Wildland structure protection program

If a wildfire threatens homes or other structures, it's called an interface or wildland urban interface fire.

The structure protection program provides additional support to the BC Wildfire Service by assisting with training and deployment of local government fire departments, who then provide additional personnel and resources to protect communities from wildfire. This program is a collaboration between Emergency Management BC, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, BC Wildfire Service, and the Fire Chiefs Association of BC.

On this page:


How to get involved

Each year, updated information packages are sent to all municipal and regional fire departments in B.C. asking for expressions of interest to participate in the structure protection program.

Submit expression of interest

Interested departments must submit their expression of interest by the date in the information package. Each department needs to submit their available apparatus and personnel which meet the minimum requirements to be included on the resource call list.

Training workshops and materials are available for the Structure Protection Program


Deployment

  1. If your department is requested, you'll receive a phone call from wildfire services confirming your deployment availability.
  2. If available, you will receive a draw down form explaining the staging point and the resources to be deployed.
  3. A staging manager will sign in all responding resources and verify you have a draw down form and are at the right location.
  4. All resources will be vetted for appropriate apparatus, equipment, crew and personnel equipment.
  5. Once vetted and signed in, crews will be given assignments, such as being assigned to strike teams or task force teams.
  6. Your crew officer will complete in full every day:
    • Daily time record for each day of assignment, including travel days
      • This must be signed by the designated provincial representative
    • Daily log sheets (ICS 214) outlining daily activities

Responding when not requested

Don’t respond to an incident unless you’ve been requested and have received a drawn down form to be able to respond to an incident. You must provide a copy of the form to the staging manager at the staging area. If you don’t have a copy of the form, you’ll be directed to return home at your own expense. Draw down forms will be sent to the fire department contact person.

Do not send extra personnel and apparatus unless specifically requested. Specific requests would be noted on your drawn down form, or a second draw down form for extra personnel. Extra personnel or apparatus will be directed to return home at your own expense.

Minimum requirements for deployment

If your apparatus or crew doesn’t meet the minimum requirements as confirmed by the staging manager, you’ll be returned home at your own expense.

You must have the required crew members for your apparatus when arriving at the staging area (four for an engine and two for a tender). A crew manifest must accompany each apparatus. If you’re understaffed, you won’t be accepted and will be returned or retained in the staging area until the arrival of the required crew member at your own expense.

Zero tolerance

There is zero tolerance for consuming alcohol or drugs during deployment. This includes travel days to and from the incident and off duty hours.


Equipment

Crew members

Crews need to have all the personal protective equipment listed in the Inter-Agency Agreement and the items included in the Structural Firefighter Crew – Protection Equipment Checklist (PDF, 130KB).

Each crew member should be prepared to be self-sufficient for up to 48 hours. They must provide their own tents, sleeping bags, pillows and other personal items.

Condition of apparatus 

Older apparatus may only be used if it has successfully passed annual pump testing and mechanical certification. Maintenance and testing should only be completed by a qualified mechanic certified to perform maintenance and servicing of the apparatus. Documentation of current certification may be requested by the staging manager at the staging area before being assigned.


Reimbursement

Reimbursement rates for all deployed apparatus are outlined here:

Provide your finance department with information about these rates prior to deployment.

Interim policies and procedures

Ineligible reimbursements

Fires within a fire department’s local jurisdiction are the responsibility of that department normal operation or operating costs are not reimbursed by the provincial government. However, in extraordinary circumstances incremental costs will be considered for reimbursement on a case by case basis.

Extra resource or personnel costs beyond the minimum requirements will not be covered, including all costs associated with any extra vehicle and personnel.

Crew meals and accommodations

Crew meals and accommodation are generally provided. Typically, crews will stay in a wildfire services camp with tent accommodation and be served meals. In some instances crews may have to stay in hotels and eat at restaurants. Authorization is required before crews stay in hotels and eat at restaurants.

Hotel receipts must be included with the submitted invoice for reimbursement. Crews will be reimbursed for restaurant meals at set per diem rates outlined in the most current Inter-Agency Operational Procedures manual. Meals beyond the per diem will not be reimbursed.

Fuel payments

Fuel is included in the apparatus all-found rate and the bare rate for apparatus only and will not be reimbursed separately. 

Submitting your invoice

Invoices are processed as quickly as possible. However, there are several things you can do to expedite the process:

  1. Make sure the person submitting the invoice is familiar with reimbursement rates and what's eligible, with a copy of the Inter-Agency Agreement (PDF) and the information package so that they have an understanding of what is eligible for reimbursement.
  2. Submit all required supporting documentation with the detailed claim submission, including all daily time records, daily logs, hotel receipts, travel receipts and a copy of the draw down form.
  3. Submit the invoice to the address on your draw down form. Provide a contact from your department and finance section.

Damaged or missing equipment reimbursement

Damaged or lost equipment and damage to apparatus because of a provincial deployment will be considered for reimbursement or compensation.

However, damage must be reported to the Office of the Fire Commissioner representative before demobilization. Failure to do so will invalidate any future claims.

Reimbursement rates:

  • Apparatus 20 years or newer is reimbursed at 100 percent
  • Apparatus 21 years or older is reimbursed at 75 percent