Wildfire Safety & Prevention Tips
The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) defines a wildfire as “any natural caused or unplanned human-caused fire that is burning in and consumes natural fuels: forest, brush, tundra, grass, etc”.
BC Parks has a webpage dedicated to the causes of wildfires and states that “the most important factor of person-caused fires is that they are preventable”.
Upon arrival at a campsite make sure you verify the nearest evacuation route and map out how you will get there. (Often campgrounds only have one road in and out.) Confirm if the RV park/campground has an emergency preparedness plan.
Make a checklist of important items in case you must quickly leave. Perhaps prepare a ‘to-go’ bag for you and your family/pets with masks, a change of clothes, medications and emergency supplies/food. In the event of an emergency requiring evacuation, leave heavy equipment behind, including unattached RVs.
If you are in an area that is being evacuated DO NOT WAIT; follow all instructions and depart immediately in an orderly fashion to avoid blocking roads. Never try to outrun a blaze. If necessary, seek cover in lakes, rivers or streams. Wet blankets can help if no body of water is nearby.
DO YOUR PART
Many wildfires are human-caused – now up to 45% per year in BC – and, therefore, can be prevented. Here are some tips on how to avoid an accidental fire.
- Obey local laws regarding campfires and pay attention to the risk of forest fires in the area in which you’ll be camping.
- Only start a campfire in the supplied fire pit. Never move it from its original placement as this location is deemed safest by park staff.
- Have at least 8 liters of water nearby or a water source to quickly drench the campfire if need be.
- Never leave a fire unattended!
- Completely extinguish a campfire with water and stir it until the ashes are completely cold before heading to bed or leaving the campsite.
- Take care when using lanterns, heaters and stoves and when refueling appliances (and make sure they’re cool). Avoid spilling any flammable liquids and store your fuel away from sources of heat or energy.
- Never leave food items cooking unattended, whether outside or inside of your camper.
- Never throw cigarettes, smoking materials or matches from moving vehicles or on park/forest grounds. Completely extinguish smoking materials in a proper receptacle or a can with water before disposing of them. When hiking or camping, carry a pocket ashtray for cigarettes.
British Columbia has some of the highest wildfire-act violation fines in Canada. For instance, failing to report a fire is $383 and lighting, fueling or using fire against a restriction will cost you $1,150. For the complete violation and fine list click here.