Science at Work: Forest Fire Research

Science at Work: Forest Fire Research


Every year, thousands of people across the country are evacuated from their homes because of forest fires burning nearby. These fires can pose a serious threat to people living in nearby communities

But what can we do about it?

This is "Science at Work", where we showcase the work of the scientists and engineers at Natural Resources Canada.

In Canada, the forest fire season starts in March and continues right through to October. While some fires extinguish quickly, others burn for months and can ravage hundreds of square kilometres of land.

Now, forest fires aren’t always a bad thing and are actually considered a natural part of forest regeneration. They consume decaying vegetation on the forest floor and clear the way for new growth.

However, forest fires can cause considerable damage and costs as well as impacting people living in nearby communities.

Scientists at Natural Resources Canada tell us to expect an increase in forest fire frequency as a result of climate change. That’s why – in a country as vast as Canada, that’s home to nine per cent of the world's forests – research into preventing forest fires and mitigating their negative consequences is so important.

Here are some of the key areas of interest for forest fire research at Natural Resources Canada:

  • studying wildland fire behaviour, including how flames ignite and fire spreads;
  • exploring how a changing climate will affect the occurrence and behaviour of fire; and
  • developing prevention strategies to protect, people, property and the forest resource.

Through its Canadian Wildland Fire Information System, Natural Resources Canada produces daily maps that display fire danger and fire occurrence across the country. The system provides information for use by the public, media, researchers, fire agencies, first responders, and other organizations.

Forest fire research is just one of the many ways that Natural Resources Canada's science is helping to improve the quality of life of Canadians.

To learn more about forest fires and how Natural Resources Canada contributes to forest fire prevention and monitoring, please visit our website below.

Thank you and see you next time...