Understanding and Assessing Impacts
In an extreme wildfire event, the protection capabilities of any community depend on its wildfire preparedness planning, mitigation initiatives, and wildfire management practices. Utilizing geographic information systems (GIS) in wildfire mitigation can significantly increase the effectiveness of the strategies being used in wildfire preparedness and response. The City of Thompson (population 13,678) is located 760 kilometers north of Winnipeg along the Burntwood River within Canada’s Boreal forest. This region has experienced many human and lightning caused wildfires. Data from Manitoba Conservation and Climate and the City of Thompson report over 230 wildfires in forest, timber, brush, or grass within an eight-kilometer radius of the community between 2007 and 2017. In addition, in May 2003, the City of Thompson experienced a near catastrophic event when a fire was started by a train five kilometers east of the city and burned approximately 3,200 hectares of boreal spruce. Fortunately, winds pushed the fire north, diverting it from the city.