Fire is a natural ecological process that shapes and forms grasslands and forests while providing many benefits.
In the forest, fire removes dead vegetation, which allows the sun to reach the forest floor and recycle nutrients. Grasslands require fire to re-open the land from encroaching aspen forest. Fire can also reduce parasites that may impact various mammals and it stimulates new food growth in both habitats that many species rely on.
For several decades leading up to and then after Prince Albert National Park was created in 1928, wildfires were viewed as destructive forces and were aggressively extinguished. This one-sided view of fire created an imbalance in the park’s forests and grasslands. Current fire management practice focusses on protecting human life first, followed by, private property, park infrastructure and cultural assets. Prescribed fires, or intentionally lit fires, help return this regenerative process to forest and grassland ecosystems in a safe and controlled manner.
Wildfires that occur within park boundaries are managed so that lives are not threatened and infrastructure is not impacted, to the degree that is possible.
Careful planning, implementing various fire management practices, and monitoring help ensure the safety of people while improving park ecosystems so visitors can enjoy this unique region for generations to come.