Initial Attack Prevents Large Wildfires

A comprehensive initial attack strategy stopped wildfire from burning an estimated 457,500 ha of boreal forest between 1983 and 1998 in northeastern Alberta.

Crews arrived quickly to control or extinguish newly discovered fires, resulting in smaller and shorter-lived forest fires.

Prior to 1983, initial attack crews were unable to attend every new fire when many outbreaks occurred simultaneously.

Wildfire burned 10,252 km² out of 86,000 km² of forest in this region, between 1968 and 1998. Large wildfires, over 200 ha in size, consumed 98% of the area burned.


S.G. Cumming. 2005. Effective fire suppression in boreal forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 35: 772-786.

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