Wildfire risk reduction
Every year, communities are evacuated and properties are lost in wildfires across North America. Many of these fires occur in the ‘wildland-urban interface’ – an area where homes and businesses are nestled among trees along the edge of a forest or other flammable vegetation. The townsite of Waskesiu, in Prince Albert National Park, is surrounded by 3,785 square kilometres of wilderness and is an example of the wildland-urban interface in central Saskatchewan.
Parks Canada takes wildfire preparedness seriously and is taking preventative measures to reduce the risk from potential wildfires to Waskesiu and neighbouring communities.
A fuel break is an area where coniferous trees (trees with needles) and forest floor woody fuels are removed.
The Waskesiu Community Fuel Break, created in 2001-2002, and the east boundary fuel break, established in 2017 reduce the fuel load adjacent to the communities of Waskesiu and Elk Ridge. This provides firefighters a feature from which they can work to defend the townsite in the event that a wildfire threatens the community.
FireSmart Demonstration Area
The FireSmart demonstration area is 4 hectares of vegetation in the Waskesiu townsite that is actively managed to address the wildfire reality of the fire-dependent ecosystems found in Prince Albert National Park. Adjacent to the Waskesiu Golf Course and Highway 263, Parks Canada is using fuel management strategies to showcase the FireSmart priority zones and to help protect critical park infrastructure in the event of a wildfire. Once completed, the public can see, read, and learn about the principles of the FireSmart program in practice, and understand how to apply the same principles to their properties located in the wildland-urban interface. (see map)
Home and business owners can take simple steps to help reduce the risk from potential wildfires to their properties. Parks Canada is an active partner of the “FireSmart” program that focuses on how individuals and communities can work together to reduce the risk of loss from wildfires in communities across Canada.
Get started by following these easy FireSmart tips:
- Remove piles of sticks, fallen trees, and other fuel loads
- Clear gutters, eaves and vents of collected materials
- Keep windows clear
- Trim trees
- Keep porches and decks clear or screened
- Screen or seal all soffits
- Mow the lawn routinely. Keep sprinklers handy
- Learn how to assess your risk from wildfire using FireSmart principles
Pick up a FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual at the Prince Albert National Park Visitor Centre or visit www.firesmartcanada.ca to learn more.