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46   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

this work, including disposal of the annual accumulation of dry grass, weeds, etc. Experience has, however, shown that in the case of many railways, a close inspection by the Board assists materially in securing, an efficient handling of this work by railway companies. Much attention has accordingly been paid to this matter by the fire inspection department, and probably more progress was made in right-of-way clearing work during 1914 than in any previous year.

Clearing   The problem of railway fire protection through forest

Outside sections can never be solved satisfactorily until ade-Rights-of-way quate provision is made for the disposal of inflammable-debris on lands immediately adjacent to railway rights-of-way. In most cases the removal of inflammable debris from a strip of even 50 feet outside the right-of-way would decrease the fire hazard materially, though 100 feet would be much preferable.

In no part of Canada thus far has there been an adequate handling of this matter, through both legislative and administrative action. As in other matters of forest protection, however, the situation is most favourable in British Columbia. In that province, under the Forest Act, and the provisions of the new form of license in effect since 1912, much progress has been made in securing the disposal of recent slash along railway lines under construction. The adjacent timber lands are very generally Crown lands, and the cutting operations are, for the most part, by contractors, in connection with securing material for ties and other construction purposes. Here, as also in the case of timber licenses recently issued, there is provision for enforced brush disposal, and the policy has been adopted of safeguarding, so far as, practicable, a strip of limited width on both sides of the right-of-way. The situation is very different, however, as to lines constructed before 1912. The timber licenses along these lines of railway are of older standing and they do not contain the effective brush disposal pro-visions of those issued during the past three years. As a rule, timber lands along these railway lines were cut over years ago, they being naturally among the most accessible. No provision for brush disposal was made, either by the operators or by the provincial government. In most cases, these operations were carried on before the. question of brush disposal on lumbering operations was seriously raised in either Canada or the United States. The result is a serious. fire hazard, in the form of highly inflammable lumbering debris, as well as dry grass and weeds, immediately adjacent to a very consider-able railway mileage. While the percentage of live sparks liable to fall outside the right-of-way is small, still some fires do result, and the-severity of these fires, and the difficulty of controlling them, are greatly


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