Ministry of Forests & Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness: Plan ahead, be prepared for wildfire risks this long weekend

VICTORIA – People enjoying beautiful British Columbia this Canada Day long weekend are strongly urged to use caution and be prepared as warm weather and drought conditions increase wildfire risk in many areas of the province.


Residents and travellers should use caution and take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire by staying up to date on current conditions, following fire bans and restrictions, and having an emergency plan that is shared with friends and family.


Because conditions can change quickly, people who are travelling should check ahead for road closures, evacuation alerts, evacuation orders and other prohibitions, such as BC Parks closures. Follow all instructions from local governments or First Nations. People are welcome to explore the province, but should avoid travel to areas that are under evacuation alert or evacuation order.


People planning to have campfires should do so safely, following any local prohibitions. Avoid having a campfire when it’s windy, choose a proper fire pit or make a ring of rocks at least three metres from trees, shrubs, structures and debris, and do not leave a campfire unattended for any amount of time.


Several open-burning prohibitions are currently in place around the province and will be updated as conditions change.


There are lots of things individuals can do to help protect their homes from wildfires. Whether in an urban or rural area, these proven FireSmart tips can help safeguard properties:


* Clear dry leaves and debris from around your property.


* Move propane tanks and other flammables at least 10 metres from structures.


* Keep grass cut short.


* Close doors and windows.


* Water trees, shrubs and plants (following local water restrictions).


The BC Wildfire Service relies on members of the public to report wildfires and thanks the public for its ongoing help in reporting wildfires quickly. Approximately 40% of new fires are reported by the public. Reporting wildfires or dangerous activities that might cause wildfires is a way people can help keep everyone safe. The sooner a wildfire is reported, the sooner a response can begin.


To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone or download the BC Wildfire Service app. The newly improved BC Wildfire Service mobile app allows people to check the current wildfire situation, road conditions and weather forecasts. Users can also report new wildfires and submit photos, which helps inform BC Wildfire Service operational decision-making.

Additional precautions:


* Anyone riding an all-terrain vehicle on or within 300 metres of forested land or rangeland must have a spark arrestor installed on the vehicle.


* To help reduce wildfire risks, check the condition of the muffler, regularly clear buildups of grass or other vegetation from hot spots, stay on dirt paths, and avoid tall grass and weeds.


* Dispose of smoking materials responsibly, ensuring they are completely extinguished.


Learn More:


For the latest information about the current wildfire situation, including fire bans and restrictions, in B.C., visit:


For the most up-to-date information about wildfire activity in B.C., visit:


For more information about fire prohibitions, visit:


To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll free, or *5555 on a cellphone or download the BC Wildfire Service app.


For information about active emergencies, including evacuation alerts and evacuation orders, visit: (


For more information about how to FireSmart your home, visit:


For a guide about how to travel safely this spring and summer, visit:


For the latest videos from wildfire incidents, visit: (


To check current weather alerts, visit: (


For preparedness guides from PreparedBC, including floods, wildfires and extreme heat, visit:


To create an online profile for Emergency Support Services, visit:


To create a personalized emergency and evacuation plan with the new Emergency Ready Planner, visit:


To stay informed about the latest road conditions, visit: 




Media Relations
Ministry of Forests
250 896-4320


Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness
Media Relations
250 880-6430



Information about emergency preparedness


Be ready to evacuate:


* Once an evacuation alert or evacuation order is issued, the local government or First Nation will share the most current information on its website.


* If you are under an evacuation alert, be prepared to leave on short notice. People can prepare for emergencies by creating an evacuation plan using the Emergency Ready Planner, which is a new, online interactive tool to help people create a personalized emergency and evacuation plan. The Emergency Ready Planner is available at


* If you are under an evacuation order, you must leave the area immediately. Follow the instructions of your local government or First Nation.


* By not leaving, you risk the health and safety of you and your family, and also that of first responders who may need to come back to help you.


* During emergencies, the Province may issue BC Emergency Alerts, which are broadcast on TV, radio and/or cell phones to provide urgent public safety information.


* Emergency Support Services (ESS) are available to people who are evacuated and need help covering the cost of basic needs, such as the costs associated with accommodation, food and incidentals.


* Follow directions provided by your local government or First Nation about how and where to receive Emergency Support Services if you need them. Your local government or First Nation will provide instructions on whether you can apply online or in person at a designated evacuee reception centre.


