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Posted: October 31, 2019

FireSmart meeting Nov. 5 in Invermere

By Stephanie Stevens

Awareness, recruiting and safety.

That is the crux of the District of Invermere’s (DOI) FireSmart community meeting Next Tuesday, Nov. 5.

The free event will be held at the Columbia Valley Centre from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and is open to everyone.

“We want to increase public awareness about wildfire risk to our community and inform homeowners of the FireSmart principles they can implement to mitigate those risks,” said Jenna Milne, DOI Environmental Special Projects Coordinator.

The evening will include presentations from two of Western Canada’s renowned interface fire protection specialists, Alan Westhaver and Don Mortimer. Both were involved in the development of the FireSmart Program.

“Alan will share findings from his forensic study of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildland/urban interface fire (commissioned by the Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction),” added Milne. “For example why some homes survived while neighboring homes did not.”

There will be FireSmart manuals available and Milne said they are hoping to recruit some “keen community members” to drive FireSmart actions around their own community.

DOI Director of Development Services Rory Hromadnik said he is quite excited to have the event happening here, especially with the caliber of the speakers coming.

“They both have tons of experience, and will talk about pre-planning as well as FireSmart initiatives,” he said. “The goal is to create neighbourhood champions to help within their community.”

Hromadnik said it is about communities within communities taking part, so a smaller area of perhaps just a few blocks, would have a leader that can help identify areas that need some work and organize a way to tackle it.

“CastleRock is a FireSmart community here, and there are a number of them in the valley,” he said. “We are really hoping for more people to come forward for their neighbourhoods.”

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