We are in the midst of another early and warm spring and most long term forecasts point to the warm, dry weather continuing.
With potential for another damaging, and expensive, fire season Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson is urging all British Columbians to do their part this year to help prevent wildfires and reduce fire risks, including using FireSmart principles to help protect homes and communities.
The prescribed burn this past Sunday in the Kimberley Nature Park is one example of FireSmart work being done by the City. The Kimberley Fire Department has also been trying to form neighbourhood committees of resident who commit to cleaning up their own blocks. There hasn’t been tremendous response to that thus far, but Assistant Chief Rick Prasad says they are taking names of interested residents and are planning another open house.
In the meantime, even if you don’t join a neighbourhood group, you can safeguard your property from wildfire threats by using FireSmart principles.
By reducing the amount of flammable material around their homes and providing more open space where firefighters can work, private property owners can help slow the spread of an approaching wildfire.
The FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual is available online at http://bit.ly/1RQXFzd and contains all kinds of useful tips on how to make your property.
• planting deciduous (leafy) trees rather than the much more flammable conifers
• keeping control of surface fuels such as twigs, dried leaves, dried grass and wood piles.
• spacing trees at least three metres apart to reduce the intensity of a fire
• pruning all tree branches within two metres of the ground
• regular removal of debris from your gutters
• Stucco, metal siding, brick/concrete and fibre cement siding offer superior fire resistance. Logs and heavy timbers are still reasonably effective. Untreated wood and vinyl siding offer very little protection against wildfire.
The B.C. government thanks the public for its ongoing assistance in preventing and reporting wildfires. Anyone who spots a wildfire, unattended campfire or burning violation should immediately call *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.