FireSmart Canada

Become FireSmart: FAQ

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1. What is the cause of most wildfires?
  • An overwhelming number of brush, grass and forest fires are caused by people.
  • Lightning is a natural source of wildfire.
2. I don't live in a "wildland" -- is my home really in danger?
  • The terms “wildfire” and “wildland fire” can be misleading when it comes to the chance that your home could be ignited by a fire that starts outside in brush, grass or woods.
  • With just the right conditions – a dry, hot, windy day – and an ignition source -- a spark from a vehicle, machinery, or a carelessly tossed cigarette – your home could be in fire’s path faster than you might imagine. 
  • Many recent wildfire affecting homes and communities have been in grassy areas.
3. If a fire starts, won't the fire department put it out?
  • Local fire departments are the first responders, and always make their best efforts to deal with fires of any kind. But fires in brush, grass or forests pose a special challenge. First, it may take firefighters longer to find out about the fire if it starts in the woods or a field. They may not get a call until the fire is threatening homes.
  • Firefighter safety is the first priority when fighting any fire. Protecting your home from wildfire not only protects your home but firefighters.
4. Won't my insurance cover damages from a wildland fire?
  • Assuming you are adequately insured, most homeowner policies do typically cover property losses cause by brush, grass or forest fire. However, most policies do not cover home landscaping and plants that could be destroyed in a wildland fire. And no policy can replace personal items such as photographs, artwork and other memorabilia.
5. Why do people live in areas where wildfires threaten their homes?
  • There are many reasons that people live in areas where fires occur, and those reasons vary from place to place. Many people have migrated from more urban settings and may have little experience or understanding of the local fire risk. Many seek out the beauty and privacy of developments in the woods. Some enjoy the rugged outdoor lifestyle that living near nature affords.
  • Remember that brush, grass and forest fires can and do occur nearly everywhere in Canada. 
6. I want to be FireSmart but how do I get my neighbors to listen?
  • Using FireSmart principles on your property will start to reduce your likelihood of damage and loss. Homes or other property within 30 meters of your home can be a risk factor if they are not FireSmart.  Here are some ideas to help you work with neighbors to be safer:
    • Call on your local fire department or provincial forestry office to find out if a fire expert can come to a neighborhood meeting to discuss FireSmart principles.
    • Check the FireSmart Communities section of this website for more tips on talking with your neighbors and starting a FireSmart Community Recognition site in your area.
7. How do I get started making my community FireSmart?
  • Check the FireSmart Community Recognition Program area of this website to learn how to talk to your neighbors about FireSmart, and explore what it means to become a recognized FireSmart Community.
  • The FireSmart Community Recognition Program provides a simple template that neighborhoods can use to take action to protect homes from brush, grass and forest fires.

I am committed to close in any exposed eaves, vents and soffits on my home.

— Jeff, Community Member, Edson, Alberta