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REPORTS OF COMMITTEE ON FORESTS   87

proper supervision, not only greatly reduces the fire hazard, but favors the reproduction of Douglas fir by exposing the mineral soil. However, repeated fires, and fires occurring during dry periods, not only destroy the young growth, but the seed trees as well, thus preventing or greatly retarding the establishment of a stand of commercial species.

 

Repeated Fires As a general rule, a sufficient number of seed trees is Destroy Valu- left after logging, so that one fire leaves enough for able Species, seeding purposes. Each fire thereafter, however, reduces them in proportionately larger quantities. Thus, through the diminution of seed trees, each fire makes it increasingly difficult to re-establish, by natural means, the forest on the successively burned areas. On this account, in many sections, reproduction of valuable species is wholly inadequate in amount, or is entirely lacking, since each successive fire diminishes the earning capacity of the area, from the point of view of timber production, unless artificial planting be resorted to; and this is impracticable at the present time, on any large scale, on account of the great expense involved. The same results can, however, be secured at relatively slight expense, by providing more adequate protection from fire on cut-over lands, especially those bearing young forest growth at the present time. In a sense, protection of young growth is more essential than that of mature timber, since the effect of fire is so much more disastrous, a single fire entirely destroying the young trees, while the old timber on the Pacific coast is very fire-resistant, being protected by a thick covering of bark. The additional protection needed naturally means the employment of a larger patrol force than has previously been practicable, on account of the limited funds available.

RAILWAY FIRE PROTECTION

Under the fire regulations of the Board of Railway Commissioners, the railway fire protection work has been continued along the lines of organization and policy established during 1912 and 1913. Steady improvement has taken place, and it is only fair to state that along hundreds of miles of railway lines, especially where there are no timber limits, the fire protective organizations of the railway companies have proved the most effective, and, in some cases, the only organized, agencies in those particular sections, for the extinguishing of fires. Some of the worst fires have been those which originated at a distance from the track and, in many such cases, the railways have been very effective in checking the spread of fires, for the origin of which they were in no wise responsible.


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