How we work with forest industry businesses

Your responsibilities as a forest industry business

All forest industry businesses must stay on top of legal and financial obligations, as indicated by the Wildfire Act, the Wildfire Regulation and the Forest and Range Practices Act. 

Businesses that break the law may face penalties. These include fines and mandatory remediation.

Assess and mitigate risks

Understanding your fire hazard assessment and mitigation responsibilities is crucial for community safety and environmental protection.

Businesses that do industrial activities on forest lands, grasslands or within a 1 kilometer radius of these areas must do regular fire hazard assessments.

These assessments identify potential fire hazards associated with your operations, such as the:

  • Likelihood of ignitions caused by lightning or human activities
  • Difficulty of controlling a fire
  • Potential impacts on values, such as human life, property and infrastructure

If you identify a fire hazard or an official deems that one of your industrial activities poses a threat, you must act to reduce or eliminate it. This process is known as hazard abatement.

Identify and address high-risk activities

A high-risk activity is any operation that greatly increases the risk of starting a wildfire. High-risk activities conducted on or near forest land between March 1 and November 1, unless covered by snow, are subject to specific procedures. To find out if your activity’s high-risk and what procedures you must follow:

  1. Identify that your proposed activity is in fact a high-risk activity, as defined by the Wildfire Regulation
  2. Use representative weather data to determine the fire danger rating for your location. You may use the BCWS representative weather system or your own
  3. Understand your restrictions based on the fire danger rating 

Report and respond to wildfires

Forest industry contractors and licence holders must take all reasonable steps to report, control and stop a fire, regardless of whether it was caused by human activity or natural events. 

BCWS personnel are often the first responders to wildfires on Crown land. If BCWS is not on site during an active wildfire, you must contact BCWS to report the wildfire before attempting any firefighting activities. You’re required to engage in fire suppression in accordance with the Wildfire Act.

In cases where a forest industry business manages wildfire independently of BCWS, it assumes the role of incident commander within the BCWS Incident Command System (ICS). The responsibilities of an incident commander include:

  • Submitting an initial fire report to the fire centre dispatch that details the:
    • Wildfire’s location
    • Wildfire’s size
    • Wildfire’s behaviour
    • Potential risks
    • Resources available
    • Resources needed
    • Likelihood of success
  • Providing daily cost reports to the finance section of the local zone’s Ministry Zone Operation Centre. This should include details about the resources assigned to the fire, such as:
    • Personnel numbers
    • Equipment
  • Completing daily cost documentation for all expenditures, including:
  • Regularly updating the Regional Wildfire Coordination Centre’s operations personnel through the local zone’s Ministry Zone Operation Centre. Information should include changes in: 
    • Fire size
    • Fire activity 
    • Resource needs

BCWS has the authority to step in and assume control of a wildfire if it’s deemed necessary to prevent the spread of the fire and to protect public safety and the environment. This is generally when the situation escalates beyond the capacity of the initial responders to manage effectively.

If your business’ actions lead to BCWS intervention in fire control, you may have to repay the government for the expenses of these operations.

Get paid for responding to a wildfire

Forest industry personnel involved in fire control activities on behalf of the Province, either as a statutory obligation under the Wildfire Act or based on the request of an official, may be provided with compensation.

Time worked must be recorded on Daily Time Reports (DTRs) to receive payment. The DTR is a form used to track and record personnel, standby hours and breaks during wildfire incidents. 

DTRs must be completed and submitted to the finance section of your zone office or fire centre daily, along with invoices. Your DTR should include: 

  • Your full legal company or individual name 
  • The fire centre or fire zone for a statutory hire, along with the marshalling point for the fire 
  • Whether the land is Crown, private or Indigenous
  • A circled “yes” or “no” to indicate the presence of an evacuation alert or order
  • The time personnel were released from the incident, using the 24-hour format
  • The personnel’s names and/or equipment types
  • The fireline activity personnel did. When a statutory hire is working in more than one position in a day, record each position and hours worked separately
  • The start and stop times of the activity using the 24-hour format
  • The amount of time taken for breaks in minutes. For example, 30, 60, 90. One break should be documented for every 5 hours worked
  • Total work hours with the deducted break time
  • Recorded standby hours in the correct type of standby column
  • Travel kilometers driven
  • The signature of your contractor authorized representative. If the individual is unavailable to sign, contact your local fire centre for further direction
  • The signature, printed name and employee number of the qualified receiver 
  • The signature of the time recorder 

Guidance for contractors

Learn how to rent your equipment to BCWS for use in wildfire management. 

How to lease your equipment and get paid

Winter and spring are a critical time for preparation. This is when pre-organization, also known as “pre-org,” occurs. During this stage, BCWS fire zones begin to organize resources for the upcoming wildfire season. 

BCWS hires equipment like high pressure water pumps, rock trucks and skidders from contractors to help fight wildfires.

BCWS aims to secure a basic amount of equipment before the wildfire season. To ensure readiness and better coordination, BCWS encourages businesses to sign up during the winter. 

Step 1

Forest industry businesses looking to rent their equipment to BCWS can express their interest by contacting their local fire zone. 

Step 2

Your local fire zone representative will help sign you up for the list through the BCWS Vendor Portal. You’ll need to provide the following information and documents:

  • Your legal business’ name, address, phone number and email address
  • Your GST or business number
  • Your business’ representative name, title and contact information
  • A completed equipment registration form for each piece of equipment that you sign up. This includes pumps, tanks and hoses
  • A completed Certificate of Insurance from your insurance provider for $2,000,000 of commercial general liability 
  • Proof of automobile liability insurance in the amount of $2,000,000 on licenced vehicles 
  • A tax verification letter. Your zone representative will explain how to obtain this letter 
  • Proof of WorkSafe BC coverage 
  • Proof of S.A.F.E. certification if you’d like to receive priority for a call

Step 3

If BCWS selects your business as a supplier, a representative will contact you to formalize your partnership through an Equipment Rental Agreement (ERA). The ERA will define the rental terms, conditions, responsibilities and rates. 

Step 4

You must maintain your DTRs throughout this process to get paid. Also, keep invoices, receipts and vouchers for all expenses. Proper management of these documents is important for ensuring a smooth payment process.

BCWS will also reimburse forest industry businesses for invoices related to equipment from their subcontractors, as long as the invoice is:

Step 5

Submit all your documents to the fire centre office that rented your equipment to begin the payment process. Payments and applicable discounts will be in accordance with the Financial Administration Act.

Guidance for licencees

Discover how to ensure effective communication with BCWS during wildfire incidents. 

Keep your emergency contact information up-to-date with BCWS

BCWS requires forest industry businesses to update their emergency contact information with their fire zone every year. This is important because it helps us:

  • Warn and protect people if there’s a wildfire in an area
  • Better plan and deploy resources
  • Access information in emergencies

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