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Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks Fire Management Plan

Interested in fire and its role in a park environment? We want to hear from you!

What is a Fire Management Plan?

The fire management plan directs the prevention and control of wildfire to protect people, property and landscapes, and the use of fire for meeting ecosystem goals in Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks, for the next 10 years.

How does the Fire Management Plan support the Park Management Plan?

Park management plans provide strategic direction for park management decisions. Fire management plans provide operational direction for the priorities outlined by park management plans. The fire management program, guided by the Fire Management Plan, delivers primarily on priorities for ecological integrity and public safety.

Why is a Fire Management Plan important?

The new plan builds on thirty years of previous fire management planning and experience. It describes the legal and administrative framework for national park fire management: fire management strategies and objectives including ecosystem restoration using prescribed fire; wildfire preparedness and response; fire personnel organization and training requirements; fire effects monitoring; and communications, public engagement, and visitor experience objectives and actions.

Have your say!

The public engagement program on the draft plan will run from February 8 – April 30, 2019. Feedback received will be used to inform revisions the Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks Fire Management Plan prior to a final review and approval by the Park Superintendents.


Executive Summary

The plan is a blueprint for fire protection and fire restoration within Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks. It integrates policy, strategic direction, and field-level actions to achieve positive outcomes for the environment and for people. It is founded upon principles of long term sustainability, co-ordinated internal delivery, and a nationally consistent approach to fire management. In addition to the national parks, the plan covers the Cave and Basin, Rocky Mountain House and Kootenae House national historic sites as well as the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch.

Management actions are guided by clear strategic guidance, thorough consultation, and established performance measures with a focus on science-based decision making. Preparation of this plan has involved consultation with managers within the Parks Canada Agency, Indigenous Peoples, stakeholders and adjacent land managers regarding shared opportunities and challenges, and mutually beneficial approaches to managing and using fire at a landscape level.

The first Banff Fire Management Plan (White, 1984) set the stage for progressive, science-based fire management to offset the negative impacts of fire exclusion on Parks Canada lands in the mountain parks. More than three decades later, monitoring and research have determined that focused intervention is required to: 1) protect the public and infrastructure as necessary; 2) allow wildfire to fulfil its ecological role with minimal interference wherever possible; and 3) conduct prescribed fires to offset the detrimental effects of fire suppression.

The primary goal of protecting public and infrastructure from the negative effects of wildfire are addressed in this plan through clearly defined resourcing levels, preparedness guidelines, and strategic fire zoning. Furthermore, fuel management implementation guidelines are focused on maintaining or improving existing fuel management units and creating landscape level fuel breaks to assist in safe implementation of prescribed fire in Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks.

Fundamental to the success of Parks Canada’s fire program is public acceptance of fire as a process vital to maintaining biological structure, function and diversity. The need to embrace the concept and practice of living with fire while mitigating its impacts is essential to ensuring that the public, property and ecosystems are protected. Accordingly, the plan addresses the public communications, engagement and visitor experience in as key components of delivering the fire program.


Interested in fire and its role in a park environment? We want to hear from you!

What is a Fire Management Plan?

The fire management plan directs the prevention and control of wildfire to protect people, property and landscapes, and the use of fire for meeting ecosystem goals in Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks, for the next 10 years.

How does the Fire Management Plan support the Park Management Plan?

Park management plans provide strategic direction for park management decisions. Fire management plans provide operational direction for the priorities outlined by park management plans. The fire management program, guided by the Fire Management Plan, delivers primarily on priorities for ecological integrity and public safety.

Why is a Fire Management Plan important?

The new plan builds on thirty years of previous fire management planning and experience. It describes the legal and administrative framework for national park fire management: fire management strategies and objectives including ecosystem restoration using prescribed fire; wildfire preparedness and response; fire personnel organization and training requirements; fire effects monitoring; and communications, public engagement, and visitor experience objectives and actions.

Have your say!

The public engagement program on the draft plan will run from February 8 – April 30, 2019. Feedback received will be used to inform revisions the Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks Fire Management Plan prior to a final review and approval by the Park Superintendents.


Executive Summary

The plan is a blueprint for fire protection and fire restoration within Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks. It integrates policy, strategic direction, and field-level actions to achieve positive outcomes for the environment and for people. It is founded upon principles of long term sustainability, co-ordinated internal delivery, and a nationally consistent approach to fire management. In addition to the national parks, the plan covers the Cave and Basin, Rocky Mountain House and Kootenae House national historic sites as well as the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch.

Management actions are guided by clear strategic guidance, thorough consultation, and established performance measures with a focus on science-based decision making. Preparation of this plan has involved consultation with managers within the Parks Canada Agency, Indigenous Peoples, stakeholders and adjacent land managers regarding shared opportunities and challenges, and mutually beneficial approaches to managing and using fire at a landscape level.

The first Banff Fire Management Plan (White, 1984) set the stage for progressive, science-based fire management to offset the negative impacts of fire exclusion on Parks Canada lands in the mountain parks. More than three decades later, monitoring and research have determined that focused intervention is required to: 1) protect the public and infrastructure as necessary; 2) allow wildfire to fulfil its ecological role with minimal interference wherever possible; and 3) conduct prescribed fires to offset the detrimental effects of fire suppression.

The primary goal of protecting public and infrastructure from the negative effects of wildfire are addressed in this plan through clearly defined resourcing levels, preparedness guidelines, and strategic fire zoning. Furthermore, fuel management implementation guidelines are focused on maintaining or improving existing fuel management units and creating landscape level fuel breaks to assist in safe implementation of prescribed fire in Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks.

Fundamental to the success of Parks Canada’s fire program is public acceptance of fire as a process vital to maintaining biological structure, function and diversity. The need to embrace the concept and practice of living with fire while mitigating its impacts is essential to ensuring that the public, property and ecosystems are protected. Accordingly, the plan addresses the public communications, engagement and visitor experience in as key components of delivering the fire program.


Banff, Kootenay and Yoho National Parks Draft Fire Management Plan

The following form will take approximately 15 minutes.

A key component in the development of the Fire Management Plan is getting the views of interested Indigenous nations, key stakeholders and Canadians. It is only through public involvement that Parks Canada can ensure that the future direction of the park reflects the perspectives and aspirations of the people it is held in trust for.


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The Fire Management Plan describes how Parks Canada proposes to prevent and control wildfire in the national parks to protect people, property, and restore the environment over the next ten years….

The draft Strategic Environmental Assessment was completed in order to help Parks Canada understand the potential impacts of implementing the plan.

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