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202   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

 

perty involved, and (2), efficient, business-like administration of the protective organization when once established. It will be seen that the area under consideration lacks both of these prerequisites. The territory has been cut over several times. One-half of it has been abandoned by the limit-holders and the remainder has been so far abandoned that it is not considered of sufficient value to be patrolled by a fire ranger. The latter condition is the logical result of throwing the entire cost of fire protection upon the limit-holder. He has usually no financial interest in the cut-over lands, because they will eventually revert to the Crown, since he can not, as a rule, afford to wait for the young growth to reach merchantable size. As a rule he is financially interested only in the timber of present commercial value; that gets the protection, and the cut-over lands are neglected. Fire on them receives attention only when it endangers standing timber.

Value of   Under the former regulations, when the Government
Protection Not paid one-half the cost of fire protection, the lessee

Appreciated could justly be required to patrol the cut-over areas as well as the timber areas, but, under the present regulations, this hardly seems practicable, unless it be assumed that limits are to be held in perpetuity, and this assumption is usually not justified. In the actual working out of the new regulations, then, the cut-over lands are abandoned to the ravages of fire, both by the Government and by the lessees. That such a condition of affairs could exist is due to the fact that the actual owners of the land, or, in other words, the people, do not appreciate the value of their property. " Waste land" is the common appellation applied to these cut-over and burned-over areas, yet the figures already given demonstrate that they are far from that. As has been pointed out, this relatively very small area contains sufficient young growth to be worth at maturity $2,275,000. The harvesting of this timber, and the many million dollars worth of material on similar areas in the province, would mean the employment of many people; with its destruction by fire, the opportunity for such prospective employment is removed. The dues received by the Government help to meet public expense; the removal by forest fires of the possibility of collecting such dues means that money for current public expenses must be raised in some other way, with the consequent in-

crease in taxes, either direct or indirect. The people, therefore, have a direct financial interest in these cut-over lands. When they realize this, and appreciate their value, they will be efficiently protected from fire.

Where fire protection has been most efficient, it has been chiefly preventive. The means of prevention usually adopted are lookout


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