Wildfire season officially starts March 1 and runs until October 31 each year.
Wildfires can affect communities in forested or grassland areas, including urban green spaces like ravines and parks.
If a fire is near, protect yourself and loved ones by following directions from authorities and be prepared to evacuate.
Before a wildfire
Individuals and families should be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours.
How to prepare
- Download the Alberta Wildfire app or visit the Alberta Wildfire website for more information.
- Maintain an emergency kit stocked with supplies such as water, food, battery-powered or crank radio and flashlight, extra batteries or Weatheradio.
- Store important documents such as passports, birth certificates, banking information and insurance papers in a safe place in an above ground location.
- If you have a vehicle, keep the tank full in case fuel stations lose power or close down. Keep a vehicle emergency kit and include an extra phone charger with necessary adapters.
Protect your property and belongings
- Learn FireSmart methods and share them with members of your community.
- Remove items that can burn from within 1.5 metres (5 feet) of your home, such as: dried branches, leaves, lawn furniture, firewood and debris.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor and near sleeping areas.
- Keep a sprinkler in an easy to access location.
- Be careful when smoking outside, extinguish fire pits and burn barrels, and obey local fire bans.
Safeguard pets and livestock
- Have a pet and livestock plan in case of evacuation. Include where they will go and how they will get there.
- In the case of an evacuation, never leave your pet behind.
- Use FireSmart methods to protect livestock enclosures and barns.
- Do not lock livestock in barns or other enclosures if you believe a fire is approaching.
During a wildfire
Prepare to leave
If there is a threat of fire in your area:
- Listen for updates from authorities.
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
- Have your vehicle stocked with supplies and ready to go.
Safeguard pets and livestock
- Bring your pets indoors and move grazing animals to a central, safe refuge.
- Avoid locking farm animals in enclosures such as barns as they could get trapped.
Wildfires are extremely dangerous. If a wildfire enters your community, the following steps can help:
- Report it and get to a safe place.
- Never attempt to fight a fire yourself. Wildfires move rapidly and are unpredictable. Wildfire crews have specialized training for managing these emergencies.
- Smoke from fires can be harmful. Monitor air quality through Alberta Health Services.
- Children, elderly and those with heart and lung related health issues are at the greatest risk from smoke inhalation.
- If you experience any difficulty in breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
- Paper masks do not provide protection from smoke.
- Ensure all windows and doors are closed. Cover vents and other openings with duct tape or other adhesive to help keep smoke out.
- Always obey an evacuation order if issued by an authority – failing to do so puts lives at risk!
Evacuation alerts and orders
Some emergencies lead authorities to issue an evacuation alert or an evacuation order.
- Evacuation alerts warn the public of a potential or current threat. An evacuation alert can lead to an evacuation order. If an alert is issued, you should prepare to evacuate.
- Evacuation orders are used when the public must leave the area for their own safety.
If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 310-FIRE (3473).
If the fire is in your community, call 911.
After a wildfire
If you are ordered to evacuate, you cannot return to your community until authorities have declared it is safe to do so.
You should not re-enter your property if:
- authorities have not deemed if safe to do so
- any part of the structure has collapsed
Use extreme caution, especially if there are holes in the floor, broken glass or dangerous debris.
Prevent fires from restarting
- Check hot spots, like smouldering stumps and vegetation. Saturate these spots with water and monitor them closely.
- Check the roof and all exterior areas for sparks and embers.
- Check the attic and the house for hidden burning, sparks and embers.
- Monitor problem areas for several days.
- Speak to an insurance agent about your specific needs.
- Know your insurance options and policy limits. Make sure your home, vehicle, business and belongings are protected. Talk to your insurance agent to learn about what is not covered in your insurance policy.
- If possible, consider an emergency savings account to cover temporary expenses while you are out of your home.
- If you can, keep emergency cash handy in case banking services are unavailable.
- If you are evacuated, keep all receipts for additional expenses.
- Prepare a detailed list of all your belongings. For more information, see Home Inventory.
- Know the 7 steps for making a home insurance claim. For more information, see Claims Management.
- The Disaster Recovery Program may provide assistance for uninsurable loss and damage.
Staying informed during emergencies can save your life. Protect yourself and your loved ones by downloading the Alberta Emergency Alert app to receive critical, life-saving alerts.
You can also find out more information by contacting your community directly to find out where they post updated information during emergencies.
Before you travel, check Alberta 511 for current road conditions to help you arrive to your destination safely.
Check with your community to learn how to help others during severe weather events. If you’re concerned for someone’s safety, call:
- 211 if someone is in distress or in an unsafe place
- 911 if they’re unconscious or need medical help
Education material you can read, print and download to share online and within your community.