WILDFIRES: The FireSmart program – Andrew Stimpson and Lesley Brown

Andrew Stimpson, Local FireSmart Officer, Bow Horn Bay VFD

Lesley Brown, Local FireSmart Officer, Spider Lake Community

What a topic to start the New Year, with the drastic wildfires in Australia and climate change threatening future incidents in BC like another Fort McMurray. Investigations throughout North America have resulted in new scientific and practical knowledge of how wildfires spread and burn through communities and what we can do to reduce damage to property.

FireSmart Canada leads the development of resources and programs designed to empower the public and increase community resilience to wildfire across Canada.  Leveraging partnerships with a comprehensive network of leading wildland fire science researchers allows FireSmart Canada to develop programs and resources that are based on peer reviewed and defendable science.

Lesley Brown, a local FireSmart Officer, reviewed a video with us that showed how studies of previous wildfires demonstrated that it was not the flames that caused the most damage. Rather it was the thousands of burning embers that get blown onto houses and the grounds adjacent to the houses. These embers ignite combustible materials such as wooden roofs, porches, and landscaping materials and turn homes into infernos.

Andrew Simpson, another Local FireSmart Officer, shared knowledge from the program of what individual homeowners can do to reduce risk. By clearing a zone around your house (Home Ignition Zone) of combustibles, you can effectively reduce the risk of embers getting a foothold. The program relies on Community FireSmart Champions who are trained to do inspections of homes and give recommendations for improvements. If communities adopt the program and carryout the changes, the FireSmart program has the potential to “Break the Wildfire Disaster Cycle” in your community.

To learn more go to the FireSmart website: www.firesmartcanada.ca

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