A tool for maintaining the health and safety of our forests, communities, and wildlife.

What is Prescribed Fire?

Prescribed fire is the planned and controlled application of fire to a specific land area and is one of the most ecologically appropriate and relatively efficient means for achieving a variety of land management objectives.

Why Prescribed Fire?

Fire is a natural, normal process in many ecosystems and is necessary to maintain a healthy forest and a diversity of plant and animal life.

However, a history of aggressive and highly effective wildfire suppression in the Province has resulted in a significant build-up of forest fuels; greater tree encroachment on grasslands; and, ‘in-filling’ of once open, dry forests. Aggressive fire suppression has both increased the risk of devastating wildfires and negatively impacted biodiversity and forest health.

A reduction in risk

Prescribed fire is a land management tool that can bring back balance to our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire to our communities.

Prescribed fire is the planned and controlled application of fire to a specific land area and is one of the most ecologically appropriate means for achieving a variety of land management objectives; examples of which include cultural burning for First Nation’s values, wildfire risk reduction for protection of communities and critical infrastructure, ecosystem restoration, silviculture objectives such as site preparation and habitat objectives.

Rooted in history

Indigenous communities have in many ways been leading wildland fire mitigation and prevention in Canada since time immemorial.

Fire is sacred

Over the ages, cultural burning on the homelands shaped the lives of humans, plants, animals, and Mother Earth herself. Through repeated burning practices, the Indigenous Peoples of the land were able to shape their own environment to their own specific needs.

Indigenous communities have various current and emerging fire stewardship practices in support of cultural revitalization, resilience and pride, and (emergency) preparedness.

Introduction to Cultural Burning & Prescribed Fire
River Valley Prescribed Fire Case Study

Case Study

River Valley Prescribed Fire Case Study

Filmed in April 2022, the River Valley Prescribed Fire was an 80-100 hectare burn implemented by Lil’wat Nation with support from BC Wildfire Service, Pemberton Fire Rescue and Pemberton Meadows Fire. The project took place on Lil’wat Nation Traditional Territory outside of Pemberton, BC with the objective of protecting the community. The case study provides an overview of the three phases of a prescribed fire lifecycle and shows the value of partner collaboration when implementing a project of this scale.

Planning a prescribed burn?

A Burn Plan is required for any resource management open fire as per section 23 of the Wildfire Regulation.

Prescribed fires are managed to meet objectives identified within a site plan or prescription. They are implemented in accordance with an approved burn plan to limit the negative impacts to surrounding values.

The Get FireSmart™ Podcast

What is Cultural Burning & Prescribed Fire

Learn more about Cultural Burning and Prescribed Fire through episode 12 of the Get FireSmart™ Podcast. In this episode, Anthony (Tony) Pesklevits, Deputy Director of BC Wildfire Services, discusses how fire can be used as a tool, the different benefits it can provide, and its role in community protection. Additional themes include the history of controlled burning, how prescribed fire is implemented, and why it’s important for our province.

Ecosystem Restoration


What is Ecosystem Restoration?

Ecosystem Restoration is an intentional activity that initiatives or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded or destroyed. Prescribed Fire is one means of achieving Ecosystem Restoration.