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REPORTS OF COMMITTEE ON FORESTS   89

 

Reduction of   Railway companies throughout Canada are seriously

Railway Fire   handicapped in their efforts at fire protection by the

Hazard presence of large quantities of inflammable debris on Crown and private lands immediately adjoining railway rights-ofway. The prevention of fires through reduction of the hazard is a most essential feature of any campaign for better fire protection. All that the railways can reasonably be required to do under the regulations of the Railway Commission can never be more than partially effective so long as the lands adjoining their property are allowed to constitute the worst possible fire-traps. Further legislation. coupled with adequate enforcement, is necessary in order to provide satisfactorily for remedying the conditions on private lands and on Crown lands under license. As to Crown lands not under license, the remedy needed is not legislation, but provision for the expenditure of money, in order to gradually clean up the most dangerous sections. This, again, should be regarded, not as an expense, but as a dividend-paying investment. Work of this kind, especially along railway lines through parks and forest reserves, would be thoroughly suitable for alien enemies, for whom self-supporting employment must be furnished.

While the situation, as a whole, is still in urgent need of attention,. distinct progress has been made along this line in some individual cases.

Burning   During the year, the provincial authorities of British

of Slash   Columbia issued instructions requiring the burning

Required of slash resulting from new public road construc tion, and also made provision for a beginning at cleaning up the old road slash, left from the work of previous years. Although only a relatively small beginning has been made as yet, the situation should now improve from year to year. The reduction of fire hazard in this way will materially benefit the general situation, and will be of particular value in the numerous cases in the mountains where public wagon roads necessarily parallel the railway lines closely.

In Ontario, provision appears to have been made for the satisfactory disposal of road slash on the very considerable amount of new construction, particularly in proximity to railway lines.

Co-operation   A particularly creditable piece of co-operation has
Secures Good been brought about between the Grand Trunk rail-

Results way and the Department of Lands and Forests of Ontario, whereby an excellent beginning has been made in reducing the railway fire hazard through Algonquin park. This arrangement contemplates the careful and thorough disposal of inflammable debris on the Grand Trunk right-of-way and a strip of the Crown lands.


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