Previous Forest Protection in Canada 1913-1914 Next

 

48   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

{

to railway lines have been so frequently and so completely burned over that the slashings have been consumed, and the problem has been changed from one of brush disposal as a preventive measure, to one of general fire protection, in order to permit the re-establishment of a young forest growth.

The governments of Ontario and Quebec have, however, given some consideration to the matter of legislation somewhat similar to the provisions of the British Columbia Forest Act above referred to, with a view of making it possible to enforce the disposal of inflammable debris where the same is a menace to life or property.

The Forest Fires Prevention Act of Ontario has been amended (Bill No. 110, third reading, April 27, 1914,) by providing that the municipal council of any city, town or township, may file a statement with the Minister of Lands, Forests and Mines, where it appears that the condition of any land within the limits of the municipality or adjacent thereto is, by reason of unfinished clearing, a source of danger from fire to property within the municipality. The Minister is authorized, after investigation, to require the owner to properly clean up the land, to such an extent as may be necessary to remove the source of danger from fire. Since this amendment apparently requires the initiative to be taken in each case by the municipal council, it seems doubtful whether it will prove as effective as would be the case could the initiative be taken by any interested party, or by the Minister direct. This section is not applicable to ordinary lumbering slash on non-agricultural lands under license from the provincial governments, but only to lands located, purchased, assigned or occupied for agricultural purposes. It is, therefore, not sufficient to meet the general situation above described.

It is believed that, so far as existing slash is concerned, the adequate solution of this problem demands the enactment, in each of the eastern provinces, of an act similar to that in British Columbia, authorizing some executive officer, for instance, the Minister having jurisdiction over the Crown lands of the province, to issue an order requiring the owner or lessee of forest lands adjacent to railway lines to make satisfactory disposal of inflammable debris on a strip of specified width adjacent to railway rights-of-way, where, in the judgment of such officer, this action is necessary in the public interest, as a matter of fire protection. In the case of Crown timber lands under license, the question would, of course, have to be considered whether the licensee should bear the whole cost of this work, or a portion should be borne by the provincial government. In the case of Crown lands not under license, the whole cost must obviously fall upon the


Previous Forest Protection in Canada 1913-1914 Next