Wildfires and evacuations

Public and employee safety is our number one priority. We work closely with emergency response officials to monitor wildfire situations in the province, ensure public safety and protect our natural gas and electricity systems. With the high risk of summer forest fires in BC, we encourage you to prepare your property and create contingency plans so you’re ready for service outages. Learn more about what you and your family can to do to prepare for a wildfire at PreparedBC or Firesmart BC.

Natural gas and electricity service may be disrupted during a fire, so it’s important to create contingency plans for safely managing without service. We encourage you to have:

  • an emergency kit with enough supplies for at least 72 hours, stored in a location easily found in the dark
  • a safe, alternative method for preparing and storing food (never use outdoor cooking appliances indoors)
  • hot water backup
  • backup power with sufficient capacity to safely maintain:
    • medical equipment or other critical equipment
    • your water pump, if you have one
    • lighting and space heating
    • computers, routers, cell phones and other equipment to stay in contact during an emergency

Important: if you choose to do any excavating or trenching on your property to help protect it from fire, contact BC 1 Call at bc1c.ca or 1-800-474-6886 beforehand to get location details of natural gas lines and other underground utilities. During a wildfire, these requests will be processed as emergencies.

Natural gas service during evacuation

FortisBC will maintain services to evacuated properties as long as it’s safe to do so. However, emergency officials may instruct us to shut off service, or we may need to shut off service to protect our natural gas or electricity systems. 

Do not turn off your natural gas if you receive an evacuation order. We’ll turn off natural gas service as needed.

Your electricity service after an evacuation

  • After a fire, our crews will visually inspect each property for damage to buildings and electrical equipment before restoring power. Customers in wildfire-affected areas will be asked to update our customer service team with their current contact information.
  • If your buildings or other structures are damaged by fire, we require an affidavit signed by a licensed electrician before we can safely restore electricity service to your premises. See Technical Safety BC's protocol on service restoration for more information about safely restoring service to your property.
  • If you have electricity safety concerns, please call our electricity emergency line: 1-866-436-7847.

Your natural gas service when you return home after an evacuation

  • If gas has been turned off due to an emergency, we’ll ensure the natural gas system is safe before our crews visit homes to relight appliances.
  • If the service valve on your natural gas meter is turned to the "off" position (crosswise to the pipe) do not turn it on yourself. Our crews will visit your home to restore gas service and relight affected appliances. If you were away when our crew arrived, they’ll leave a door tag with instructions to call 1-877-711-8877 to have them return and restore service to your residence.
  • If you have concerns with your natural gas system, or if you smell rotten eggs or hear the sound of escaping gas, go outside and call the FortisBC 24-Hour Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911 or dial 9-1-1.

Damaged natural gas appliances? Call a licensed gas contractor

Don’t try to put natural gas appliances back in service yourself, and don’t use any gas appliances that have been damaged until they have been thoroughly inspected by a licensed gas contractor.

The contractor will check, repair and test the pressure of all gas pipes that may have been affected by the forest fire, and they’ll make sure all your gas equipment is safe to operate.

Smell gas?

If you smell rotten eggs or hear the sound of escaping gas, go outside and call the FortisBC 24-Hour Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911 or dial 9-1-1.