Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that occur in forests, provoked by lightning strikes and human error. The majority of human caused fires are reported and dealt with quickly, but if a fire happens in a remote area, it can be much more different.
There are many that occur each year. We've all heard of the California wildfires, and there are at the time of writing this article wildfires in Quebec, north of La Tuque. The smoke has been seen as far away as Montreal and in the United States, and has caused some health problems for some people as well.
The fires cause much ravage to the forest and its inhabitants. However, there is a positive side, and that is that forests often can come back as beautiful as ever, at least sometimes.
If you are ever in the forest when a wildfire happens, do exactly as these deer in the photo to the right have done, if you have the occasion to. If the fire is downwind of your position, head upwind because the fire will travel less quickly against the wind.
If you are caught in a wildfire, here are some things to consider:
This is another good reason to have a map and compass with you at all times when venturing out into the wilderness, as well as to have made a pre-trip plan. The map, properly oriented to the land, will give you information on where the lakes and rivers are. You then determine what the best route is to get out of danger.
If you don't have a map and you do not know the area that well, you may never know that there is a river just a kilometer away that could save you, as an example. So ALWAYS have a map and compass with you, and know how to use them. Also, know your position on the map at all times so that you can situate yourself in your surroundings. Plan your trip properly and ask the forest service personnel what the risks for wildfires are, and follow their counsel.
The following information is from the Get Prepared site of the Government of Canada.
For more info on wildfires
Canadian Forest Service - Forest fires in Canada
Wildfires are a natural hazard in any forested and grassland region in Canada. The regions with the highest wildfire occurrence are British Columbia, and the Boreal forest zones of Ontario, Quebec, the Prairie provinces, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
If your community is surrounded by brush, grassland or forest, follow these instructions to prepare your home and family for potential wildfires.
If you see a fire approaching your home or community, report it immediately by dialing 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. If it is safe, and there is time before the fire arrives, you should take the following action:
Wildfire in Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, United States. John McColgan (USDA)