Wildfire crew in Beaufort Delta

Wildfire operations

Fort Providence Wildfire Experimental Site

What is the project?

Wildfire professionals from around the continent and the world have been coming to the Fort Providence Wildfire Experimental Site (formerly known as the Canadian Boreal Community FireSmart Project or the International Crown Fire Modeling Experiment) since 1997.

Where is the site?

The site is located 50 km north of Fort Providence, Northwest Territories, and is a valuable resource for conducting research into wildfire behaviour, fire fighter safety and FireSmart principles. The project area is in two parts. The first section is a timbered area of approximately 300ha on the west side of Hwy 3 bordered by birch bog along its other boundaries. The stand originated from a wildfire in 1931 and is predominantly 10m Jack Pine with a minor Black Spruce and Aspen component. The second area is 3 km south and is composed of approximately 150 ha of birch bog which straddles the highway.

Who is on the research team?

The research team, led by Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) Environment and Climate Change (ECC) staff, includes local fire crews and researchers who have come from the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan as well as over a dozen countries including the USA, Russia, France and Japan.

Activities on the site are coordinated by a GNWT project manager with the researchers, local authorities and the regional and territorial Fire Control Officers.

What does the research show us?

The knowledge and understanding of fire behaviour, firefighter safety and FireSmart principles gained by these researchers is shared with wildfire professionals all over the world.

“The burn trials teach us how FireSmart principles really work. We’ve come to understand how to better protect homes threatened by wildfire.” says Kris Johnson, Fire Science Manager with the Northwest Territories Forest Management Division. “I’ve seen firsthand the difference FireSmart makes.  Doing a bit of maintenance around your yard can make a world of difference in a wildfire situation. It not only protects your home, but also keeps our fire fighters safe.” Taking simple steps to move your firewood pile away from your home and keeping your yard free of debris can help to reduce the damage a wildfire can do to your home.


“The burns couldn’t happen without the support and involvement of the community of Fort Providence,” says Ray Ault of FP Innovations. He has been coming to Fort Providence since 1997 and each year he is welcome by the community and looks forward to coming back.

Annual operations plans

For more information

Contact the Wildfire Risk Management Coordinator