Getting Ready Before a Wildfire

If you're in an area that is prone to wildfire, or you just want to be proactive, there are a number of activities you can complete to prevent or prepare for a wildfire.

In this section:

Other sections: Staying safe during a wildfire  |  Recovering after a wildfire

Prepare Your Home

We all play a critical role in mitigating wildfire risks around their homes and properties by undertaking FireSmart activities. Simple measures can make a significant difference to the survivability of structures by decreasing the intensity of a wildfire and slowing its spread.

Complete the FireSmart home assessment to see what changes will make the greatest difference in reducing your home’s risk.

Download FireSmart Assessments  10 Tips to FireSmart your Home

Camp Responsibly

Nearly half of all wildfires in B.C. are caused by human carelessness. You can prevent them by following a few simple rules.

  • Check for bans and restrictions; 
  • Camp responsibly:
    • Campfires can’t be larger than 0.5 metres by 0.5 metres
    • Keep a shovel or at least eight litres of water nearby to extinguish your fire
    • Create a firebreak by scraping down to the dirt and removing debris at least one-metre around your fire
    • Never leave a campfire unattended
    • Ensure your campfire is completely out and the ashes cool to touch before you leave the area
  • Call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cell if you spot smoke, flames or an unattended campfire

Check bans and restrictions  Campfire Tips

Make an Emergency Plan

An emergency plan is a playbook for how you and your household will respond to disasters, including wildfires. Knowing what to do will reduce anxiety and help keep you focussed and safe. Start by downloading a fill-in-the-blanks emergency plan. It will compile the vital information you’ll need and establish how  you’ll communicate and connect with loved ones, particularly if you become separated. When you’re done, make copies for grab-and-go bags at home, at work and in your vehicle. 

Learn how to make an emergency plan

Make Grab & Go Bags

In the event of a wildfire, you may need to leave home quickly. Take time now to build grab-and-go bags for each member of your household so you’re not caught off guard. Start with our basic list then consider the additional needs of your household. Do you have pets? Do you have young children? Are you a foster parent? Are you caring for seniors or people with disabilities? If yes, prepare and customize bags specific to their needs.

Learn how to build a Grab & Go Bag

Research Insurance Coverage

Home insurance policies in British Columbia cover fire damage and losses. Call your insurance representative to discuss your coverage or contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422.

Disaster Financial Assistance is not available for losses due to wildfire, which is why it’s important to discuss coverage with an insurance company or representative. If you leave your home due to a mandatory evacuation order, most homeowner and tenant insurance policies will provide coverage for reasonable living expenses for a specified time. 

Prepare Your Farm or Agricultural Business

Wildfires can have devastating consequences for the agricultural industry. Having a response plan is critical, especially when livestock relocation may be required. It’s up to agricultural producers, like all business managers, to have a comprehensive strategy to manage the risks they face.

Emergency Management for Agriculture  Resources for Farmers & Ranchers