Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Forest Fires in Manitoba: What You Need to Know

Bison's Forest Fire Tips

In Manitoba, we wait all winter long for the heat of summer. We make the most out of our limited days of extreme warmth by spending long days in the sun, hosting BBQ’s for friends and loved ones, and letting the evenings turn into night around a cozy fire. But what we don’t often remember is that the extreme heat, rolling thunder storms, strong gusts of wind, and unattended campfires are the perfect brew for forest fires in Manitoba.

So how do forest fires start, and what can you do to prevent a forest fire from starting?

How Forest Fires Start

According to data from the National Forestry Database, there are over 8000 wildfires that occur each year in Canada. On average, these wildfires can burn over 2.1 million hectares throughout the country. There are only two ways that a forest fire can start: by humans or by nature. Lightning is believed to cause around 50% of these fires, but make up an incredible 85% of the area of land burned each year.

This is because human started fires are usually detected earlier once they’ve started as compared to fires started by natural occurrences, meaning that they can be better contained. Natural fires, on the other hand, tend to burn for long periods before being detected by communities or fire-fighting professionals. Other causes of forest fires are:

  • Smoking
  • Recreational equipment
  • Unattended fires
  • Agricultural equipment

Most Fires Caused by Humans Completely Preventable

The total landscape in Manitoba is predominately wooded areas. With our total land area measuring in at 63.6 million hectares, 36. 3 million hectares are forested areas and other wooded areas. This means over 57% of our total land area is forested, that must be protected.

Every year, Manitoba implements a ban on open fires from April 1st through to November 15th. This doesn’t mean that all fires are banned, though. Manitobans can still enjoy the warmth of a fire in approved firepits that are enclosed, like campfire pits at provincial or national camping areas.

Fires that begin due to campfires can usually be tied to unattended fires in an open or unapproved firepit, and are completely preventable.

Practice Forest Fire Safety in Manitoba

If you want to be more conscious about preventing forest fires in Manitoba, ensure you’re practicing the following fire safety tips:

  • Only start fires in approved and enclosed firepits.
  • Avoid starting a fire in extremely hot, dry, or windy weather conditions.
  • Don’t ever throw cigarette butts onto the ground. If you must smoke while in a heavily wooded area, ensure you bring along a portable ashtray.
  • Keep fire safety equipment nearby at all times. If outdoors, items such as water, a shovel, and some sort of fire retardant are key items to have around.
  • Take care when using items such as matches, lanterns, or other high-heat or smoking materials.

Enjoy your outdoor time in Manitoba safely this summer. For more information on preventing forest fires in Manitoba, or what type of fire safety equipment best fits your needs, let Bison Fire Protection help. With fire safety services available in Winnipeg, Thompson, Brandon, Regina, Saskatoon, and Kenora, we’re here to help you and your loved ones stay safe. Contact us at 866-441-3473 to schedule an appointment with us today.

Posted by Rob Read at 8:53 AM

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