This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
March 11, 2021
We are updating the Fire Management Policy for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves to align with the Wildland Fire Management Strategy. These changes will modernize and streamline fire management planning for these protected areas and enhance opportunities for the ecological benefits of fire, while continuing to protect people and property.
The purpose of the policy is to establish an approach for informing appropriate response to wildland fire in provincial parks and conservation reserves and identifying opportunities for prescribed burning.
Ontario’s Fire Management Policy for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves
Fire is an essential natural process for maintaining and restoring healthy, functioning ecosystems. The aim of fire management in provincial parks and conservation reserves is to use wildland fire and prescribed burning to achieve ecological benefits. The protection of human life and property is an overriding priority.
The Fire Management Policy for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves:
- requires that fire management direction be developed for every provincial park and conservation reserve to guide fire response and use
- promotes the ecological role of fire in maintaining and restoring ecosystems
The existing policy has been effective at ensuring the role of fire is considered and documented in the management direction for provincial parks and conservation reserves. However, there are two challenges impacting the existing policy:
- There are 9 fire response or fire management plans in place for 23 provincial parks and conservation reserves. These plans include more detailed direction for responding to wildland fire. While these plans have helped to achieve the ecological benefits of wildfire, other provincial parks and conservation reserves could also benefit from having plans in place.
- There have been changes to the strategic direction for fire management in the province. The Wildland Fire Management Strategy directs that all wildland fires receive an appropriate response according to conditions at the time of a fire. Fires that are not threatening public safety or values may be managed to:
- limit negative impacts
- realize ecological benefits
- manage costs
We are proposing changes to the policy to:
- update direction for fire management in provincial parks and conservation reserves in accordance with the Wildland Fire Management Strategy
- streamline fire management planning for more efficient delivery of information to support fire response decisions
- simplifying and clarifying requirements for fire management planning to guide wildland fire response and prescribed burning
- preparing assets, resources and opportunities maps to inform decisions about the appropriate response to fire, in locations where the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is responsible for wildland fire management
- allowing flexibility for developing fire management plans when more detailed planning is needed
- using local and Indigenous knowledge to inform fire management planning
- encouraging fire research and promoting opportunities for learning about the benefits of fire and fire prevention
- rescinding class and zone-specific provincial park policies on prescribed burning, fire suppression and fire management planning in Ontario Provincial Parks: Planning and Management Policies so that decisions can be made based on local management interests
These changes will:
- modernize fire management direction for provincial parks and conservation reserves
- improve the efficiency of fire management planning
- enhance opportunities to use fire for ecological benefits
The Fire Management Planning Guideline for Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves is being updated to reflect changes to the policy. Consultation on the policy and guideline are being conducted concurrently. See ERO number 019-0417 to learn more about proposed changes to the guideline.
The proposed policy and guideline were developed jointly by Ontario Parks (Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks) and Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry).
Public consultation opportunities
Indigenous communities and provincial treaty organizations have been informed of the proposed policy and invited to comment. Key stakeholders have also been notified of the consultation opportunity.
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Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.
Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.
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