Vancouver, BC (April 23, 2024):

The BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI) worked with Abacus Data to survey British Columbians on community perspectives regarding wildfire resiliency. This data will help enable informed decision-making and build agreement on new approaches to forest conservation and management. The survey covered 1,500 residents of BC, aged 18 and older from March 15 to March 19, 2024, and the results were shared at the 2024 COFI Convention in a presentation titled “From Crisis to Consensus: How Wildfires are Changing the Public Conversation on Forestry in BC*.”

Three takeaways include 1) British Columbians believe wildfires are a serious problem that will get worse, 2) many believe forest management can help reduce the risk of wildfires, and 3) there is broad, cross-partisan support for government and industry action to manage forests to mitigate the risk and intensity of wildfires.

The cost of living, housing affordability and healthcare ranked as the top three concerns amongst those surveyed. People are, however, paying attention to wildfire-related issues, with 75% following news about wildfires closely, 35% reporting that wildfires has already had a large impact on their lives, and 74% having experienced smoke from wildfires.

Of those surveyed, 90% believe that it is possible to reduce the risk of extreme fires. Managing forests to reduce the amount of fuel they contain is seen as one way to do that.

“It is important for the forest industry to work with all levels of government, wildfire experts and First Nations on the steps that can be taken to protect communities and improve forest health and resilience” stated Linda Coady, President & CEO of COFI. “To implement effective solutions, key decision makers, local stakeholders, and other groups must come together around new strategies. The results of the survey indicate that there is widely based public support for forestry to be a part of the solutions we need to face the challenges of wildfires.”

Looking to forestry more broadly, 73% of British Columbians believe that forestry has a positive impact overall; 89% see that a strong forestry sector is vital to BC’s economy; and 78% believe that BC is among the world’s leaders in using sustainable and responsible forest practices.

Forest management approaches designed to mitigate risks and restore landscape resilience to wildfire include forest-fuel reduction strategies, creating open spaces for fire breaks, increasing the diversity of tree species and ages, decreasing forest density, and the use of cultural and prescribed burning. COFI and its members are committed to working with partners on these and other measures in 2024 and beyond.

The presentation is available for download HERE.

Media contact:

Travis Joern
Director of Communications
BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI)


BC Forest Practices Board: Forest and Fire Management in BC – Toward Landscape Resilience (June 2023)
US Forest Service: “Wildfire Crisis Strategy – An Overview of the Forest Service’s Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests” (2022)