FireSmart Canada

Become FireSmart: Fire safety and the wildland urban interface

Preparing for fire safety happens long before a fire ignites.

In the wildland urban interface you may experience unexpected conditions in both the wildland and structural aspects of a fire. It is critical be aware of the situation to keep you and your fellow fire fighters safe.

Whenever working in the wildland urban interface always establish your LACES:
Lookouts
Awareness
Communications
Escape routes
Safety zones

Wildfire conditions can change rapidly with wind shifts and fuel changes. Always being aware of what is surrounding you is critical.

WATCHOUT situations in the wildland urban interface:

  •  You are in country you have not seen in daylight
  • You are constructing line without a safe anchor point
  • You are attempting a frontal assault on a fire
  • There is unburned fuel between you and the fire
  • You are building fireline downhill with fire below
  • You are on a hillside where rolling material can ignite fuel below
  • The weather is getting hotter and drier
  • The wind increases and/or changes direction
  • The terrain and fuels make escape to safety zones difficult
  • You feel like taking a nap near the fireline
  • You are unfamiliar with the local factors influencing fire behaviour
  • You are getting frequent spot fires across the line
  • You are working in an area where numerous snags and hazard trees are present
  • The management of the fire is transitioning
  • You are driving when fatigued and/or in conditions where darkness, dust and/or smoke make visibility difficult
  • The fire is in the urban interface
  • You have significantly exceeded the 2:1 work/rest ratio or you have been operating at the 2:1 ratio for an extended period

Training is a critical part of preparation for the wildfire season. Get to know your partners in the wildland urban interface. Discuss the unique wildfire characteristics in and around your area and understand the challenges that may pose to structural firefighting. Work together to over come these challenges and improve operations in the wildland urban interface.

I am committed to always keep a watchful eye on fire pits and burn barrels when they are in use.

— My name is J. Nelson, Community Member, Mill Bay, British Columbia