In the Event of a Wildfire
If you see the fire dial 911 and report it!
Do your best and report on:
- Exact location and size (the size of a campfire? a car? a house? A football field?)
- Colour, density and volume of smoke (Is it white? gray/ brown/ black?)
- Wind speed and direction (which way is the smoke blowing?)
- Type of vegetation and spacing (Trees?, Grass?)
- Terrain (steep?, flat?)
- Values at Risk (Homes, structures etc.)
- Access (Main roads? Four wheel drive roads? trails? Where are they? Street names?)
- Resources currently in use (Who's fighting the fire and with what?)
If the fire is small and manageable, you should try to suppress it immediately.
- Get your "Grab and Go" bag ready to go (What is a Grab and Go bag?)
- Do not turn on your sprinklers if you are on municipal water
- Turn-off natural gas and propane
- Ensure your property is safe for fire fighters
- Keep your radio on and tuned to a local station - listen for reception site location and keep telephone lines clear
- Wait at your home for instructions from emergency personnel
There are three evacuation stages:
- Evacuation Alert: must be ready to leave on short notice
- Evacuation Order: must leave the area immediately
- Evacuation Rescind: safe to return home
If you are evacuated:
- Report to the designated reception centre
- If you are driving, drive calmly, with your lights on, to a reception centre - obey traffic directions
- After check-in at the reception centre, call your contact person and update them
Once you arrive at an evacuation reception centre, check in with Emergency Social Services (ESS) Reception Centre volunteers. ESS provides (usually for 72 hours):
- Food, lodging clothing
- Registration and assists in family reunification
- Basic First Aid
- Emotional Support
- Assist with domestic pet care
- Up-to-date information
- Other services
Plan your next step by contacting family, friends, insurance companies, local non-profit agencies, etc.
- Low: Fires may start easily and spread quickly but there will be minimal involvement of deeper fuel layers or larger fuels.
- Moderate: Forest fuels are drying and there is an increased risk of surface fires starting. Carry out any forest activities with caution.
- High: Forest fuels are very dry and the fire risk is serious. New fires may start easily, burn vigorously, and challenge fire suppression efforts. Extreme caution must be used in any forest activities. Open burning and industrial activities may be restricted.
- Extreme: Extremely dry forest fuels and the fire risk is very serious. New fires will start easily, spread rapidly, and challenge fire suppression efforts. General forest activities may be restricted, including open burning, industrial activities and campfires.
Interface priority zones are meant to help reduce the amount of forest fire fuel present near our homes and in our communities. Each interface zone is a radius around your home where certain actions should be taken to remove any potential wildfire fuel.
- Priority Zone 1 is your "first priority" a 10 meter radius around your home should be a fuel free area. Remove any shrubs, trees, deadfall, or woodpiles from this area and keep your lawn mowed and watered.
- Priority Zone 2 is 10 to 30 meters out from your home. The priority for this zone is to reduce fuels by thinning and pruning. Remove trees and debris, space trees so that the crowns of individual trees are 3-6 meters apart. Remove highly combustible trees in the area. Coniferous trees, such as pine and spruces are more combustible than deciduous trees. Replant area with trees that have a low flammability. Trees such as aspen, popular and birch all have low flammability.
- Priority Zone 3 starts 30 meters from any structures and extents to a distance to 100 meters. In this area trees should be thinned and properly spaced (3-6 meters between crowns). Under story vegetation should be thinned and reduced.