Canadian Underwriter

Losses adjusters don’t want to see from Alberta wildfires

May 24, 2023   by Alyssa DiSabatino

Damaged property from recent wildfires is shown in Drayton Valley, Alta.

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With wildfires raging on across Alberta and the west, adjusters are hoping the fires stay remote and spare populous areas from catastrophic losses.

“We are seeing some claims and anticipate seeing many more as dangerous conditions persist,” Patricia (P.J.) Davis, national catastrophe manager at Crawford Canada told Canadian Underwriter.  

“Most of the losses reported to date are of the ALE/EVAC [additional living expenses/evacuation] variety, as you would expect,” Davis said. “We are hopeful the losses will remain isolated and the more populated areas will be spared from catastrophic losses. As usual, however, we are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.”   

Nevertheless, 10,655 Albertans remain evacuated from their homes. 

There are 67 active wildfires as of Wednesday morning, down from more than 100 earlier this month. 

Light showers and cooler temperatures that started Monday and continued into Tuesday have lowered the fire risk across the province and helped firefighters gain some ground. The west and central areas of the province are expected to continue seeing some precipitation. 

“Conditions in Alberta remain extremely volatile despite some badly needed rain over the weekend,” Davis said. “The forecast calls for more rain, which will certainly help conditions somewhat.”   

Alberta currently has more than 2,700 personnel working on wildfires. This includes support from partner agencies across Canada and the United States as well as the Canadian Armed Forces, according to a provincial update.  

This year has seen an “unusually early start” to Western Canada’s wildfire season, Davis said. 

2023 has been the most active spring for fires on record with 945,000 hectares burned, according to the Canadian Press. 

Christie Tucker of Alberta Wildfire says the province has never seen this much wildfire activity in recorded history. 

Elsewhere in the country, wildfires continue to burn. British Columbia reports 80 active wildfires and Saskatchewan reports 24 as of Wednesday. Northwest Territories is seeing high to extreme fire risk — more than half of the fires have been caused by humans, officials say.  


Damaged property from recent wildfires is shown in Drayton Valley, Alta. on Wednesday May 17, 2023. Air quality statements continue to blanket much of British Columbia and the Prairie provinces as scores of wildfires rage across the region. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson