Banff’s Wildfire Risk
Banff’s unique geographic characteristics—the natural environment, which is also the foundation of the resort community’s success—and development in interface areas places the community at high risk of wildfire. During the brief summer months when our forests can dry out, the wildfire risk can be extreme.
With climate change, our wildfire season is getting longer, starting earlier, and covering more areas in Canada.
All residents have a responsibility to understand fire risks and to learn about how our community can work together to minimize risks and be prepared for wildfire.
Wildfire Hazards Cleanup Weekend 2023
Join Banff’s Wildfire Hazards Cleanup Weekend on Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29.
Do your part to get FireSmart. This is a great time to gather branches and other vegetation that can increase the wildfire hazard in your yard.
Yard waste drop-off locations for free disposal:
Saturday, Oct. 28:
Middle Springs Drive by the entrance to Sulphur Court
Sunday, Oct. 29:
Beaver Street parking lot
Branches, stems and yard debris can be disposed of free of charge at these collection locations during Wildfire Hazards Cleanup Weekend.
To participate, please ensure:
- VEGETATION ONLY – no building materials or yard/garage/basement garbage
- No stems thicker than 10 cm (4 inches)
- No pieces longer than 2 metres (6 feet)
- Yard waste (leaves and grass clippings) must be bagged.
Please do not leave yard debris on your street or sidewalk, or beside neighbourhood bins.
Homeowners in the Town of Banff can request a free FireSmart assessment from the fire department. A firefighter will visit your home for approx. 30 minutes to check for ways you can better FireSmart your home. A new incentive program is available for residential property owners to reduce wildfire hazards by removing conifer trees and replacing them with deciduous trees. Request a free FireSmart Assessment from the Banff Fire Department to see if you qualify.
- Request a FireSmart Assessment
- Tree Cutting Permit
- Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, we’re restricted to when trees can be cut down to mid-April to late August. Always call in advance and submit a Tree Cutting Permit to ensure no birds will be harmed.
- General Nesting Periods Map - B4 Zone
- Guidelines to reduce risk to migratory birds
- Wildfire Fact Sheet (PDF)
Roof Sprinkler Incentive Program
Banff homeowners can purchase roof sprinkler kits at a discount of $65.50 (includes GST) from the regular retail price of $230. The Town of Banff has 100 kits available in 2023.
These sprinklers can be used in the event of an advancing wildfire. They work by dousing water on embers that land on roofs.
To qualify for the Roof Top Sprinkler Incentive, residents must complete a free FireSmart Home Assessment from the Fire Department. A trained FireSmart evaluator will visit your home for approximately 30 minutes and provide recommendations on how to better FireSmart your home and property, as well as advise on the best placement of the sprinkler. There is no obligation to incorporate other recommendations.
The sprinklers are easily installed only when there is a risk in the community. Sprinklers are installed on gutters or fascia or fence, with a hose attached to the homes normal outdoor water tap. The sprinklers have a 30-foot spray radius.
Each sprinkler kit contains:
- 2 Patented high quality gutter mount units
- 2 agricultural-grade, wind-fighting sprinkler heads
- 2 facia/fence brackets (for use without gutters)
- 2 forestry-grade 25 foot hoses
Due to the limited number of units available, the Town will not allow condo boards/associations to apply for sprinklers for all their units; each homeowner will need to apply and register for a FireSmart home inspection.
The most common misconception of FireSmart is that it prescribes clearcutting of all conifer trees and flammable landscape. The intent of FireSmart is to use discretion and find a balance of aesthetics while increasing the wildfire resistance of your home and property. Protecting your home from wildfire starts with simple actions. Whether you are doing regular yard maintenance or making large scale changes during renovations or landscaping, you can make choices that will help protect your home from wildfire. We live in an area that is prone to danger from wildfire, in the Bow Valley that is a fact of life. You can take action to reduce your risk from wildfire, and become FireSmart.
FireSmart is a national initiative to help property owners and communities understand the ways in which wildfire might threaten structures and property located in, and close to, forested and wildland areas, and the steps individuals and communities can take to reduce the susceptibility of buildings and property to fire.
The Town of Banff FireSmart Program provides resources, information and support for residents who wish to make their property and their community more resilient to damage from wildfire.
FireSmart Your Home
During wildfires, airborne embers fly with the wind and can land in your yard, on your roof, or on the trees against your house. Help reduce the potential spread of wildfire by making your home FireSmart.
Becoming a FireSmart Community
The FireSmart Neighbourhoods Program is designed to encourage self-organized groups of residents to take the lead in implementing solutions for wildfire safety on their own properties.
Check out the FireSmart Alberta website - to learn more about becoming a Recognized FireSmart Neighbourhood.
Contact Banff’s Local FireSmart Representative - Sean.Lloyd@banff.ca and get started on becoming a Recognized FireSmart Neighbourhood this year.
- Download the Last–Minute Checklist for Protecting Your Home and Property from Wildfire
- Download the FireSmart Begins at Home Guide