Coastal Fire Centre
The Coastal Fire Centre is one of six regional wildland fire centres operated by the British Columbia Forest Service’s Protection Program. The Coastal Fire Centre is the fire dispatch and operational centre for wildland fire fighting for the lower mainland and south coastal B.C., the province’s most populated area.
When you think of the southwest region of the province, you may not think of vast forests and wildlands. In fact, the Protection Program’s most westerly office encompasses the rich forests and wildlands from Manning Park, up through areas of the Fraser Canyon, north to Tweedsmuir Park and Bella Coola, and then south to cover all of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and the lower mainland.
Throughout this region, the landscapes are a rich mix of western hemlock, Douglas fir, red cedar, and mountain hemlock trees.
The Coastal Fire Centre headquarters in Parksville supports 12 fire bases throughout the region. The hard working fire fighters in these zones are divided into two types of crews: initial attack, and unit crews. The Coastal Fire Centre has 15 Initial Attack Crews and five Unit crews for a total of 145 fire fighters.
Fighting wildland fires is a top priority in British Columbia where the forest sector is a $14 billion contributor to the provincial economy. The lush forests are also a key attraction to the tourism sector.
While improved fire fighting aircraft and technology help us to respond swiftly and effectively to new fire starts, the public are important partners in our fire control efforts.
With close to three quarters of B.C.'s population located in the south coastal region, it is important that we carry the fire prevention message to the many people who camp, hike, kayak or to simply enjoy the outdoors.
Of the 300 fires that occur per year on average throughout the Coastal Fire Centre, about half of them are caused by human activity, and the other half are caused by lightning. On Vancouver Island, 85% of fires are triggered by humans through such carelessness as abandoned campfires, children playing with matches and thoughtlessly discarded cigarettes. Fires can also be inadvertently triggered through industrial operations.
Everyone has a role to play in preventing fires. If you’re camping, please ensure you take along a bucket and douse your campfire with water until it is completely out, Here’s a simple recipe for success: Just add water and stir until cold.
If you are smoking while you drive, dispose of your cigarette remains in the vehicle ashtray. Never toss the cigarette out of the vehicle. If you are smoking while enjoying the outdoors, be sure to grind the cigarette remains out cold before you discard them.
If you see a wildfire please report it to the B.C. Forest Service at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on the Telus and Cantel cellular networks.