Wildfires: Safety & Prevention Tips

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) defines wildfires 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”.

Emergency Preparation

Upon arrival at a campsite with your RV, make sure you verify the nearest evacuation route and map out how you will get there. Quite often, campgrounds only have one road in and out. Confirm if the RV park or campground has an emergency preparedness plan.

Make a checklist of important items in case you need to leave quickly. We would suggest you prepare a ‘to-go’ bag for you, your family, and your pets with face masks, a change of clothes, medications, emergency supplies, and 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. If there is no body off water nearby, wet blankets can help.

Do Your Part to Prevent Wildfires in BC

Many wildfires are human-caused – now up to 45% per year in BC – and as such they can be prevented. Here are a few tips on how to avoid accidental fires:

  • 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 or 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. 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.

Tri Crown RV would like to thank Camping & RV in BC for help with this article.