Coastal Fire Centre prevention plan under development for 2024 wildfire season

By Rebecca Grogan, Communications Assistant
Coastal Fire Centre
April 3, 2024
Category: Special Feature
Region: Canada, Canada West

Ahead of the 2024 fire season, British Columbia Wildfire Service (BCWS) has undergone rigorous data analysis from previous years to help focus resources for wildfire prevention. This data analysis has been amalgamated into a prevention plan at each of the six fire centres across the province, including the Coastal Fire Centre, where staff is currently working to develop initiatives to support the organization’s prevention program goals.

Organized around the seven disciplines of FireSmart: Education, Emergency Planning, Vegetation Management, Legislation, Development, Interagency Cooperation, and Cross Training, the prevention plan serves to steer the Coastal Fire Centre’s prevention with the goal of reducing the negative impacts of wildfires on public safety, communities, critical infrastructure, industry, the economy, and the environment. The framework of this plan allows the fire centre to set prevention program priorities supported by meaningful data.

The prevention plan is a tool used primarily at the fire centre level to display historic trends and program achievements, substantiate program priorities, forecast annual costs, develop work plans, and assess prevention initiatives. Subsequently, the Coastal plan along with those from other fire centres assists the provincial program area as they set regional priorities, investigate funding requirements, and assess prevention program effectiveness.

Direction in this plan is consistent with the Ministry of Forests’ and BC Wildfire Service’s strategic, service and work plans. To support the purposes outlined above, this plan provides rationale for the outlined cost-effective actions aimed at reducing the number and severity of unwanted wildfires. 

Urban sprawl, climate change, fuel buildup and forest health are all contributing factors to the wildfire risk in British Columbia today. Lengthy fire seasons packed with increasingly intense fire behaviour are increasing the impacts on our communities and other values. Development is pushing out into the wildland faster than the interface hazard is being managed, industrial activities continue to create increased access for recreational forest users, and severe environmental conditions such as drought, extreme heat, and summer lightning events are becoming more common.

Throughout the province, a total of 2,245 wildfires burned 2,840,545 hectares between April 1 and October 31, 2023.  British Columbia’s total hectares burned in 2023 more than doubled the previous provincial record set in 2018, which was 1,355,271 hectares. Approximately 67 per cent of BC’s wildfires in 2023 were natural-caused, 22 per cent were human-caused and the remaining 11 per cent is undetermined at this time. The 2023 wildfires triggered an estimated 208 evacuation orders and 386 evacuation alerts. The total cost of wildfire suppression in B.C. in 2023 was approximately $814 million.

Prevention is more than stopping new, human-caused fires, and through wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts the implementation of data driven prevention plans, BCWS is actively supporting its goal of reducing the negative impacts of wildfire on public safety, the environment, and the economy in 2024.


Did you know: Cultural and prescribed fire is one of many land stewardship practices that can help reduce the intensity of naturally occurring wildfires while returning an integral and culturally significant process to the land base.

Prescribed fire is the planned and intentional use of fire on a specific land area. It is one of the most ecologically appropriate and relatively efficient means for achieving a range of objectives. These objectives can include habitat enhancement, preparation for tree planting or disease eradication.

 In 2021, BCWS partnered with BC Parks to conduct a prescribed burn in the Chittenden Meadows area of Skagit Valley Park. To learn more about this project please visit: For more information about cultural and prescribed fire please visit

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