Government of Canada shares seasonal outlook, wildfire projections and emergency preparedness measures

News release

April 10, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario

Last year was an historic wildfire season in Canada. Our climate is changing and with every passing year, we are experiencing an increase in extreme weather events. Climate change is causing extreme temperatures at a greater frequency than in the past, increasing the severity of heat waves and contributing to dry conditions, wildfires, and heavy precipitation risks. The Government of Canada released its forecast and early modeling of weather trends for 2024. These metrics indicate that we may be facing another catastrophic fire season.

In the event of an emergency, it is important for Canadians to know that there is a robust emergency response regime in place that encompasses all levels of government. In Canada, emergencies are managed first at the local level: hospitals, fire departments, police, and municipalities. If they need assistance at the local level, they request it from their province or territory. If an emergency escalates beyond the capabilities of a province or territory, they can seek assistance from the federal government by submitting a request for federal assistance (RFA).

Since last year’s historic wildfire season, the Government of Canada has worked closely with First Nations, provinces, territories, and other emergency management partners to complete a robust lessons-learned review. As a result, we have engaged earlier in convening wildfire emergency preparedness planning and risk assessments. First Nations, federal, provincial, and territorial partners are fully engaged and ensuring strong links and communication. The government is developing the potential for civilian response capacity across jurisdictions to better leverage these capacities during and following large-scale emergency events in Canada.

An Indigenous Emergency Management (EM) Working Group convened in February 2024. The group will serve as a standing table for dialogue on Indigenous EM issues and needs.

First Nations, federal, provincial, and territorial partners are fully engaged and ensuring strong links, communication, and preparedness. We’ve increased readiness for this wildfire season by supporting fire agencies across Canada in procuring specialized firefighting equipment through NRCAN’s $256 million Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate: Equipment Fund, and training 630 firefighters, and 125 fire Guardians under NRCAN’s Fighting and Managing Wildfires in a Changing Climate: Training Fund. We’ve engaged with the Humanitarian Workforce partners on their capabilities to support provinces and territories this season.

We are also working closely with First Nations partners to incorporate their knowledge into our preparedness strategies and are supporting First Nations-led initiatives to build unique wildfire management capacities in communities.

We are also implementing advance payments to communities across the country. Instead of reimbursing costs, this new approach will allow First Nations to better prepare their communities and protect their infrastructure, and even plan evacuations.

We are supporting wildfire preparedness initiatives, including the acquisition of wildland firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment, wildfire training, and vegetation management projects in priority zones

This winter, Canadians experienced warmer-than-normal temperatures and widespread drought conditions across the country, adding to existing drought and low-water conditions. The latest seasonal weather outlook indicates that higher-than-normal temperatures are expected for the spring and summer, boosted by El Nino weather conditions. This sets the stage for the possibility of another active wildfire season and other incidents of extreme weather.  The warmer than normal winter temperatures and drier than usual conditions may result in some regions – in particular western Canada, eastern Ontario, and southern Quebec - experiencing early, above normal, fire activity this April and May.

Our focus this spring remains on the dangerously dry conditions and the threat of renewed wildfire activity Canadians could face; however, drought conditions can also raise the possibility of extreme run-off and flooding in event of snow and ice melt or local heavy rainfall.

Climate change is real, and it is here; we have a plan, are coordinating across all levels of government and making important investments; we’ll get through this together. 


“As the effects of climate change increase the frequency of disasters, we will strive to apply the lessons we learned from last year’s historic wildfire season. We are committed to supporting Canadians and keeping them safe. We will work closely with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, and our international allies to fight wildfires while protecting lives, homes and livelihoods. We will continue to monitor for the potential of all severe weather conditions and update Canadians as new information becomes available.”

- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada  

“The 2023 Wildfire Season showed us what the world will be like if we fail to tackle climate change and prepare for increasingly intense burn seasons. The immediate priority of any government is to protect lives and livelihoods – and increasingly that starts with recognizing the scientific reality of climate change and investing in measures to mitigate and adapt our changing climate. That is why the federal government has been working hard to train more firefighters, provide more lifesaving equipment, and partner with provinces and territories in anticipation for the 2024 wildfire season and fire seasons to come.”

- The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources

“Extreme weather events are becoming far too familiar to Canadians as the impacts of climate change hit our communities. These events are costing Canadians and their governments billions of dollars. We must do more to prepare for the impacts of climate change, and we must speed up our collective efforts to stop adding carbon pollution to this global crisis. After the staggering wildfire season of 2023, we are once again facing the potential for another active wildfire season this year. It is a stark reminder that we need to work together to reduce the risks from our changing climate to keep Canadian communities safe.”

– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada 

“First Nations are living firsthand the impacts of climate change. 80% of communities are in areas at risk of wildfire. Communities know best what they need to manage wildfires, so we are working with them to build their capacity in a self-determinate way and are implementing traditional knowledge into our strategies. Our message today is clear: we will be at First Nations’ side and support their efforts both before, during, and after the wildfire season.”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario 

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has created a Wildfires 2024 web page that includes information about programs, policies, and initiatives to keep Canadians informed about the wildfire situation and to support provincial and territorial efforts to combat wildfires. 

  • The Government Operations Centre (GOC), on behalf of the Government of Canada, is the lead for federal response coordination for emergency events affecting the national interest and works in close collaboration with federal organizations, non-governmental organizations and provincial emergency management partners.

  • The Government Operations Centre role is to:

    • Provide national-level situational awareness to partners and to senior decision makers;
    • Provide 24/7 monitoring for government and in support of partners’ mandates;
    • Ensure whole-of-government response capability;
    • Ensure efficient use of federal strategic assets, and when offered, the resources of provincial/territorial government; and
    • Be a key asset for senior government officials, providing them with a mechanism for implementation of their direction.
  • To access the latest weather, forecast and alert information Canadians can download the WeatherCAN app and get notifications wherever they are in Canada.

  • To help people in Canada adapt to climate change and extreme weather, the Government of Canada has developed the National Adaptation Strategy with provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous partners, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, adaptation experts, and youth. 

  • The long-range outlook for wildland fire activity is difficult to predict early in the season and specific fire activity cannot be predicted. Instead, seasonal forecasts help identify areas that are at increased risk. The certainty of these projections will increase as we move towards the summer months. These forecasts anticipate risk and are not predictors of actual fire activity.  

  • The National Adaptation Strategy is a whole-of-society blueprint to reduce the risk of climate-related disasters, improve health outcomes, protect nature and biodiversity, build and maintain resilient infrastructure, and support a strong economy and workers.

  • Government of Canada analysis shows that climate-related impacts are costing average Canadian households $720 per year today and will rise to around $2,000 per year by 2050. In 2023, Canada’s severe weather caused over $3.1 billion in insured damages.

Associated links


Joanna Kanga 
Press Secretary and Outreach Advisor
Office of the President of the King’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness 

Media Relations 
Public Safety Canada 

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Twitter page

Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Facebook page

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