A hub of wildfire resiliency research

This page is a platform to share wildfire resiliency research conducted by and in coordination with the BC FireSmart Committee, to suggest research projects and coordinate funding, as well as announce current research initiatives and results.

Our current research
Wildfire image and video submission

Do you have images or videos of the fires that impacted either West Kelowna or the Shuswap regions in the Summer of 2023? If you’d like to share them with us, please click here.

Have a research idea or question?

For more information on FireSmart BC research or to suggest a project or research focus area please contact the Chairs of the Standing Committee for Research at [email protected]

The Lytton, BC Report

An examination of the Lytton, BC wildland-urban fire destruction

This report, authored by Jack D. Cohen, PhD., and Alan Westhaver, M.Sc., was commissioned by the BC FireSmart Committee and published by the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR). It provides a comprehensive examination of the Lytton Wildland-Urban fire disaster for the purpose of:

  • Understanding the relationship between the wildfire conditions and how homes and businesses ignited and burned to total destruction resulting in the Lytton WU fire disaster on June 30, 2021.
  • Communicating understanding and awareness specifically related to the Lytton WU fire disaster examination revealing fundamental principles of all WU fires that can be generally applied by residents, municipal and emergency managers such that all communities can choose to become more wildfire resilient and more likely to avoid future disasters.
  • Making recommendations for readily attainable ignition resistant materials and designs, and best practices for rebuilding and maintenance of fire-resistant communities at the Village of Lytton and Lytton First Nations, Klahkamich (IR 17) and Klickkumcheen (IR 18).

For an animated summary of the findings, click key learnings below, or download the full report. To watch a video presentation on the findings, click here.

Key learnings Download report
Lytton Summary Report
The Get FireSmart Podcast: Lytton Episode

This podcast episode dives specifically into the home ignition zone, as well as the recent report he was instrumental in bringing to life: An Examination of the Lytton, BC wildland-urban fire destruction. Alan shares what he and his team learned, what recommendations they have and some of the insights they gathered throughout their research and investigation process.

Wildfire resiliency papers from around the world

State of the Air 2022 British Columbia, Canada 2022 Learn More arrow
Resilient pathways report: co-creating new knowledge for understanding risk and resilience in British Columbia British Columbia, Canada 2022 Learn More arrow
Measuring Initial Attack Suppression Effectiveness through Burn Probability North America 2019 Learn More arrow
Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches Kenya 2022 Learn More arrow
Wildland fire risk research in Canada Canada 2020 Learn More arrow
Building a Resilient Canada Ottawa, Ontario 2022 Learn More arrow
CBC: Into The Fire Alberta, Canada 2017 Learn More arrow
National guide for wildland-urban-interface fires Canada 2021 Learn More arrow
Cities Adapt To Extreme Wildfires Ontario, Canada 2020 Learn More arrow
Three Steps To Cost-Effective Wildfire Home Protection Ontario, Canada 2020 Learn More arrow
FireSmart measures begin with maintenance Ontario, Canada 2020 Learn More arrow
Blueprint for wildland fire science in Canada (2019-2029) Alberta, Canada 2019 Learn More arrow
Fire behaviour in thinned jack pine: two case studies of FireSmart treatments in Canada's Northwest Territories Alberta, Canada Learn More arrow
Fire-smart forest management: A pragmatic approach to sustainable forest management in fire-dominated ecosystems Ontario, Canada 2001 Learn More arrow
Barriers to FireSmart Development in Alberta Alberta, Canada 2022 Learn More arrow
Awareness And Adoption of FireSmart Canada: Barriers And Incentive Saskatchewan, Canada 2018 Learn More arrow
Scientists’ warning on wildfire — a Canadian perspective Canada 2019 Learn More arrow
The Photoload Sampling Technique Colorado, USA 2007 Learn More arrow
New California law requires seller of home to disclose vulnerability to wildfires California, USA 2021 Learn More arrow
Wildfire Resilience Strategies for Real Estate Washington, DC, USA 2020 Learn More arrow
Forest fires and the law Rome, Italy 2019 Learn More arrow
Ember Characteristics South Carolina 2020 Learn More arrow
Changing Wildfire, Changing Forests Washington, USA Learn More arrow
Fire Smart Territory as an innovative approach to wildfire risk reduction Italy, Portugal, Australia, Greece 2020 Learn More arrow
Future impacts of fire-smart landscape management on biodiversity under rural abandoment and climate change scenarios Porto, Portugal 2020 Learn More arrow
The Science of Firescapes: Achieving Fire-Resilient Communities Oxford, England 2016 Learn More arrow
Wildfire Management in Chile: Increasing Risks Call for More Resilient Communities Valdivia, Chile 2021 Learn More arrow
Exposing hidden-value trade-offs: sharing wildfire management responsibility between government and citizens Victoria, Australia 2014 Learn More arrow
Bushfire & natural Hazards CRC Queensland, Australia 2015 Learn More arrow

Current Project

WUI case-study research project

Our research currently being conducted over wildfire season aims to deliver:
  • A better understanding of the factors leading to ignition and loss of homes and other structures
  • A framework for post-fire examinations
  • An improved foundation for enhanced FireSmart guidelines and FireSmart communications with the public
  • Better informed policy, legislation and development initiatives regarding FireSmart
  • A stronger foundation for future wildfire resiliency initiatives
Case study guidance Data Collection Framework

Please note:

FireSmart BC engages in research projects to study wildfire in the built environment. As part of these studies there may be drones, cameras and researchers present in your community. Private data may be inadvertently collected under 26(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purposes of evaluating the effectiveness of the FireSmart principles. You may be contacted in the event that images or footage from your neighbourhood may be beneficial for public education purposes. An approval process to request permission via a consent and release form will take place before any data is shared.
For more information regarding these research projects please email [email protected]

Other current projects

Northwest Territories Structure Ignition Project

In collaboration with the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Northwest Territories Structure Ignition Project will be conducted in Yellowknife (exact dates TBC).

To conduct the experiment, 14 tiny home structures (8x8 ft) will be built with varying FireSmart and non-FireSmart materials and installed in the Fort Providence Wildfire Experimental Site. A controlled fire will be ignited at the site to study and monitor how the structures withstand the effects of wildfire and associated ember showers. Insights from this project will be shared with the public, along with a case study video.

View photos

Public Awareness and Understanding of Wildfires and the FireSmart BC Program

The FireSmart Public opinion research was initially commissioned as part of the BC FireSmart Committee (BCFSC) strategic plan development process in 2021 to understand public awareness levels of wildfires and programs offered by FireSmart BC. Insights from the 2021 public opinion survey helped inform the 2022 FireSmart BC annual work plan. The BC FireSmart Committee undertook their second annual survey of 1,005 British Columbians in 2022 to understand awareness levels of wildfires and programs offered by FireSmart BC.

View infographic

Research videos

IBHS Research Center Ember Storm Test Highlights
Understanding Wind-Blown Embers From Structural Materials and Vegetation

Who’s behind the research?

The Standing Committee of Research under the BC FireSmart Committee is tasked with providing guidance on how best to support the furthering of wildfire resiliency in BC, establishing a method for research project coordination across the province, nationally and internationally as well as with aligning research priorities with those of FireSmart Canada as well as national agencies like Canada Wildfire, CIFFC and Natural Resources Canada.

Research partners