Archived reports

Current active fires
Uncontrolled Being Held Controlled Modified Response
0 0 0
(to date)
10-yr avg
(to date)
% normal Prescribed U.S.
Number 6,623 5,597 0 0 0
18,401,197 2,751,161 0 0 0

Priority fires

Data Sources: * Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre; ** Canadian National Fire database

Priority fires:

Weekly national situation reports will resume Spring 2024. The blank numbers above are currently unavailable this time of year.

Interagency mobilization

2023 Seasonal Summary

Interagency mobilization: Requests for wildland fire resource sharing both nationally and internationally are managed through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), a not-for-profit corporation owned by the federal, provincial, and territorial wildland fire management agencies.

Fire activity in the spring started early in Canada, with the National Preparedness Level (NPL) quickly rising from Level 1 the last week of April to Level 5 by May 11th. The CIFFC remained at Preparedness Level 5 throughout May, June, July, August, and into September. This indicates an ongoing full commitment of national response resources (personnel, aircraft, and/or equipment) as well as a sustained extreme demand for response resources throughout the spring and summer from Provinces and Territories. CIFFC reduced its posture to Level 4 on September 8th, once there were no longer any significant outstanding resource requests. CIFFC continued to reduce its preparedness level throughout the month of September and returned to Level 1 on October 6th. This indicates there is little to no mobilization resources occurring through CIFFC.

Over the fire season, response resources were mobilized across the country from all CIFFC member agencies. There were multiple requests for federal assistance by provinces and territories for fire fighters, specialized incident command personnel and airlift support.

The Government of Canada in collaboration with the CIFFC coordinated international personnel from Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, and Spain. In addition, the CIFFC coordinated multiple types of resources from the United States through the U.S. National Interagency Forest Fire Centre. These resources included personnel and equipment (such as pumps and hose). Some provinces and territories also have mutual assistance agreements with border states also known as the North American Fire Compacts. Additional U.S. resources were mobilized (personnel and aircraft) through these agreements.

Seasonal Summary: The first evacuation alert due to wildfire was in mid-April due to the Southeast Skwish Creek wildfire in British Columbia, which was soon followed by a series of evacuation orders in central and northern Alberta and in Harbour Breton Newfoundland as a forest fire came within metres of homes.

In early May, Alberta requested support through CIFFC as additional emergency alerts and evacuation orders were declared. On May 6th, Alberta declared a Provincial State of Emergency due to wildland fires. Saskatchewan and Northeast British Columbia also saw their fire seasons begin with evacuation orders in Buffalo Narrows and Fort St. John respectively. This was soon followed by Northwest Territories as fires near Hay River prompted their first evacuations of the season. By May 16th, 2023, approximately 1 million hectares had already burned.

By late May major fires had erupted in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia which led to the evacuation thousands of people. Manitoba also saw evacuations at this time as their fire activity increased. On June 1st, Nova Scotia declared a Provincial State of Emergency due to wildland fires. Elsewhere, wildfire management agencies began to pull back their resources supporting the west to focus on their own needs. International personnel from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa began to arrive at this time as there was significant competition for domestic resources.

On June 1st, activity in Quebec rapidly picked up as there was extreme fire danger indices across the province prior to a line of scattered lightning storms that ignited many fires and resulted in evacuation of many people. Along with Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and Nova Scotia, Quebec was also seeking firefighting resources. Air quality reports from across north America began making international headlines.

By mid-June there were 10 countries with personnel in Canada including a representative from the European Union, Spain, Portugal, and France, Costa Rica, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. Additional international resources from South Korea and Mexico joined the list of countries providing support to Canada in July.

By June 21st, the Donnie Creek Wildfire in British Columbia broke the provincial record for the single largest fire on record. On June 27th about mid way though the average fire season, the record for area burned nationally, set in 1989 (7.6 million hectares) was broken and would continue to grow.

July saw increased activity in British Columbia as the number of fires increased rapidly. Evacuation orders and alerts began to rise. Eastern Canada at this time was beginning to stabilize with evacuation orders and alerts beginning to be rescinded. By July 10th, the milestone of 10 million hectares burned nationally was reached.

August saw increased activity up north where fires in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon caused multiple evacuation orders and alerts. On August 14th Northwest Territories declared a Territorial State of Emergency as communities across the Beaufort-Delta, South Slave, North Slave Regions were evacuated. Approximately 70% of the territory was evacuated to neighboring provinces at this time. The largest communities, including the capital Yellowknife, of the Northwest Territories were evacuated. On August 18th, British Columbia declared a Provincial State of Emergency due to wildfires as fire activity increased across the province.

September saw continued fire activity in the west and north. On September 18th the evacuation orders in the Northwest Territories and the City of Yellowknife began to lift and residents began returning. In October the remaining international firefighters were demobilized as conditions continued to stabilize in the west and north. Some active fire continued in western Canada well into October with drought still pervasive across much of Canada.

