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Health and safety resources for wildfire season

Published on: July 26, 2017

The following resources are provided to help employers understand the potential hazards and outline some measures you can take to minimize worker exposure during the wildfire season.

Wildfire smoke

For workers who work outside, recommendations for reducing exposure to wildfire smoke include:

  • Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. Stay indoors with the windows closed.
  • Reduce outdoor physical activity or exertion.
  • Use a properly fit-tested, certified N95 half-face respirator to reduce exposure to smoke.

For indoor workplaces, steps employers can take to reduce the amount of wildfire smoke entering their building include:

  • Inspect the HVAC system to make sure it is working properly.
  • Check the HVAC system’s air filters to ensure they are clean and are not damaged, dislodged, or leaking around the edges.
  • Temporarily reduce the intake of outdoor air. This should only be done in consultation with a qualified HVAC technician or ventilation engineer.
  • Reduce indoor particle levels in small areas by using individual portable air cleaners equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters or electrostatic precipitators.

To learn more, please read our FAQ on wildfire smoke.

Heat stress

Heat stress is another potential hazard associated with wildfire season. To better understand this hazard and how to protect workers, please see our Heat stress page.

Wildfire fighters

The above resources are intended for general workplace environments where people may be exposed to wildfire smoke or heat. Wildfire fighters face specific hazards and exposures and should reference Part 31 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation for detailed information.

Emergency response planning – forestry operations

If you needed to evacuate your crew, would you be ready? Our Wildfire Evacuation Planning resource lists items that employers who operate in remote locations should consider as part of an Emergency Evacuation Plan.

Our Wildfire Evacuation Planning resource also includes links to the following:

For more information on wildfire evacuation planning, see our WorkSafe Magazine article, “When wildfires strike, will you be ready?”