National Forest Week 2015

The 2015 theme: Wildland Fire

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Mountains, forests and rivers define the Kootenay region. Above:  the Elk River.

Mountains, forests and rivers define the Kootenay region. Above: the Elk River. — Kimberley Gonzalez photo

Back when National Forest Week was instituted in the 1920s, it was all about preventing wildfires. Now we know that fire has a role to play in healthy, renewable forests and grasslands. But in Canada we live and work close to our forests, which means there’s always potential for danger to life and property. That’s why this year’s theme is Wildland Fire.

The Canadian Forestry Association urges us to “play a role in control:” to learn to live with and manage for wildfire. An organization called FireSmart provides plenty of resources for doing this, including a downloadable manual called the FireSmart Guide to Landscaping. One of its tips is to avoid landscaping with highly flammable plants around your home.

Highly flammable plants:

Contain fine, dry, dead material within the plant
Have stems, branches and leaves containing wax or oil
Often have gummy, resinous sap with a strong odour
May have loose, papery bark

Fire-resistant plants:

Have moist, supple leaves
Contain little dead wood and tend not to accumulate dead material
Have water-like sap with little or no odour
Have a low amount of sap or resin material

National Forest Week is observed annually during the last full week of September, Sunday through Saturday. National Tree Day is observed on the Wednesday of National Forest Week.

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