Fifty Years of Wildland Fire Science in Canada

Submitted by Climate Risk Institute | published 12th Jul 2022 | last updated 13th Jan 2023
The Sawback Prescribed Fire (10 October 2014)

The Sawback Prescribed Fire (10 October 2014). An example of a complex, landscape-level prescribed fire implemented by Parks Canada. Photo credit: Parks Canada / C. Siddall / Catalogue No. DSC_1591, 10 October 2014. [Colour online.]


This resource was submitted by the Climate Risk Institute for the CanAdapt Climate Change Adaptation Community of Practice. 

This article is an abridged version of the original text "Fifty years of wildland fire science in Canada" published in Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 51(2), under the CC BY 4.0 license in February 2021 © Coogan et al. Please note that references have been removed. For more detail, full references, and to quote text please use the paper available for download on the right.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, this report reflects on the progress accomplished in select areas of Canadian wildland fire science over the past half century. The article highlights key developments and contributions in the creation of the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System; the relationships between wildland fire and weather, climate, and climate change; fire ecology; operational decision support; and wildland fire management. We also discuss the evolution of wildland fire management in Banff National Park as a case study. We conclude by discussing some possible directions in future Canadian wildland fire research including the further evaluation of fire severity measurements and effects; the efficacy of fuel management treatments; climate change effects and mitigation; further refinement of models pertaining to fire risk analysis, fire behaviour, and fire weather; and the integration of forest management and ecological restoration with wildland fire risk reduction. Throughout the paper, we reference many contributions published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, which has been at the forefront of international wildland fire science.

Fig. 5. Timeline of some key developments in Canadian wildland fire science by decade from the 1970s to the 2010s. FWI, Fire Weather Index System; FBP, Fire Behaviour Prediction System; NSERC, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.



Sean C.P. CooganLori D. DanielsDen BoychukPhilip J. BurtonMike D. FlanniganSylvie GauthierVictor KafkaJane S. Park, and B. Mike Wotton. Fifty years of wildland fire science in Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research51(2): 283-302.