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Do you know your wildfire facts? Take our quiz

You probably suspected it already but here’s the hard truth: 2023 was the worst wildfire season in BC recorded history. As the threat of wildfires continues to grow, we want to do everything we can to help British Columbians prevent and prepare for wildfires.

So, we’re asking… are you wildfire smart? Take our quiz and find out. Here are eight questions to test your wildfire knowledge. Check your score afterwards and see how equipped you are for wildfire season.

1. What percentage of wildfires are caused by human activity?

a. 20%
b. 30%
c. 40%
d. 50%

Answer: c

In BC, the most common cause of wildfire is lightning, which causes about 60% of all wildfires each year. The remaining 40% of wildfires are human caused, including:

  • Open burning – which includes burning garbage in barrels, pits or furnaces
  • Arson
  • Vehicle and engine use
  • Industrial activity – includes land clearing, timber processing and mining
  • Fireworks, sky-lanterns, outdoor flame lighting
  • Discarding burning items like cigarettes

2. How much of natural BC forest was lost to wildfires in 2023?

a. 254,000 hectares
b. 660,000 hectares
c. 1.1 million hectares
d. 2.84 million hectares

Answer: d

The 2023 wildfire season was the most destructive in British Columbia's recorded history. Over 2.84 million hectares of forest and land burned, about the same size as the whole of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. That’s almost 5% of all forests in BC and over double the area that was burned during any previous year on record. Tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate and hundreds of homes and structures were lost or damaged.

Firefighter uses drip torch to start a controlled burn

3. Where do the firefighters battling blazes in BC come from?

a. BC and Alberta
b. BC, Washington State and Oregon
c. All over Canada
d. All around the world

Answer: d

Canada has firefighting agreements with the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa and Costa Rica. In 2023 with so much fire activity, Canada looked beyond that agreement and sought help from firefighters from Brazil, France and South Korea.

4. How far on average do wildfire embers travel and still be a threat to reigniting?

a. 50m
b. 500m
c. 2km
d. 5km

Answer: c

Carried by the wind, embers travel on average 2km, and can instantly ignite if they fall on the right fuel. There have been documented evidence of embers travelling 17km! FireSmart™ BC’s FireSmart Begins at Home Guide notes embers are the most likely cause of a wildfire destroying a property, with around 50% of homes destroyed by wildfires ignited by embers. Many homeowners assume because their property is not close to a forest, they do not need to be prepared for a wildfire, but this is a mistake because of the threat of embers.

5. What are 'zombie fires'?

a. Fires started by people who then flee the scene
b. Fires that appear to stop but quietly linger underground during the winter
c. Accidental fires started by people who don’t notice them
d. Fires intentionally started by zombies

Answer: b

Zombie fires are fires that refuse to die. They appear to snuff out as winter hits Canada but these flameless fires smoulder deep under Canadian snow, then get reborn into wildfires come spring and summer. And yes, BC endured a record number of zombie fires last year.

Smoky BC Kootenay forest landscape overlooking mountains

6. When does wildfire season usually begin? 

a. March
b. May
c. July
d. It’s always wildfire season

Answer: d

Since January 1, there have been eight new wildfires start, and there are numerous holdover wildfires smouldering underneath winter snow cover, so wildfires are always being monitored and controlled. Due to climate change, the increase in wildfires is surprisingly more year-round than many people think. Part of that reason is less snow than in years past. As of the snow bulletin on March 1, the average provincial snowpack is 34% less than normal, based on the average from 1991 to 2020. We’ve also experienced a drought since 2022 and the BC government says the amount of rain required to mitigate this drought is unlikely.

7. What are the different levels of fire bans to watch out for?

a. Yellow, orange, red and white
b. Green is permitted, red is banned
c. Category 1, 2, 3 and 4
d. Class A, B, C, D

Answer: c

The four different levels of fire bans are:

  • Category 1 campfires
  • Category 2 open fires
  • Category 3 open fires
  • Category 4 resource management open fire

Find out more about these categories on the BC Government website.

Before you go camping or backwoods hiking, check the status of BC wildfires through BC Wildfire Services, and follow social media feeds like BC Wildfire Services on X.

8. What is FireSmart BC's Home Partners Program?

a. A program to assess and increase your home’s wildfire resilience
b. A program where people go door-to-door to share knowledge about wildfires
c. A program that encourages you to get an emergency evacuation plan in place
d. A program for monitoring and reporting wildfires near people’s homes


Answer: a

FireSmart BC's Home Partners Program promotes voluntary wildfire mitigation activities by offering you a free professional home assessment with property-specific recommendations that are backed by research to significantly lower your wildfire risk. Plus, property owners who complete the assessment can be eligible for a discount on BCAA Home Insurance.

Woman cleans dry tree debris from roof drainpipe

How did you do?

  • 7-8 correct: Amazing! You certainly know your wildfire facts.
  • 5-6 correct: Well done. Your wildfire knowledge is solid with room to grow.
  • 2-4 correct: You have a good start. Brush up at
  • 0-1 correct: Don’t worry, you have to start somewhere. Keep learning!

Get FireSmart

We care about the impacts of wildfires on our communities, so we’re investing $250,000 each year into wildfire prevention and preparedness with our partners at FireSmart BC to help more British Columbians reduce their wildfire risk.

Whether you know your wildfire facts inside out, or are looking to get better prepared, find resources, tips and more at Don’t forget, you can check for up-to-date wildfire information any time at BC Wildfire Service.