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FPAC: Canada’s forestry industry welcomes new national wildland fire safety regulations

Last week, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) introduced the Canadian Wildland Fire Prevention and Mitigation Strategy, designed to increase awareness and investment in wildfire prevention and mitigation across the country.

Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) welcomes this proactive strategy to address worsening wildfires and their impacts on human health and safety, community infrastructure, the environment and local economies.

“The 2023 Canadian wildfire season was our most devastating season in history – scorching roughly twenty-five times the forested land base compared to what Canada’s registered professional foresters across the country would harvest and renew in an entire year. In addition to the devastation these fires caused, they also served as a wake-up call for us to be more proactive in managing our forests and fire risks in the future,” said FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor.

“FPAC supports last week’s announcement from CCFM, which underlines the urgency, but details will matter,” Nighbor said. “We need to look at land planning and forest management in this country through a fire lens. That includes accelerating and increasing investments in fireshed mapping, supporting more active thinning and community fire resilience, and establishing a clear national effort to find valuable uses and markets for low-value wood and biomass ” added Nighbor.

In January, FPAC published How Canada’s Forest Sector Can Support Wildfire Resilience, a report with several recommendations on how government, forest workers and communities can work together to address the growing risks of wildfires, including:

• Encouraging the federal government to fund climate change vulnerability assessments in and around forested communities and improve fireshed mapping.

• Supporting municipalities and Indigenous communities to ensure they have the necessary funds and tools to make their communities fire safe, including the use of measures such as thinning and prescribed burns.

• Accelerating growth and investment in Canada’s forest bioeconomy to develop new markets for low-value timber and remove dead and decaying wood from our forests to improve forest health and reduce fuel loads.

“We look forward to continuing our work with federal and provincial governments, Indigenous peoples, and local community and labor leaders in forested communities to keep our people safer, protect critical infrastructure, improve air quality by reducing CO2 emissions from reduce fire and create greater economic growth. opportunities in rural and northern Canada,” said Nighbor.

FPAC provides a voice to Canada’s producers of wood, pulp, paper and wood-based bioproducts, nationally and internationally, on government, trade and environmental issues. As an industry with more than $73 billion in annual revenue, Canada’s forestry sector is one of the country’s largest employers, operating in hundreds of communities, supporting 205,000 direct jobs and more than 600,000 indirect jobs across the country. Our members are committed to working with Indigenous leaders, government agencies and other key stakeholders to develop a Canada-wide action plan aimed at promoting forest health while protecting workers, communities and our environment in the long run term support.