BC Wildfire Service App

The BC Wildfire Service App is a new way for citizens of British Columbia to become engaged in the monitoring of fire activity in the province. There are four components of this application, one of which is the fire reporting tool: press a button on the screen and coordinates are automatically generated so that when you call the BC Wildfire Service hotline, you can give them your exact location. When you use this function of the app, you are also given the general questions that an operator asks when a fire is called in, so that you are better prepared to efficiently and accurately relay information about a forest fire. The other components all center around information sharing with the public about current fire regulations in the province, wildfire activity, and public safety alerts within a 50-kilometre radius of the user’s location. In general, the app is meant to raise the general public awareness and engagement about forest fire risk in the province, particularly after the devastating forest fires in 2018 that burned a whopping 1.3 million hectares of land in B.C.  However, you must have a connection to a cellular network to be able to report a fire, which is often not the case if you are in a remote region of the province or in the wilderness. Campers and hikers who may see the first flames may not be able to report a fire until they are within range of a cell tower. Furthermore, indigenous communities who have been particularly devastated by wildfires in the past, often are only sparsely connected to service providers, so the app loses its efficacy in many indigenous communities. So while this app is certainly an innovative approach to engaging the public and hopefully catching fires as it is put to the test before the start of the fire season in 2020, it should not be depended on exclusively for fire monitoring. 

Judd, Amy. “B.C. releases app tracking real-time information on wildfires.

Government of British Columbia. “BC Wildfire Service launches official wildfire app.


Citizen Science, Ecological Monitoring, Lifestyle, Monitoring, Regulation