What You Need To Know About Wildfires And Boating


In 2023, we saw more than 6100 wildfires across Canada during a record-breaking wildfire season. As we gear up for another season on the water, here’s some essential tips to navigate wildfires safely.  

The Canadian Wildfire Season 

Typically, wildfire season in Canada is from April to October and caused by droughts, dry land and lightning strikes. However, most spring wildfires are accidentally caused by people. 

In recent years, the impact of climate change has increased these risks. Leading to longer fire seasons, more frequent lightning strikes, and drier conditions that are favourable to cause a fire.  


Preparation: A Boater’s Best Defense

Preparation is key to safely navigating wildfire season while enjoying Canada’s waterways. Here are some essential steps to consider before you go boating:

1. Stay Informed

Check for wildfire alerts, weather forecasts, and boating advisories issued by relevant authorities. For example:

  • The Canadian Wildland Fire Information System (CWFIS)
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  • Transport Canada.

2. Create a Safety Plan

Develop a comprehensive safety plan that includes;

  • Evacuation routes
  • Emergency contacts
  • Communication protocols
  • Contingency measures in a wildfire

Ensure all passengers are familiar with the plan and know their roles and responsibilities in case of an emergency. 

3. Prepare Your Vessel

Stock your boat with essential safety equipment like;

4. Monitor Conditions

Keep an eye out for signs of smoke, haze, or unusual weather patterns that may indicate a wildfire is nearby.

Be prepared to change your route or seek shelter in a safe location if conditions deteriorate rapidly. 



Tips for boating during wildfire season.  

  • In case your boat trailer burns, have a plan on how to get your boat out of the water.
  • Follow regulations and restrictions from first responders and local authorities 
  • Comply with any waterway restrictions in effect 
  • Stay away from water bombers, airtankers and helicopters – they need plenty of room to collect water and can’t when a boat is blocking the path.   
  • Report if you see the start of a wildfire.  
  • Check your insurance coverage is adequate  

Things to Avoid During Wildfires

Here are some things to avoid while boating during wildfire season; 

Open Flames

Refrain from using open flames on your boat or on shorelines near wooded areas. For example, campfires, grills, or lanterns.  

Disposing Flammable Material Improperly

Ensure flammable materials (like cigarette butts) are fully extinguished and properly disposed of. Avoid tossing them overboard or onto dry plants, where they could spark a wildfire. 

Ignoring Wildfires Safety Advisories

Respect any boating restrictions, closures, or evacuation orders issued by authorities. Ignoring these advisories not only jeopardizes your safety but also puts an unnecessary strain on emergency responders. 


Resources For Boaters To Stay Up-to-Date On Wildfires

Here’s some resources to help them navigate wildfire season safely and stay up to date on information:  

  1. Canadian Wildland Fire Information System (CWFIS)
  2. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  3. Transport Canada
  4. Local Authorities and Emergency Services

Together, we can navigate wildfire season with caution and enjoy summertime on the water.  For more information or to get a quote for boat insurance.