Weekly Synopsis

This year’s fire season began early with dry spring conditions and high fire danger ratings in the prairies. Communities in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec saw spring evacuation alerts and orders throughout March to May. Following a busy spring, there were numerous evacuation orders throughout the summer across all provinces and territories due to wildfire, excluding Prince Edward Island. The overall evacuation numbers for the year was well above its 20-year average. Final numbers are not yet available.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre National Fire Summary, 6,623 fires have been recorded nationally in 2023, burning a total of 18,401,197 hectares (ha). For comparative purposes, the total number of fires and area burned last year (4,883 fires; 1,467,970 ha), and the 10-year average (5,597 fires; 2,751,161 ha) as reported in the Canadian National Fire Database (CNFDB). According to the CNFDB, in terms of area burned, this year was the highest ever recorded with the previous recorded in 1989 (7,597,266 ha).

British Columbia saw the most wildfires so far this year (2,245), followed by Alberta (1,022). British Columbia (2.82M ha), Alberta (2.52M ha), Northwest Territories (4.16 M ha), Saskatchewan (1.85M ha), and Quebec (5.03 M ha) each had over a million hectares burned. Estimated area burned was above the 10-year average in British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Parks Canada, but lower than average in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.

The total area burned may change as provinces and territories continue to map their respective fires.


We will not be providing a weather prognosis this week. Weekly national situation reports will resume Spring 2024.

2023 In-Review Drought beginning in late summer of 2022 helped shape the record-breaking 2023 Canadian wildland fire season. While precipitation temporarily alleviated drought in some areas over the 2022-23 winter, it re-intensified in 2023, with the central and western prairies and Atlantic region very dry by April. Drying spread into western Ontario by May, across the rest of Ontario, much of Quebec, and northern British Columbia by June. While some regions received plentiful rainfall, drought continued intensifying through the rest of the summer outside these moist areas. By the end of September, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada estimated about 72% of Canada was undergoing some level of drought. This figure excludes Nunavut, where drought is currently not assessed; however, drought intensity along parts of the Northwest Territories/Nunavut border indicates dryness likely extends well into mainland Nunavut.

Between late 1998 and early 2001, a “triple-dip” La Niña – one which intensifies three times before returning to neutral or El Niño status – was followed by severe drought in parts of western Canada. The El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index remained neutral from 2001 through early 2002 before El Niño returned; in comparison, 2023 featured a quick transition from a triple-dip La Niña (which started in late 2020) to El Niño. National drought products were not developed well enough in 2002-03 to provide a good comparison with 2023; however, this suggests the end of a prolonged La Niña may contribute to widespread drought. Two decades of climate warming since the early 2000s may have also led to more intense or extensive drought in 2023.

This quick ENSO phase transition in 2023 featured events typical of both phases. Early to mid-spring in western Canada featured dry Arctic high pressure areas typical in La Niña springs generating significant southeast winds. In early May, intense spring fire activity developed in central Alberta, northeastern British Columbia, and western Saskatchewan, with weak thundershowers igniting new fires by mid-month. Later in the spring, hot, dry, and windy weather dominated large portions of the west, typical of El Niño springs. In the east, periods of negative North Atlantic Oscillation early in the summer may have contributed to widespread dry weather in Quebec and the Atlantic region. Other ocean/atmosphere patterns, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, may have also played a role.

Above normal temperatures accompanied these dry patterns in most of the nation from May through September, and into October in some regions. During mid-May to mid-June, unusual movement of a high pressure ridge prolonged heat and drought across much of Canada. This feature crossed west to east, moved back into western Canada, then moved east again before finally flattening. The May-June period may be the warmest on record in many regions west of Hudson Bay, while June temperatures east of James Bay appear to about 5C above normal, a huge departure for a summer month.

With these warm and dry conditions, lightning ignited many large fires. Lightning activity was among the lowest recorded in the Canadian Lightning Detection Network, indicating a high efficiency of lightning in starting fires: a relatively small number of strikes contributed to a relatively large number of blazes. Central Alberta received above normal rainfall through June and July, and Manitoba and Yukon received plentiful rain until later in the summer, with fire activity peaking in late July in Yukon and rising but remaining sporadic in August and September in Manitoba. After early fire activity, periodic rainfall events in June in the Atlantic region and the St Lawrence valley gradually helping extinguish fires in southern Quebec, but not reaching far enough north to eradicate fires near La Grande Rivière until July. The wet areas likely received the bulk of the lightning strikes.

Wind events in September continued to drive fire growth in northern parts of the western provinces, the Northwest Territories, and around James Bay. Notable events occurred between September 8-12 and September 21-23 in western Canada, and September 26-October 1 in the James Bay region. Rainfall between September 24 and 26 reduced fire activity in northeastern British Columbia, northern Alberta, and the Northwest Territories. The cooler and moister trend gradually moved south as snow began replacing rain in northern regions, and cold air and snow arrived in the Prairies in late October, helping wind down a very busy fire year. Drought will continue over the winter in many areas, especially in the west, and may have implications for the timing and intensity of fire activity in the spring of 2024.