* During large-scale evacuations, people may have the option to receive accommodation support via Interac e-transfer by creating an ESS profile at


* People are encouraged to create an ESS profile before an emergency as part of their preparedness. This can save time during an emergency and help support the smooth delivery of supports. Those who have created an ESS profile can log into the online self-service registration tool to receive instructions about the types of supports available to them and how they can be accessed during an emergency.


* The online self-service registration tool may only be available during large-scale evacuations.


* Connect with friends and family who may be able to provide shelter and support if an evacuation order is issued. This will help ensure local accommodation is available for those who have no other option.


FireSmart tips for homes and properties:


* Remove branches, leaves, pine needles and other flammable material around your property, including from roofs, gutters, balconies, doorways and windowsills. Pay particular attention to corners or other tight spots where debris tends to gather.


* Mow any grass within 10 metres of your home regularly, preferably to a height of 10 centimetres or less.


* If you have a deck with a crawlspace beneath it, clear flammable material from there as well.


* Create a 1.5-metre non-combustible zone around buildings by raking or sweeping down to mineral soil, rock or concrete.


* Any movable propane tank or wood pile should be kept at least 10 metres away from your home.


* Check all exterior vents to make sure they are properly screened and in good condition.


* Learn more about FireSmart:


Heat events:

* Monitor Environment and Climate Change Canada for information about temperature forecasts in your region.


* During heat events, the Province works with health authorities, First Nations and local authorities to protect people and communities.

* This includes community outreach, wellness checks and working with community navigators and organizations focusing on high-risk populations.


* If Environment and Climate Change Canada issues a Heat Warning, and local authorities or First Nations are providing supports, the Province uses the EmergencyInfoBC ( platforms to provide information.


* The Province reimburses eligible costs to First Nations and local governments so they can provide supports, including opening emergency cooling centres that may be open overnight, and transporting people to and from these Centres.


* Always check with your municipality, regional district or First Nation for the most-up-to-date information on emergency cooling centres.


* First Nations and local governments are also able to upload these locations with additional details on (


* If an extreme heat emergency occurs, the Province is prepared to issue a BC Emergency Alert to radio, TV and/or cellphones to make sure people are aware and can take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.


* The Province will also use highway signs to inform people during an extreme heat emergency.

Preparing for and responding to hot weather:


* If you have air conditioning at home, make sure it is in good working order.


* If you do not have air conditioning at home:

* Find somewhere you can cool off on hot days. Consider places in your community to spend time indoors, such as local cooling centres, libraries, community centres, movie theatres or malls.


* As temperatures may be hotter inside than outside, consider outdoor spaces with lots of shade and running water.


* Shut windows and close curtains and blinds during the heat of the day to block the sun and prevent hotter outdoor air from coming inside. Open doors and windows when it is cooler outside to move that cooler air indoors.


* Ensure that you have a working fan, but do not rely on fans as your primary means of cooling. Fans can be used to draw cooler late-evening, overnight and early-morning air indoors. Keep track of temperatures in your home using a thermostat or thermometer. Sustained indoor temperatures higher than 31C can be dangerous for people who are susceptible to heat.


* If your home gets very hot, consider staying with a friend or relative who has air conditioning, if possible.


* Identify people who may be at high risk of heat-related illness. If possible, help them prepare for heat and plan to check in on them. The most susceptible individuals include adults older than 60, people with pre-existing health conditions, people with mental illness and people with disabilities.


Your health during hot weather:


* Drink plenty of water and other liquids to stay hydrated, even if you are not thirsty.


* Spray your body with water, wear a damp shirt, take a cool shower or bath, or sit with part of your body in water to cool down.


* Stay in the shade and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.


* Take immediate action to cool down if you are overheating. Signs of overheating include feeling unwell, headache and dizziness. Overheating can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.


* Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, severe headache, muscle cramps, extreme thirst and dark urine. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should seek a cooler environment, drink plenty of water, rest and use water to cool your body.


* Signs of heat stroke include loss of consciousness, disorientation, confusion, and severe nausea or vomiting. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately if you suspect heat stroke.


* Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Leaving the car windows slightly open will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.


Travelling: Know before you go:


* Destination BC’s Know Before You Go website is regularly updated and serves as a one-stop shop for visitors looking to access key information resources, such as information from DriveBC, the BC Wildfire Service and the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.


* If the area you were planning to travel to is impacted by wildfires or under an evacuation alert or order, connect with a local visitor centre to rebook your trip to another area of the province.


* The River Forecast Centre also asks that anyone planning activities on rivers or waterways check any advisories for high streamflow or other such concerns.



Media Relations
Ministry of Forests
250 896-4320


Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness
Media Relations
250 880-6430