LIGHTNING IGNITED FIRES long before human habitation. The coal beds formed over 250 million years ago are present-day evidence of ancient fires.
In 1677 one of the early French missionaries, Father LeClercq, witnessed first-hand the destructive power of fire started by a bolt of lightning.
‘ …it set in flames all the woods and forests which lay between Mirimachis and Nepisiquit, but also burnt and consumed more than 250 leagues of country in such a manner that nothing was to be seen except very tall and quite blackened trunks of trees…’ [Father C. LeClercq, 1677. Nouvelle Relations de la Gaspesie.]
WILDFIRE IS A POWERFUL NATURAL FORCE. Fire plays a major role in the regeneration of wilderness ecosystems. When stands of dead trees and debris on the ground burn, they are recycled as nutrient-rich ash.
Fire opens up the tree canopy allowing sun to reach the forest floor. Sun-loving plants take root and flourish.
Aspen trees, damaged by fire ensure their survival by sending up multiple sprouts from their root systems.
Jack pine trees require the intense heat of a forest fire to regenerate. Fire opens the pine cones, releasing the seeds into the earth.