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38   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

Canadian   Patrols were well maintained and relief granted when Pacific Railway and where necessary. The patrolmen equipped with

power speeders demonstrated that they could take care of a much larger section, and give more efficiency than patrol-men equipped with hand speeders, giving forty miles of a patrol and close inspection where the grades are easy and danger from fire not great. Also that the patrol should follow all trains not later than twenty minutes. Fires inside that time would not as a general rule be beyond control.

Results show that during a season that is not counted as extra dangerous a power speeder patrolman can effectively cover a patrol of thirty-five miles in length, going a round trip per day. During a spell of weather when the danger of fire is great, experience shows that the patrol should be doubled and all trains during the daytime followed as close as ten to fifteen minutes. On one occasion the company had forty men on the fire exactly twenty minutes after the train that started the fire had passed. Conditions were so dry and dangerous that the fire had spread beyond control. It was also found necessary to put on, besides the extra power speeder patrol, a foot patrolman to watch extra dangerous localities. This proved effective.

When patrolman followed trains within the prescribed time the patrol proved good, but when behind time more than thirty minutes, fires got away beyond control. Two destructive fires reported as originating from sparks from locomotives got beyond control, costing large amount to control them. Estimated damage, $90,000. At present the cause of these fires is disputed by the railway company.

Kettle Valley   Excellent co-operation and results were secured from

Railway   this company during construction. A great part of

this line is built through splendid timber. The right-of-way was cleared and burned properly, and, although this is in the dry belt, no fires escaped from the right-of-way clearing, which furnishes a splendid example of what can be done by a close and rigid inspection. Another aspect of this railway building is that this line passes through the watersheds of four large irrigation systems, and, owing to the very close patrol supervision. not an acre was burned over, although the danger from camp fires of men looking for work was very great.

SUMMARY OP FIRE REPORTS

 

The fire season of 1913 was marked by relative freedom from serious fires, on account of the generally satisfactory distribution of rain. However, the season of 1914 was the most serious in many years in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia and in the western portion of Quebec, dry spells of almost unprecedented severity occur-ring in both spring and autumn. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the eastern half of Quebec the climatic conditions were such that very


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