Our City is located in a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by nature. But wherever the forest meets the community, there is a greater risk of wildfires spreading to homes.

That's where FireSmartTM comes in. FireSmart is all about education, prevention, and minimizing risk. By taking action and creating a FireSmart property, you'll dramatically increase the resistance of your home and property to damage caused by wildfire. The best part is, it's surprisingly easy to do.

Quick Tips

Just beginning with FireSmart or don't have much time? Check out the quick tips in the image below, or download the PDF of the FireSmart quick tips.

FireSmart tips infographic

Click for larger version.

FireSmart Your Property

By taking action and creating a FireSmart property, you'll dramatically increase the resistance of your home and property to damage caused by wildfire. The best part is, it's surprisingly easy to do.

See how you're doing with the FireSmart Homeowner's Assessment Score Card. Learn more in the FireSmart BC Homeowners Manual.


  • Create a noncombustible area of a minimum 1.5 metres around the entire home and any attachments, such as decks.
  • Every inside corner of your roof is a place where debris and embers can collect. Regularly clean combustible materials from your roof.
  • Regularly remove debris from your gutters, since sparks and embers can easily ignite these dry materials. Go next level and consider screening your gutters with metal mesh to reduce the amount of debris that can accumulate.

Building & Design

  • Attics need vents to reduce moisture, but they create an opening for sparks and embers, so consider screening your vents with 3-millimetre wire mesh. Properly fitted soffits and fascia also help reduce the risk of embers and heat reaching wooden rafters.
  • Replacing your windows? Tempered, thermal (double-paned) windows are recommended. Single-pane windows provide little resistance to heat from an advancing wildfire.
  • A spark arrestor on your chimney will reduce the chance of sparks and embers escaping and starting fires.
  • When choosing siding, keep in mind that stucco, metal siding, brick/concrete and fibre cement siding offer superior fire resistance. Logs and heavy timbers are still reasonably effective. But untreated wood and vinyl siding offer very little protection against wildfire.
  • When it's time for a new roof, incorporate fire-resistant or fire-retardant roofing (i.e. Class A, B or C rated) - options include metal, asphalt, clay and composite rubber tiles. Untreated wood shakes create a dangerous combination of combustible material and crevices for embers or sparks to enter.
  • All doors into your home (i.e. both entry and garage) should be fire rated and have a good seal.


FireSmart Landscaping

Wildfire can follow a path from a forest or grassland to your home.

By making some strategic choices in your yard, you can increase the wildfire resiliency of your property. Learn more in the FireSmart BC Landscaping Hub.


Fire embers may seem small, but they shouldn't be underestimated - 50% of home fires caused by wildfires are started by sparks and embers. Regular maintenance and cleaning the corners and crevices of your home and yard where needles and debris build up will leave nothing for embers to ignite.

  • Trim back plants and keep them away from your buildings.
  • Remove dead plant material and don't pile dead material near buildings.
  • Keep roofs and gutters clear of branches and leaves.
  • Keep a tidy lawn - fires travel less quickly across trimmed grass.
  • Prune low tree branches so they're at least 2 metres from the ground.
  • Keep all plants healthy - unhealthy plants are a greater fire risk.

Planting & Landscape Design

A wildfire moving from the tops of trees can be slowed if the trees are spaced out. It can be further slowed by flame-resistant plants and shrubs in your yard. Since plants have different flammability, consider spacing out your plants to increase your home’s ability to withstand a wildfire.

  • Choose fire-resistant plants which don't provide significant fuel or increase fire intensity (e.g. deciduous rather than evergreen trees).
  • Plant trees and shrubs away from buildings to ensure branches don't touch or hang over roofs, and keep eventual mature sizes in mind.
  • Space plantings and trees to avoid fire jumping from one to the next.
  • Use decorative rocks, pathways, and retaining walls.
  • Include ponds and streams in your landscape design.
  • Use gravel or rocks in your landscaping rather than flammable bark, evergreen needles, or other plant-based mulches.

home before and after FireSmart prevention

How the City is Reducing Risk

More frequent and severe wildfire seasons have increased the importance of wildfire prevention activities such as fuel treatment. Wildfire fuel treatment is the process of removing forest ‘fuel’ build-up and raising the height of the tree canopy in areas where the forest meets our community, to reduce the risk of wildfire spreading to our homes.

  > Learn more in our Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Treatment work includes prescribed thinning and pruning in targeted areas of a forest, such as:

  • Pruning large conifer trees up to 3m from the ground
  • Removing smaller understorey conifer trees and larger hazard trees
  • Removing wood debris such as branches and other green waste

The result: a forest of large trees with reduced underbrush, small trees and debris, with an opened-up canopy that helps prevent ground-to-tree fire spread.

Active Treatment Areas

Phase 1

This spring and early summer, City crews are removing invasive plants along the southern edge of Greenwood Park as part of our annual trail and forest rehabilitation work. In addition to the invasive plants, crews will be collecting dead branches, brush, and other organic debris from the forest floor as part of the City’s Community Wildfire Prevention Plan.

Phase 2

We’re coordinating a larger wildfire prevention project in Greenwood Park, an area identified as high-risk in the City’s Community Wildfire Prevention Plan. By removing materials that easily catch fire, we’re reducing the risk of wildfires in our community and creating healthier, more resilient forests. Larger conifer tree work is scheduled to begin this fall to limit disturbances to forest wildlife, and is managed by experts who work to remove debris in specific designated areas. 

Greenwood Park Treatment Area

Fuel Treatment & the Environment

After many years of fire suppression, flammable forest debris builds up and becomes hazardous. Fuel management can help achieve several different objectives, including bringing balance back to our forests and ecosystems.

Wildfire fuel treatments improve long-term forest health and promote bio-diversity. Our goal is to reduce the risk of wildfire in our urban forests, and as a result we are maintaining the natural balance of the forest while making room for native plants to grow and replace the forest ‘fuel’ build-up.

Ember the FireSmart fox highlights risks and tips for homeowners.

FireSmart, Intelli-feu and other associated Marks are trademarks of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

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