The Manitoba Model Forest (MBMF) has hosted a number of workshops on climate change in communities throughout eastern Manitoba. The workshops brought in experts from across the country to share information on a variety of topics related to climate change including the basics of what climate change is, the potential impacts on forests, water, wildlife and rural communities and discussed predictive climate models. The workshops were designed to engage and educate communities about the potential threats and possible opportunities due to climate change.
An increase in forest fires is a potential outcome of climate change for the forest communities and cottage areas of Manitoba. Manitoba Conservation has developed the Home Owner’s Firesmart Manual that allows homeowners, living in forested areas, to conduct a risk assessment of their home or cottage and provides recommendations to help reduce the properties fire risk.
The MBMF conducted additional workshops regarding the vulnerability of entire communities to wildfires and the methods those communities could use to manage and reduce their fire risks. The manual “Fire Smart: Protecting Your Community From Wildfire”, developed by Partners in Protection was used as a basis for discussions with these communities. Climate change reports and workshop proceedings are available for viewing and download on the Publication page.
The MBMF and the Canadian Forest Service then conducted a pilot project to assess wildfire vulnerability within the communities of Victoria Beach and Pinawa. As part of this, the communities undertook a risk assessment of the area utilizing the Red Zone software. Red Zone is a software information system that provides for the storage of information critical for community planning in wildfire risk reduction and enables first responders to more efficiently respond to emergency situations.
As a result of the Victoria Beach and Pinawa pilot programs, the MBMF has facilitated a new partnership between Manitoba Conservation and the Office of the Fire Commissioner to develop a protection plan for the community of Victoria Beach and the Whiteshell Provincial Park. These plans will be developed collaboratively with the Rural Municipality of Victoria Beach and the Whiteshell Cottager’s Association respectively.