THE FIRST FIRE RANGERS were patrolmen, fire fighters, educators and law enforcement officers.

Rangers with Fire Prevention poster, ca 1900Education. Rangers worked tirelessly to teach the public about fire prevention. They got their message across by:

  • explaining the fire regulations person-to-person
  • passing out information pamphlets or copies of the Fire Act
  • posting signs along roads, trails and canoe routes
  • issuing burning permits for land clearing or the disposal of forest slash.
Fire Ranger Badge

Enforcement.Fire rangers were issued badges as a sign of their authority to enforce fire regulations. Violators could be charged.

Watch: Canoe Patrol, 1927 showing a ranger checking a fisherman's fire.
[Spare Time, 1927. National Archives of Canada]

Thomas Howe, gritty Newfoundland Chief Forest Ranger, did not hesitate to confront a powerful politician about fire safety.

Once, when clearing land on his farm at Paradise, near Bonavista, Sir William was burning brush under conditions considered by Thomas Howe to be unsafe. When Howe told him his fire was in contravention of the Forest Fires Act he angrily retorted saying, “My man don’t you know that I can have that Act changed at any time.” Howe responded saying, “But sir, you haven’t changed it yet”, and he charged Sir William under the Act and had him pay a fine.
See Enforcing the Law

Photo Credits:
Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre [Fire Ranger Badge; Rangers with Fire Prevention poster, ca 1900]

Online Exhibits