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THE RAILWAY FIRE SITUATION   49

province, unless the co-operation of the railway concerned in each case, or of limit-holders threatened by the slashing, could be secured. As to Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the provision would apparently be through action by the Dominion Government, since a very large percentage of the timber lands along railway lines in these provinces is held under Dominion timber license.

Legislation should also be enacted, to provide against the accumulation of inflammable debris from future cutting operations on lands immediately adjacent to railway rights-of-way. Such legislation should be made applicable to settlers' clearings as well as to lumbering operations. Laws which include provisions for the disposal of slashings along railway lines are in effect in Minnesota, Oregon, New York and New jersey, and are advocated in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and several other states. It will thus be seen that the necessity for action of this kind is becoming recognized to a constantly increasing extent.

Pending such legislation, there is unquestionably a wide field for either individual or co-operative action by the various interests concerned. Of these interests, the chief are the provincial governments, the railways, and the owners or licensees of timber lands along railway lines. Varying degrees of co-operation would be justified, according to the circumstances surrounding each case. While the provincial governments and the limit-holders, and, in some cases, the municipalities, should undoubtedly either co-operate or take individual action in this matter, the railways ate also directly interested, and are fully justified in many cases in incurring expense, either alone or on a co-operative basis, for eliminating fire hazards of this character.

As an example of the policy adopted by one of the most progressive railways in matters of fire protection, the following statement, by Mr. E. A. Ryder, Commissioner, Department of Fire Claims, Boston and Maine railroad, is quoted:

" We burn over our right-of-way each spring and autumn, but, under certain conditions, sparks from locomotives will fall outside thereof, and we naturally felt that something should be done to avoid fires on property contiguous to our right-of-way. We have, therefore, asked the owners to clear back or burn the inflammable material, such as slash, dry grass, etc., and, if for any reason they have been unable to do it, we have asked their permission to let us do the work at our expense. Last year [1913] we cleared 75 such places. We believe it is a good investment. We know it has been the means of preventing many fires, and we also know that it is a good example to a large number of land owners contiguous to our property as well as others. We figure that our moral obligation extends at least to the limit we can get protection. The added expense is not very great, because we

4-c. c.


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