with immature stands or inferior species, from which no material revenue can be expected for some time. As we have seen, these are administered separately and by two distinct organizations, the one concerned with the business incident to licenses, the other mainly a field force in charge of reserves—an undesirable division of authority.
The protection of all Dominion forest lands is in the hands of the Forestry Branch,* with one force for the reserves and another for the lands outside reserves, the latter enforcing provincial fire regulations. From the standpoint of legislative authority the reserves force is backed by efficient regulations, as is also the other staff so far as the railway belt is concerned. It has been pointed out, though, that the rangers protecting timber outside reserves in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are working under ancient legislation, designed to control prairie, not forest fires.
The greatest menace to the safety of timber, namely, the slash evil, is, however, beyond the reach of the protective force. In the case of settlers' slash, this is because of inadequate fire laws in the prairie provinces. In the case of lumbering slash, it is owing to the operations on licensed berths being without their jurisdiction.
This matter of slash disposal is one of pressing importance, but only comes to notice periodically with the advent of an unusually dry season, such as 1910. Then, small fires, by reaching old cuttings, attain uncontrollable size. Long as this relationship has been realized, it is only of recent years that steps have been taken to meet the situation. The lead was taken by the United States Government, and now all their timber sale contracts contain an agreement on the part of the purchaser to dispose of the debris after the method designated. This is also the case in the province of British Columbia, in all recent sales. Many coast lumbermen in British Columbia, operating under old licenses, burn their slash of their own volition. It is becoming more and more recognized that slash disposal is an integral part of the logging business.
The different methods of disposal, with their advantages and objections, have been already outlined (pp. 254-256). The strongest objection is the cost, and Canadian lumbermen must compete with outside manufacturers. At present the disposal of all lumbering slash on Dominion berths can not be advocated. It is in many cases unnecessary, and in others too expensive. But there is no necessity to continue in our old-time ways and keep the fire risk as high as possible. A start must be made in the locations of greater hazard; these will be among the operations closest to civilization (i.e., transportation), and such have a financial advantage over more remote ones
*The only exception is the New Westminster timber agency.