Wildfire Map

How can we manage our landscape to reduce wildfire threat and wildfire emissions?

Answering that question requires not only knowing the state of our forests today but also accurately forecasting their likely condition due to the impact of climate change.

New maps produced by Lucas Aubert, a co-op student with the Wildfire and Carbon project, provide a current snapshot of British Columbia’s forests, which have been shaped by insects, pathogens, harvest, management practices, and most recently, by wildfire.

Age of forests throughout BC. Color gradient on the right shows range of ages and relative frequency throughout the province
Locations and area of wildfire and clearcut harvest throughout BC from 1990-2018.

BC’s three worst fire seasons on record have occurred in the last five years, with such events expected to become more frequent and extreme due to climate change. Wildfires are intensified by climate impacts like higher temperatures and droughts, and they also drive climate change by releasing huge quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

The darker colours on this 2021 wildfire threat map indicate higher risk. Seasonally dry forests, like those in BC’s interior, are at the highest risk for wildfire.   

The Wildfire and Carbon project team are modelling the impact that different forest management interventions would have on reducing the wildfire risk, enhancing forest carbon sinks and creating economic opportunities for the forest sector.

The researchers are integrating three models to identify optimum forest management pathways in support of those goals - a landscape-level fire model (REBURN), a carbon budget model (GCBM), and a harvested wood products model (MitigAna).