Wildfires

Wildfires are a natural hazard in any forested and grassland region in Canada. The regions with the highest wildfire occurrence are British Columbia, and the Boreal forest zones of Ontario, Quebec, the Prairie provinces, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Forest fires or wildfires are common occurrences from May to September and can cause extensive damage and put lives in danger. Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Wildland Fire Information System provides detailed information about wildfire conditions across Canada.

Up-to-date information

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre is a joint initiative of, the federal, provincial and territorial governments. During the fire season the Centre operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide up-to-date reports on the fire situation across Canada. It also coordinates the sharing of firefighting resources such as aircraft and firefighters.

What to do:

Wildfire facts

  • Approximately 8,000 wildfires occur each year in Canada.
  • The average area burned in Canada is 2.5 million ha/year.
  • Fires caused by lightning represent 45% of all fires, but because they occur in remote locations and often in clusters, they represent 81% of total area burned.
  • Human-caused fires represent 55% of all fires. They occur in more populated areas and are usually reported and extinguished quickly.

Provincial and territorial information

Each province and territory is responsible for managing their wildfires in cooperation with local authorities.  In some cases, the federal government may be asked to assist. The majority of these provinces and territories have information online on the fire situation in their area.  Some of the sites have practical information for adults and fun activities for children on wildfire prevention.

The Government of Canada's Government Operations Centre (GOC) monitors the wildfire situation across the country.  The GOC coordinates the federal government's response to events of national interest such as wildfires that may affect the safety and security of Canadians or critical infrastructure.  Should a provincial or territorial government request federal assistance to deal with a wildfire then the GOC would coordinate that response.