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Posted: January 4, 2016

Property owners must be aware of risk of wildfire

It may not exactly be the time of year when we think about wildfires, as it is -14C and the city is covered in snow, but Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services says it always a good time for city and area residents to think about wildfire safety, preparedness and interface.

Cranbrook is ringed by Crown land forest and large  rural properties, such as in Gold Creek.
Cranbrook is ringed by Crown land forest and large rural properties, such as in Gold Creek.

“Many of us remember the firestorm of 2003 in British Columbia and the many homes and properties threatened or destroyed that year. That was 13 years ago and the reality is that Cranbrook and area is well overdue for a serious and significant fire season,” a Jan. 4 City of Cranbrook press release points out.

“The responsibility of the public is to clearly understand and prepare for the risk of wildfire. Owners of homes and properties who are not conscious of the risk, not only pose a threat to their properties, but also threaten neighbours and emergency services personnel. The reality is that if you don’t take basic steps to minimize the fire risk around your home or property, emergency services will focus their response on properties they can save – the rest will have to fend for themselves,” the city release outlines.

“Wildfires today are more frequent and burn faster and with tremendous intensity. The City of Cranbrook is surrounded by forested land which can present a significant risk of wild fire to properties located within or immediately adjacent to these areas,” said Chief Wayne Price, Director of Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services. “It is critical that defensible space is created between structures or property that is to be protected and forested land. Eliminating the hazards or threat takes planning and time; it is too late to take action when a threat is imminent.”

There are plenty of public education tools available to provide advice on wildfire preparedness for individuals and homeowners, which can teach how to adapt to living with the threat of wildfire and how to work with your community and your neighbours to prevent loss of life and property in the event of a wildfire.

Simple but important things you can do include:

Understanding of the Home Ignition Zone and Defensible Space;

How to create and maintain a fuel-free area;

Vegetation along fences and fences made of flammable materials attached to homes;

Proper landscaping and plant selection;

Placement of radiant heat sources near the home (i.e., wood piles, fuel tanks, sheds);

Thinning trees and ladder fuels around the home;

Debris under decking and patios;

Having a situational awareness when fire warnings are called;

Having a personal and family preparedness plan.

If you have questions about techniques, materials, and procedures, contact Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services, provincial forestry personnel or local landscaping groups.

You can also visit this site for plenty of great information to help you prepare.


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