Fire and vegetation management in the Mountain National Parks

Wildfires in the mountain national parks

Our crews are monitoring the mountain parks for fires on an on-going basis.

Prescribed fires

Parks Canada uses carefully planned prescribed fire to safely restore and maintain this important ecological process.

Community protection

Efforts are underway to reduce the risk of wildfire. Parks Canada is an active partner of the “FireSmart” program.

Vegetation management

There is a need to actively manage vegetation in order to preserve the ecological integrity of a park and for visitor benefit.

Fire is part of the landscape

For thousands of years, fire has been an integral part of Canada’s landscape. Here in the mountain national parks, it has played a significant and important role in shaping types of vegetation and wildlife species we have in the park.

In the early years

In the early years of our national parks system, fire was seen as something that destroyed scenic beauty and wildlife. The first national park wardens (called Fire and Game Guardians) were hired in 1909 primarily to extinguish wildfires.

In the absence of regular fires

In the absence of regular fires, vegetation changed in the mountain parks. We now have less diverse forests, which offers less diversity of wildlife habitat, forests that are more susceptible to insects and disease and an increased chance of catastrophic wildfire due to a build up of fire fuels in our forests.

Today we use carefully planned prescribed fire

To address these challenges, fire management policies now acknowledge the importance of fire in the mountain national parks. While we continue to suppress threatening wildfires, we now work to reintroduce fire and its benefits to our landscapes. Our current program has evolved from decades of experience fighting, lighting and researching the effects of fire on the landscape. Parks Canada is now a leader in fire management.

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