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Posted: April 27, 2019

Prepare for wildfire season: FireSmart BC urges

The BC FireSmart Committee is calling on all British Columbia residents and communities to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season by mitigating wildfire risks where they live.

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It’s also urging neighbours to join forces and help their entire community become a FireSmart Recognized Community, through FireSmart Canada.

“Communities whose residents work together to reduce their vulnerability have a greater chance of limiting fire-related damage,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “We encourage all residents in rural communities to take simple and effective measures to FireSmart their homes and properties.”

FireSmart BC’s new website contains lots of practical information about the program and how individuals and communities can get started, including: local FireSmart events; courses; guides; FireSmart Home Assessment; and Information on how to become a FireSmart Recognized Community.

“FireSmart BC’s website is a central resource dedicated solely to wildfire prevention for property owners and communities in B.C.,” said Kelsey Winter, FireSmart Program Lead for the BC Wildfire Service. “It provides all the information resources necessary to FireSmart a home or become a FireSmart Recognized Community.”

There are now 65 FireSmart Recognized Communities in B.C., and over 100 communities are currently involved in a FireSmart program. Anarchist Mountain, for example, covers 4,800 hectares of forested land about 40 kilometres east of Osoyoos.

Anarchist Mountain has been a FireSmart Recognized Community since 2014, focused on protecting the community from wildfires, evacuation preparedness and notification planning. Every year, dedicated FireSmart volunteers educate residents about FireSmart principles and implement measures to reduce the number of potential ignition sources. Other activities include home assessments, vegetation management, and the controlled burning of residential debris under the guidance of the Anarchist Mountain Fire Department.

“Protecting Anarchist Mountain from wildfire is a community effort,” said Denis Thompson, chair of the community FireSmart Board for Anarchist Mountain. “We are available as a resource to any community looking to become a FireSmart Recognized Community.”

“We are proud that First Nations communities were among the first in B.C. to become FireSmart Recognized Communities,” said Jeff Eustache, RFT, Manager, Forest Fuel Management Department, First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of British Columbia. “As members of The BC FireSmart Committee, we work to keep wildfire prevention ‘top of mind’ for First Nations.”

“Interagency co-operation is critical in wildfire prevention,” said Councillor Arjun Singh, President of the Union of B.C. Municipalities. “As a member of the BC FireSmart Committee and funding administrator for the Community Resiliency Investment program, we appreciate this ongoing partnership to build awareness and reduce the risk of wildfire.”

The BC FireSmart Committee was initiated by the BC Wildfire Service in May 2017 to provide greater direction for wildfire prevention activities and better integration of the seven FireSmart disciplines throughout the province — based on the FireSmart Canada model.

Members of the committee include the BC Wildfire Service, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Fire Chiefs’ Association of B.C., Emergency Management BC, the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C.

BC FireSmart Committee

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