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Forest Fires and the Brush Disposal Problem

Introduction by Clyde Leavitt, Chief Forester, Commission of


T HE relation between forest fires and the brush disposal problem was fully discussed in Forest Protection in Canada, 1912. Up to that time, however, the question of brush disposal had received relatively little consideration in Canada; therefore, the discussion in the 1912 report was, for the most part, based upon conditions and results of investigations in the United States. The attempt was trade in that report to draw some conclusions applicable to eastern Canada from experience under the operation of the state law of New York, which requires the lopping of tops of coniferous trees, in connection with logging operations on privately-owned lands in the Adirondack mountains. For western Canada the conclusions were based principally upon the results secured by the United States Forest Service, which has for years required some form of brush disposal as a condition of sales of government timber on the national forests.

Now, however, there is a considerable amount of information avail-able, relative to the situation in Canada, and reports have been secured from the officials best qualified to state the facts and express opinions in the matter. Some further data are also added, showing later developments in certain portions of the United States.

There is no rule which can invariably be followed in this matter, unless it be one to the effect that the owner or operator should always consider what measures, if any, are both desirable and practicable, to reduce the fire hazard on the land in question. Undoubtedly, the establishment of an efficient patrol system, aided by the construction of telephone lines, trails, look-out towers, etc., must be placed ahead of brush-disposal in order of importance. With such a system established the disposal of logging slash will be found unnecessary in some cases, and, where advisable, the measures to be taken must depend on the surrounding conditions.

Since the Dominion and Provincial governments own a very large percentage of the timber-lands in Canada, this matter is primarily one


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