The BC Wildfire Service and the Windermere Fire Department are holding a FireSmart Community Champion Workshop at the Windermere fire hall on Saturday, May 28.
The event, which will run from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., is aimed at neighbourhood leaders who would like to become “Community Champions” by implementing the FireSmart Canada Community Recognition Program in their neighbourhoods.
The primary objective of the workshop is to help people start the process to attain FireSmart Community recognition status, which is awarded by FireSmart Canada for work that improves a community’s resistance to wildfire.
This half-day workshop will provide participants with the information and tools required to work with other interested citizens and local fire agencies to make their homes and communities less vulnerable to wildfire. It includes step-by-step procedures for implementing and supporting the program in their neighbourhoods.
To register for the May 28 workshop, people should contact either BC Wildfire Service forest protection technician Steve Levitt (250 342-4214 in Invermere) or Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue Services fire chief Jim Miller at 250 342-6214.
FireSmart Canada is part of the Partners in Protection Association and works closely with communities throughout the country to mitigate wildfire risks in interface areas where urban development borders on forest or grassland areas.
Fuel management decreases the risk of wildfire damage by reducing the amount of woody debris, tree needles, underbrush and other flammable material that could fuel a grassland fire or forest fire. This vital work can significantly slow a wildfire’s rate of spread and also make a safer environment for first responders to extinguish a blaze.
Simple, low-cost strategies that property owners can use to drastically improve the chances of their home or property withstanding a wildfire include:
- Removing dead trees and increasing the spacing between live trees
- Trimming low-hanging tree branches
- Removing vegetation and woody debris (or burning if off when permitted)
- Ensuring that there is a 10-metre buffer zone around the home that is clear of flammable materials such as woodpiles, low branches and propane tanks (this area should be watered and mown regularly)
Embers from a wildfire can be carried by the wind for up to two kilometres and could start new fires. Ensuring that all homeowners in a community are using FireSmart principles helps prevent the spread of wildfires into residential areas.
Using these preventative FireSmart principles before and during the fire season is critical for reducing these threats. Involving as many residents as possible helps build up a community’s resistance to damage from wildfires.
You can follow the latest wildfire news on:
- Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
- Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.
- FireSmart Canada: https://www.firesmartcanada.ca
- BC Wildfire Service information about the FireSmart Program: http://bcwildfire.ca/Prevention/firesmart.htm