Fire Safety – OVERVIEW

What FOCA sees: Forest fires are a fact of life in Ontario, and our members are among those who are potentially at risk from the threat of fire.  Always be mindful of local conditions, and check with your local municipality about possible fire restrictions before burning.

May 2022 – May 7th was Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Your lake or road association can still make plans to hold a community event to improve your community’s fire preparedness! Get tips in the excerpts from the Wildfire Community Toolkit from FireSmart.

April, 2022 – Fire prevention is our top priority, but Ontario is gearing up for wildfire response: Ontario details resources for wildfire season beginning April 1 (Global News)

Canadian Wildland Fire Information Service map at May 18, 2022

> Access a map of current Ontario forest fire hazard levels across the country from the Canadian Wildland Fire Information System.  This “Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System” is a national system for rating the risk of forest fires, based on a variety of factors, such as ease of ignition and difficulty of control. Ontario posts additional general information about restrictions, here:

> track smoke trails across Ontario in real-time on the Fire Smoke Canada website

> Download the Ontario “Home Owners FireSmart Manual”  (PDF, 16 pages) with safety information and a home hazard assessment checklist. Find additional FireSmart resources here:

> Get cottage fire safety tips from the Ontario Fire Marshal by clicking here 

> Get links to video resources, here: Fire Safety Resources

To Report a Wildfire:

Central and South Ontario– call 911 or your local municipal fire department

Northwestern Ontario  – Call 310-FIRE (3473)

Northeastern Ontario – Call 310- FIRE (3473)

Is Your Community Prepared?

The Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA) represents a large number of property owners in Ontario, who as a group have significant land holdings.  Waterfront property owners together own more than 200,000 acres of forested lands, and are key stakeholders in fire safe living. FOCA encourages waterfront communities to discuss wildfire preparedness and create a community action plan. Consider the following:

  • Fire Summer 2011_sprinklersWhat will you do if a fire is approaching your or a neighbour’s residence?
  • Who will you call, and how do you sound an alarm to notify the community?
  • Does your community have fire equipment in strategic locations on the lake?
  • Who is in charge of maintaining this equipment, and who has access to it?
  • Are there emergency exits clearly marked in community buildings?
  • Do you have a home escape plan?
  • Have you located fire safe areas in the community such as lakes or other wet areas, rock outcrops, and roads?


Ontario’s cottage and camp owners are by sheer geography, a self-help group.  As
rural and often remote residents, they need to be independent when it comes not only to day to day living, but also to be prepared and able to respond in times of crisis and emergency.

It is important for rural and woodland residents to learn about and understand their risks, and to take proactive steps to make their families and their property safer.

Every homeowner can do something, and at different times of the year they have different opportunities to make a difference.  FOCA encourages landowners to plan ahead to protect their homes from the risk of forest fires and follow safe burning guidelines for brush and campfires.

  • Protect your family
  • Protect your property
  • Prepare yourself, and your community in the event of wildfire

Earlier News:

June 23, 2021 – The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management reminds everyone that it will soon be July, when the top fire safety concerns are:

  • barbeques
  • cottage fires
  • smoking-related fires
  • forest fires
Learn about all kinds of summer safety in the Summer Smart handbook from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority.

Also, review these Cottage Fire Safety tips from the Fire Marshal.

May 2021 – the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) reminds everyone that it’s time to think about fire safety. Get tips for in the house/cottage, around your property, BBQ and campfire safety and more from this OAFC webpage.

October 4, 2020 – new 3-Steps-to-Wildfire-Protection Infographic spells out how to make your forest home a FireSmart home (FireSmart)

September 30, 2020 – FireSmart measures begin with maintenance  (Real Estate Management Industry)

May 2020 – review great fire safety resources for home, cottage, outdoor and campfire safety from Ontario’s Association of Fire Chiefs, here: Be sure you post in a prominent place at the cottage your property “911” number, and a description of the location including road and township details. FOCA has created a sample that you can use, posted to our Emergency Response webpage.

MNRF Fire Zone Map at April 23 2020

April 2020 – Effective April 3rd, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has implemented a Restricted Fire Zone (RFZ) across the entire legislated fire region of Ontario due to impacts related to the COVID-19 outbreak. See more on the MNRF website:

May 13, 2018 – “Wild Fire near Caddy Lake puts Cottagers on edge” – CBC News coverage of fire on the Manitoba/Ontario border – water bombers douse flames
October 8-14th, 2017 is Fire Prevention Week, and this year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 ways out!” 
July 15, 2017 – A new study from Canadian Forest Service predicts that climate change is increasing the likelihood of high intensity, uncontrollable fire.  Further, results indicate that the proportion of days in fire seasons with the potential for unmanageable fire will increase across the Canada’s forest, more than doubling in some regions in northern and eastern boreal forest. (Mike Wotton, University of Toronto) 
July 11, 2017 – Climate change extending forest fire season in Ontario  – ‘Stroke of luck’ 2017 Ontario forest fire season quiet so far (CBC)

May 12, 2016 – Sprinklers save cottages – Fireball strikes island but wet buildings survive  (Winnipeg Free Press)

Michelle LewinFire Safety – OVERVIEW