- Emergency Services
- Fire Department
- FireSmart Banff
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.
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.
FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual
Wildfires are a natural part of Canada’s wildland ecosystem. Without wildfire, the landscape loses its diversity. Wildfires recycle nutrients, help plants reproduce and create a mosaic of vegetation that provides habitat for a variety of wildlife.
By extending our lifestyles and communities further into forested areas, we become more exposed to the danger of wildfire. Living where wildfires can occur puts your home at risk, but it is possible to live safely with this natural event. The recommendations in this manual will reduce the risk of wildfire to your home and neighbourhood and help firefighters to defend your home.
FireSmart Homeowner’s Assessment
A Town of Banff Fire Department FireSmart Evaluator will complete a ’no cost – no obligation’ FireSmart assessment of your property, identifying potential hazards that could put your home at risk in the event of a wildfire. We encourage homeowners to take advantage of the expertise of the FireSmart evaluators that can look holistically at your home, property and surrounding area.
The recommendations of the FireSmart assessment will focus on achievable short and long-term changes that could be made to help reduce the risk of wildfire near your home and nearby neighbourhood and provide a better opportunity to defend your home from a wildfire - often, these are simple, inexpensive changes that can be implemented quite easily.
Request a free FireSmart Assessment by contacting the Town of Banff Fire Department at 403.762.1256.
2021 FireSmart Homeowners Assessment (PDF)
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.
FireSmart Guide to Landscaping
By making some strategic choices in your yard, you can create a FireSmart landscape. This 20 page manual includes an extensive list of fire resistant plants and tips about FireSmart gardening.