Wherever residential, industrial, or agricultural developments are located within or near wildland settings with natural vegetation they are at risk from wildfire. We call such areas the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI). Manitoba averages approximately 544 wildfires every year, many of which threaten homes, businesses, farms or industrial installations. Fire is a natural element in any forest or grassland. Like storms, avalanches and floods, it is a powerful force of change in nature.
Fire plays many valuable roles in our forest, parkland, and grassland ecosystems. Historic fires produced the varied mosaic of scenery and habitats that support many species of wildlife and birds. This makes forested and wildland areas highly desirable places to live. What makes them so attractive, however, also makes them hazardous. While vegetation is an amenity for residents, it is a source of fuel for a fire.
Prevention and control of interface fires present many unique challenges. These challenges also require that communities take collective responsibility for the problem, and that we develop new attitudes towards fire. All members of the community need to cooperate to implement novel approaches that resolve fire problems in the Wildland/Urban Interface.
Fuel management initiatives can help reduce the danger of devastating wildfire losses. Landscaping changes can help to reduce the risk of wildfire damage, consult the FireSmart Landscape Brochure for further information. To assist home and business owners in fire prevention and protection check out Manitoba's Home Owner's FireSmart Manual and the Wildfire Evacuation Brochure.
For further in depth community preparedness planning refer to the “FireSmart: Protecting Your Community From Wildfire” guidebook at FireSmartCanada.ca.