Kimberley residents will now have the opportunity to take part in the FireSmart program which will help reduce the hazard of wildfire within the community.
Kimberley Fire Chief Rick Prasad presented the FireSmart program information to Kimberley City Council on Monday, stating that private home owners who wish to reduce wildfire hazards on their property require education and support from the local detachment.
“We tried this program a couple of years ago without a lot of buy in from the community,” said Prasad. “After last summer however, we think it might have sparked some interest.”
He adds that giving property owners this opportunity will help to create resilience for the community by helping residents to get rid of fuels through guidance and education.
“The Kimberley Fire Department will offer private home owners [who are] willing to participate a Fire Smart assessment,” Prasad explained in a report to Council. “This assessment provides a fire hazard score and will serve as a guide for homeowners to focus their efforts on risk hazard assessment. Once work has been completed a follow-up FireSmart assessment will provide a measure of success.”
Prasad says that himself and four other local firefighters are trained in the FireSmart assessment process. The FireSmart program will also see residents taking on volunteer roles to help with education.
“The community buy-in comes at no cost. We will be hosting an open house and hopefully create a committee of residents,” Prasad said. “The fire department can also assist in various ways including consultation, referrals, and provision of collection points for the removal of brush and organic waste.”
The fire department will also be looking into assessing City lands as part of the program, says Prasad.
Councillor Kent Goodwin says that it’s important for residents to realize that the program is not mandatory, but rather encouraged for their own safety and piece of mind.
According to the FireSmart program, there are several ways to prepare your home for an assessment that include, but aren’t limited to, removing leaves, needles and other debris from roof and gutters, mowing grass and weeds, clearing all dead plants, leaves and weeds, clearing debris from fence lines and more.
For more information on the program visit firesmartcanada.ca, or contact the Kimberley Fire Department at 250-427-4114.