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Home » Environment » Behind the Flames: Addressing Canada’s Forest Fires
Dr. Mike Flannigan

Dr. Mike Flannigan

Professor of Wildland Fire, University of Alberta & Director, Canada Wildfire

Canada is facing growing challenges from forest fires. On average, 7,000 fires burn an area half the size of Nova Scotia every year in Canada. High-profile fires such as the ones in Fort McMurray, AB (2016), British Columbia (2017 and 2018), and Parry Sound, ON (2018) have emphasized the need to better understand forest fires and the science behind them.

How do fires affect us?

Forest fires have countless impacts on our environment, economy, and communities. No matter where you live in Canada, wildfire has affected your life. Wildfire is a threat in various ways. Possible impacts to:

  • Health and safety
  • Communities, property, and infrastructure
  • Valuable timber
  • Plants and animals 
  • Clean air and water
  • Cultural heritage

These risks will continue to grow as more people live, recreate, and work within our forests.

How do fires affect the forests?

Forest fires in Canada have an important ecological role in our forests. Many plants and animals have developed different approaches to survive and grow after a forest fire, and some forests rely on fire as a chance to renew. 

How is Canada Wildfire helping?

Managing the forest involves reducing the impact of forest fires while still allowing for their natural benefits. Canada Wildfire (the Canadian Partnership for Wildland Fire Science) is a partnership that investigates the various positive and negative effects of forest fires. We help fire managers make informed decisions when faced with fires that threaten our forests and communities. Our goal is to provide excellence in forest fire research, technology, education, and training.

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