risk that fires could spread into an intensive fire management zone;
  • ecological values may be at risk (e.g. drainages where caribou have been observed).
Extensive Fire Management Zone (zone 3, green) 
  • areas with relatively few values-at-risk and very limited potential for a wildfire to spread onto neighbouring lands;
  • natural fuel breaks exist that will enable fire managers to contain fires within these areas.

Role of the Fire Management Zone

Fire management zones help guide how wildfires are prioritized and managed and show where wildfires may be used to achieve ecological objectives. Zones are based on relatively constant factors, such as the level of human use or development and the presence of reliable fuel breaks. 

Role of the Fire Analysis

Forests need fire to stay healthy so, under certain circumstances, wildfires in suitable Fire Management Zones may not be suppressed immediately and/or completely. If this occurs, a fire analysis plays a critical role in determining what strategies will be employed, and how the wildfire will be managed to ensure safety.

A fire analysis takes into account factors the fire management zones do not, such as the long-term weather forecast and resource availability. It may also be conducted in consultation with key stakeholders such as adjacent land managers. The fire analysis is reviewed by the National Duty Officer and signed by the Field Unit Superintendent.

Safety is Parks Canada's first priority.


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