Stories

7 things to know about how we restore your service after a forest fire

July 21, 2017

Wildfire940

Updated July 30, 2021

So your evacuation order has been lifted and you’re going home. As you prepare to go home, we want to assure you and all the communities we serve that your safety comes first. And that includes how we restore your electricity or natural gas after forest fires.

Here are seven things you need to know about our restoration activities – and what may be expected of you once you get home.

How we assess service restoration

1. If fire or emergency officials requested it, FortisBC may have turned off your electricity and/or natural gas.

Once those officials confirm it is safe to do so, our crews can begin assessing the energy infrastructure in your area.

2. Before restoring electricity or natural gas, our crews will visually inspect each home and property for damage to buildings, as well as electrical and natural gas systems.

  • Electricity customers: if there is no fire damage, and we’ve confirmed your home and systems are safe, we will reconnect your power remotely.
  • Gas customers: if your natural gas service was turned off, it can only be restored with a visit by one of our FortisBC technicians. (See below for more details.)

What we will do if you have fire damage

3. If fire has damaged your buildings, other structures and/or the energy system, a BC Safety Authority registered electrician or licensed gas contractor must perform a safety inspection before we can reconnect you.

System damages could include the electrical system such as the wiring, meter or circuit breaker panel, or the natural gas system, such as the meter, regulator, piping or appliances.

And in some cases, we’ll require an affidavit signed by the electrician or gas contractor before we can safely restore your service. Find an electrician or contractor in your area.

Natural gas appliance safety and relighting

4. If you come home to find the service valve on your natural gas meter is turned to the off position, do not turn it on.

Also, do not attempt to use any damaged gas appliances (such as a stove, fireplace or barbecue). If you’ve contacted a licensed contractor, they will check, repair and pressure test all gas pipes that may have been affected by fire.

5. If you have concerns with the natural gas system, call FortisBC’s 24-hour emergency line.

Also, if you detect the rotten egg or sulphur smell of natural gas, leave your home immediately and call the same FortisBC 24-hour emergency number at 1-800-663-9911.

6. Ensure that a qualified technician inspects your natural gas meter and appliances.

After they do, a FortisBC technician will visit your home to relight all affected appliances and restore gas service at the meter, if required.

7. If you are not at home when a FortisBC technician visits, call us.

The FortisBC technician will leave a door tag that provides contact information. Call 1-877-711-8877 for relights.


Visit our wildfires webpage for more information, or follow us on Twitter @FortisBC to stay informed.