Fire Preparedness Under Scrutiny

VICTORIA – As it audits forestry operations across B.C. this summer, the Forest Practices Board will be looking closely at how prepared the forest industry is to deal with accidental fire starts.

“The Wildfire Act requires a forestry operator to ensure an adequate fire suppression system is available on-site when conducting high-risk activities that could potentially cause a fire, including tree felling and skidding logs in a cutblock,” said board chair Al Gorley. “Board auditors pay close attention to this requirement when we audit forestry operations.”

In other years, the lack of proper fire tools and equipment has been an issue that has come up fairly often during board audits. The current dry conditions and high levels of forest fuels in some parts of the province make it especially important for people working in the forest to be prepared to put out a fire quickly.

Fire suppression equipment includes tools like shovels and mattocks, and a water source, such as back tank pumps or water tanks carried on trucks. An excavator or other machinery that can move soil is also helpful in extinguishing a fire quickly. The legislation does not specify what is adequate in a given situation, so good judgment has to be applied based on the conditions and the operating environment at a specific site.

The board will audit forestry operations throughout the province this summer, including harvest blocks, road construction and maintenance, replanting and other obligations associated with forest tenures.

The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board audits forest and range practices on public lands and appropriateness of government enforcement. It can also make recommendations for improvement to practices and legislation.

Media contact:
Helen Davies, Communications
Forest Practices Board
Phone: 250 213-4708 / 1 800 994-5899

For more information on the Forest Practices Board, visit

July 5, 2010