Wildfires a Growing Threat to Canadian Homes and Camps

Smoke billows from the Fort McMurray wildfires as a truck drives down the highway in Kinosis, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Smoke billows from the Fort McMurray wildfires as a truck drives down the highway in Kinosis, Alberta, Canada, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – The threat of wildfires seems to be far greater in many parts of Canada in recent years, already during the 2024 Fire Season there have been evacuations in Alberta and British Columbia.

The threat of wildfires to major urban centres is a reminder of the increased danger to cities. While in Northwestern Ontario there have been evacuations due to wildfires of the people from Northern First Nation communities, we have not seen fire impacting our major urban centres.

The National Picture

Canada witnessed a devastating wildfire season last year, with an unprecedented 17 million hectares burned. Although the number of fires was lower than previous years, the scale of destruction, particularly in British Columbia and Alberta, set new records. MyChoice, a leading insurance comparison website, has highlighted the Canadian cities most at risk of wildfires in 2024.

Cities at High Risk

Kamloops, BC, tops the list of cities with the highest wildfire risk, followed by Saskatoon and Regina in Saskatchewan, and Kelowna in BC. These cities’ dry weather, high temperatures, and abundant fuel sources make them particularly vulnerable to wildfires.

Ontario’s Situation

While most cities in Ontario remain relatively safe compared to the rest of Canada, some northern cities like Timmins and Kenora have been identified as having higher risks.

Rising Insurance Costs

The increasing frequency and severity of wildfires are impacting home insurance premiums across Canada. In April 2024, Manitoba experienced the highest year-over-year increase in home insurance rates at 14.2%, followed by Alberta at 11.4% and Saskatchewan at 11.0%. British Columbia saw a 10.7% increase, while Ontario had the lowest rise at 7.5%.

Preparing for the Worst

Aren Mirzaian, CEO of MyChoice, stresses the need for proactive measures. “While we haven’t seen insurers pulling out of high-risk areas in Canada like they have in the U.S., the situation is concerning. We need to ensure that Canadians have adequate insurance coverage for these challenging times.”

If you live in a high-risk area, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive home insurance policy that includes coverage for fire damage, additional living expenses, and emergency evacuation. Ensure your policy offers replacement cost coverage to help you rebuild if your home is destroyed by a wildfire.

Stay Informed and Protected

Staying informed about wildfire risks in your area and taking necessary precautions can help protect your home and family. By understanding the risks and choosing the right insurance coverage, you can safeguard your financial future in the face of this growing threat.

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