Climate Change, Forest Fire Management & Interagency Cooperation in Canada
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Climate change has begun to affect the frequency, intensity, and duration of weather related disaster events. This trend may foster a greater probability of encountering 2 or more disaster events simultaneously, increasing the potential to deplete emergency resources. Using Canadian forest fire management as a focal point, this research has determined the extent to which forest fire resource sharing (resources being equipment, fire fighter teams, planes, etc.) has been able to mitigate the impacts of simultaneous forest fire events induced by climate change. Provincial and territorial forest fire management agencies are responsible for forest fire suppression within their jurisdictions, but when fires exceed their suppression capabilities they may request resources from other agencies using resource sharing agreements including: Compact agreements with American States, other international agreements and agreements initiated through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center (CIFFC). If the potential for simultaneous forest fires is neglected, excess fire activity may overwhelm the resource sharing structure. A historical analysis, 2 case studies, and a survey were employed to uncover information regarding simultaneous forest fires. Moreover, an examination of other resource sharing disciplines was used to uncover new ways of approaching resource sharing issues. The results of this study show that simultaneous fire events have overwhelmed the resource sharing system (during at least two years 1998 and 2003) and that modifications are needed to prepare for the potential increase in forest fire frequency.