FireSmart 2024 Public Perceptions Survey

As wildfires continue to pose significant challenges to communities across British Columbia, public awareness has become increasingly important. 

Every year, FireSmart BC performs their Public Perceptions Survey to learn how aware people are of wildfire danger, FireSmart BC, and how they can use FireSmart to prepare for wildfire season as regular citizens. The results are in, and there’s plenty to learn from this year. With evolving attitudes, awareness levels, and behavioural shifts concerning wildfire preparedness, there are actions everyone can take to help improve the wildfire resiliency of our province. 

The significance of wildfires.

After the most devastating wildfire season on record, it’s not surprising that there was a clear consensus on the danger of wildfires. An overwhelming 92% of respondents recognize wildfires as either important or the most critical issue facing British Columbia. 

This represents a notable 4% increase from the previous year, highlighting a growing awareness of the magnitude and severity of wildfire challenges. The survey further shows a significant shift in public perception, with 83% of respondents acknowledging the increasing frequency, scale, and severity of wildfires—a marked 17% rise from previous years. 

These survey results show how important it is to have proactive measures in place to mitigate wildfire risks and improve community resilience.

Learning how to make safe communities.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what FireSmart BC is doing, and the public is steadily growing more aware of how to become more wildfire resilient.  

A noteworthy development highlighted in the survey is the growing familiarity with FireSmart BC initiatives, with 55% of respondents reporting at least some level of awareness—a considerable 8% increase from the previous year. This growing familiarity with FireSmart BC translates into tangible shifts in behaviour, as evidenced by 93% of those very familiar with FireSmart expressing confidence in their ability to take proactive steps to safeguard their homes. 

Moreover, 82% of respondents very familiar with FireSmart BC express at least some confidence in the collective efforts to prevent wildfires, indicating a growing sense of community preparedness and resilience.

What does this mean?

The results are clear; when people know more about what wildfire resiliency actions they can take, they’re more likely to:

  • Believe they can help their community prepare for wildfires
  • Feel confident in their ability to protect themselves and others
  • Seek out information on how to protect their home
  • Become more engaged in wildfire mitigation efforts

If people know about FireSmart BC, they’re more likely to take action to keep themselves and their homes safe. In fact, 79% of those who are very familiar with FireSmart BC say they’re at least a bit likely to proactively search for information on how to protect their homes. And 54% of them have already done just that. 

Awareness also brings peace of mind. Those who learn about tangible actions that they can take to protect their homes and communities feel more confident and prepared, making them less afraid of wildfires. 

What can you do about it?

Spread the word! The more that people learn about FireSmart BC, the safer we all become. We’re on the right track, but there’s further to go, and working together is the best way to improve BC’s safety. 

Let your friends and family know about FireSmart BC and how they can take action to protect their homes. Some easy resources you can share to help them learn the basics are:

By learning and taking action together, we can all help make a more wildfire-resilient province.

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