1970: Training to stop forest fires with Canada's Junior Forest Wardens

In 1929, Canadian magazine Forest and Outdoors published a story about how two young boys had spotted a small fire on British Columbia’s Bowen Island and helped a forest ranger to extinguish it.

Young readers of the magazine wrote in, asking how they could emulate the heroes of the story. This response motivated the Canadian Forestry Association, which published the magazine, to establish the Junior Fire Warden program to teach youths about forest fire prevention.

The program enrolled hundreds of boys from ages 6 to 18, and expanded its lessons to broader wilderness leadership, survival and conservation, changing its name to the Junior Forest Wardens and slowly spreading to numerous chapters across Canada.

These photos from the Provincial Archives of Alberta follow a group of the red-shirted young wardens as they train near Blue Lake, Alberta in August 1970.


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