FireSmart®-ForestWise: Managing wildlife and wildfire risk in the Wildland/Urban Interface-a Canadian case study
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
Author(s): Alan Westhaver; Richard D. Revel; Brad C. Hawkes
Editor(s): Wayne A. Cook; Bret W. Butler
Publication Year: 2007

Cataloging Information

  • Alberta
  • Canada
  • ecosystem management
  • fire management
  • FireSmart
  • ForestWise
  • fuel treatments
  • Jasper National Park
  • Priority Zone
  • wildfire protection planning
  • wildfire risk
  • wildlife mitigation
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: April 20, 2016
FRAMES Record Number: 12566


Reducing the risk of losses from wildfires that threaten homes and communities is a growing priority in Canada. To reduce risk, FireSmart® standards have been adopted nationwide for managing forest fuel. However, these standards largely disregard interests of wildlife and conservation of wildlife habitat, thus raising concerns among residents and other stakeholders. To be acceptable, fuel treatments in wildland/urban interface areas of Jasper National Park, Alberta, required that potential environmental impacts and the requirements of wildlife also be carefully considered. A research project conducted in conjunction with the Foothills Model Forest used literature and experimental manipulations to develop ecologically based approaches for treating fuel in ways that optimize conditions for wildlife, within constraints of current standards. The research was conducted during a 30-month prototype project on more than 250 ha of forest surrounding the community of Jasper, Alberta. The study concluded fuel treatments for the purpose of reducing wildfire risk can be compatible with wildlife habitat conservation and ecosystem restoration goals. This paper describes the interface challenges faced by park managers, explains the adaptive management approach used to develop practicable solutions, and describes resulting species-specific mitigations, guidelines, and best practices that satisfy community wildfire protection standards and ecosystem management objectives, concurrently.

Online Link(s):
Westhaver, Alan; Revel, Richard D.; Hawkes, Brad C. 2007. FireSmart®-ForestWise: Managing wildlife and wildfire risk in the Wildland/Urban Interface-a Canadian case study. Pages 347-365. In: Butler, Bret W.; Cook, Wayne (compilers). The fire environment-innovations, management, and policy; conference proceedings. 26-30 March 2007; Destin, FL. Proceedings RMRS-P-46CD. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.