Stages of control

The BC Wildfire service uses stages of control to report on progress. Each stage is defined to provide a broad overview of the current objectives and tactics being used on a fire.

There are four stages of control with different operational objectives:

Out of Control

At this stage, the wildfire is continuing to spread and is not responding to suppression efforts. In this case, BC Wildfire Service applies more aggressive suppression and control methods such as establishing control lines, burn-offs, dropping water, foam or retardant.   

Being Held

At this stage, the wildfire is not likely to spread beyond predetermined boundaries under prevailing conditions. At this point, crews may finish establishing control lines, conduct fuel management activities and mop-up (extinguishing a fire after it has been brought under control).

Under Control

At this stage, suppression efforts have ensured the wildfire will not spread any further. BC Wildfire Service may continue to patrol the fire and extinguish hot-spots while moving gear, equipment and personnel to another incident. 


At this stage, suppression efforts are complete. The wildfire is extinguished. Once a fire is out, rehabilitation and recovery begin, which involves activities such as re-seeding areas with grass and rebuilding fences. Additionally, BC Wildfire Service conducts an after-action review which helps the organization continually improve response. 

Frequently asked questions

What is a Wildfire of Note?

If a wildfire is especially visible or poses a threat to public safety, we classify it as a "Wildfire of Note" and provide detailed updates on it as information becomes available. A Wildfire of Note will appear on the interactive map as a flame icon instead of the red out of control icon.