Fire Danger Ratings in BC: What They Mean

Jul. 28, 2023

The BC Wildfire Service operates approximately 260 weather stations that send hourly reports, which support fire forecasting and the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS).

A detailed danger class report provides estimated and forecasted fire danger rating values for specific weather stations.

The danger class report is updated daily based on weather station data collected around the province.

We monitor the fire danger ratings very closely, and our crews ensure we comply with high-risk activities' restrictions.


What are the 'High-Risk Activities'? And how do the ratings affect our activities?

Some of the activities the Wildfire Act defines as High-Risk Activities are mechanical brushing, disk trenching, using fire or spark-producing tools (including cutting tools), automatic land clearing and clearing and maintaining rights of way.

From a Highway Maintenance standpoint, Roadside Mowing, Tree Removal/Trimming and Road and Shoulder Grading all fall into the "High-Risk Activity" category.

As per the Wildfire Regulation, those conducting 'high-risk activities' must use representative weather data to determine the fire danger rating for their location and refer to the restrictions on high-risk work activities.

When the Fire Danger Rating gets into the threes, restrictions appear. For example, after three consecutive days of a rating of 3 (MODERATE), we must ensure a fire watch is completed immediately after the high-risk activity ends for a minimum of 1 hour. Or if the Fire Danger Rating is at 5 (EXTREME), we MUST cease activity between 1 p.m. and sunset each day and implement a fire watch for 2 hours. After three consecutive days of rating 5, we MUST end ALL activity, all day, until the rating has decreased to 4 (HIGH) for three straight days or drops below 4.

An example of how this affects our activities would be – Westside Rd (West Kelowna) is at a Level 5 (Extreme) and has been for 4 out of the past five days; this means we cannot perform any high-risk activities anywhere in this area. Since we monitor the stations daily, we were able to spot a rising trend over the past couple of weeks, so we completed as much roadside mowing as possible before the fire rating reached three consecutive fives.


How to be prepared for wildfires

Save the number in your devices for reporting wildfires - Call *5555 or 1-800-663-5555

Visit Several resources are available to prepare yourself, your family and your property.

Check the EmergencyMapBC ( for all current alerts and orders

Check for all recent road closures or events.

Other resources

High-risk Activities

Fire Danger Rating

Summer 2023 Seasonal Outlook blog

May be an image of fire and text


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