The danger of loss from forest fires, such as that of 1894, emphasized the necessity of forest preservation, and resulted (1895) in the creation of a special state department with a forest commissioner and five wardens with power to enforce upon corporations and individuals a strict observance of the forestry laws, the good effects of the law being evidenced by the fact that the fire losses in forest lands for the first twelve years of its operation averaged only $31,000 a year.
The board consists of representatives of the various parishes, called "way wardens" together with the justices for the county residing within the district.
In 1388 parliament ordered that every sheriff in England should call upon the masters and wardens of all gilds and brotherhoods to send to the king's council in Chancery, before the 2nd of February 1389, full returns regarding their foundation, ordinances and property.
The ordinances were enforced by an alderman with the assistance of two or more deputies, or by one or two masters, wardens or keepers.
Officers, commonly called wardens in England, were elected by the members, and their chief function was to supervise the quality of the wares produced, so as to secure good and honest workmanship. Therefore, ordinances were made regulating the hours of labour and the terms of admission to the gild, including apprenticeship. Other ordinances required members to make periodical payments to a common fund, and to participate in certain common religious observances, festivities and pageants.