BC Wildfire Service Mandate & Strategy


The BC Wildfire Service is part of, and mandated by, the Government of British Columbia to:

  1. Deliver effective wildfire management and emergency response support on behalf of the Government of British Columbia
  2. Protect lives and values at risk
  3. Encourage sustainable, healthy and resilient ecosystems

To meet this mandate, the BC Wildfire Service will:

  • Provide for the safety of its workers and the public
  • Deliver effective, innovative and cost-efficient wildfire management services
  • Provide emergency response support and services
  • Ensure strong and collaborative relationships with our partners and clients

The overall vision of the BC Wildfire Service is to achieve excellence in wildfire management and response services.


Wildfires are essential to the ecosystems found in B.C. but they can also threaten lives, infrastructure and resources. Effective wildfire management means preserving nature and protecting people and property. The approach of the BC Wildfire Service to wildfire management accomplishes both.

Beneficial fires are allowed to burn under careful monitoring and management while harmful fires that cannot be prevented are suppressed through the BC Wildfire Service’s firefighting operations and, unnecessary fires that can be prevented, are prevented through enforced legislation, heightened public awareness and effective initiatives.

To accomplish this means being prepared for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges; the BC Wildfire Service is currently guided by three strategic documents that reinforce the mandate of the organisation:

In 2012, the BC Wildfire Service with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations developed a five-year plan to guide how wildfires are managed in B.C..

The Wildfire Management Branch Strategic Plan 2012-2017 lays a solid foundation to meet British Columbia’s present and future challenges.

The plan outlines a Strategic Foundation that provides direction on:

  • Supporting the workforce
  • Ensuring effective business practices
  • Optimising organisational structure and resources
  • Achieving effective partnerships and delivery
  • Leading wildland fire management and practices in B.C.

Read the full Wildfire Management Branch Strategic Plan (PDF, 2.9 MB)

British Columbia played a key role in developing the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy: A 10-Year Review and Renewed Call to Action, which was released in June 2016.

This national strategy will assist with the development and implementation of an innovative approach to wildland fire management throughout Canada that will foster fire-resilient communities and a co-ordinated approach to fire prevention and wildfire response.

 In 2010, the BC Wildfire Service developed provincial strategy to compliment the Canadian strategy in place at that time. The B.C. Wildland Fire Management Strategy aims to restore the natural role of wildfire in B.C. ecosystems while continuing to provide an effective response to unwanted fires. The plan will result in healthier ecosystems, safer communities, and a more cost-effective fire suppression program.

The BC Wildfire Service will achieve these results by:

  1. Reducing fire hazards and risks around communities and high-value areas
  2. Using controlled burning where benefits are clear and risks can be cost-effectively managed
  3. Monitoring and managing, rather than supressing, fires that pose minimal risk to communities, infrastructure or resources
  4. Implementing land, natural resource and community plans that incorporate wildland fire management at all appropriate scales
  5. Developing a high level of public awareness and support for wildland fire management

Read the full B.C. Wildland Fire Management Strategy (PDF, 6.4 MB)

Wildfire is a natural and essential process in most of Canada's forests. However, wildfire can also threaten people and property.

Balancing the benefits and risks of wildfire is a challenge, especially in the face of climate change and increasing development in forested areas.

The Climate Change and Fire Management Research Strategy aims to address this challenge. The product of a well-attended and successful conference held in 2009, it identifies knowledge gaps and recommends research priorities related to climate change and wildfire management. Many of these priorities represent long term research projects which the BC Wildfire Service continues to work on.

Read the full Climate Change and Fire Management Research Strategy (PDF)


Reports and Reviews

2003 Firestorm Review

In October 2003, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell appointed Gary Filmon, former Premier of Manitoba, to conduct an independent, comprehensive review of the province’s response to the 2003 wildfires. The report identified what could be learned and made recommendations for the future.

Since then, government continues to implement all of Mr. Filmon's recommendations.

Firestorm Report 2003 (PDF, 8.3 MB)
BC Wildfire Service Submission to Mr. Filmon (PDF, 1.4 MB)