In recent years, wildfires have impacted many communities around the province and, with climate change, are burning hotter and longer.
When the towns of Lytton and Monte Lake were significantly impacted in 2021 it was a stark reminder we need to do all we can to protect ourselves and our properties.
That is the goal of the recently formed Village of Canal Flats FireSmart Committee, which met for the first time March 14.
The committee is made up of Canal Flats Fire Rescue (CFFR) Fire Chief Zacc Farrell, Canal Flats’ councilor Patricia Reed, Laura Favreau, Canal Flat’s Chief Administrative Officer Richard Wayken, FireSmart Coordinator Tamara Baker and Josh Detta.
The committee will encourage the implementation of FireSmart principles around the community so when Canal Flats is next threatened by wildfire everything possible to make homes more fire-resistant and defensible has been done.
There are many simple and straightforward steps residents can take to become FireSmart, for example starting with keeping grass cut shorter than 10cm and as well watered as possible to make it less flammable, clearing gutters, planting fire-resistant plants and moving firewood a safe distance away from your house.
Expect to see the committee at community events as well as sharing important information for residents to consider.
They will also guide the village in hazard assessment and recommend wildfire risk reduction work.
Farrell said bringing FireSmart to the community is an important part of emergency preparedness.
“Our members train to be able to protect the community in the event of a wildfire,” he said. “For us and other first responders to be as successful as possible we need residents to do their part to create a defensible area around their home and property as the first line of defense against interface wildfires.”
“Becoming FireSmart is a top priority in Canal Flats,” Reed said. “Our entire community is currently vulnerable to wildfire given the location and our surroundings. The goal of the committee will be to support FireSmart efforts where we can. It takes a Village though and we need our fellow community members to take responsibility for areas around their homes.
“As wildfires seem to become more and more common in B.C. now is the time for us to prepare as much as we can.”
More information on what homeowners and neighborhoods can do to be better prepared can be found here.