Wildfire Prevention for Your Home & Community
As homeowners we can take simple steps to reduce the impact of wildfire on our property and in our communities.
Wildfires are unpredictable and interface fires present unique challenges and obstacles but by being practical and proactive it’s possible to reduce the risk of wildfire before it threatens your home and community.
The FireSmart Homeowner's Manual (PDF) is particularly useful for identifying the changes you can make to help protect your home from wildfire.
There are also precautions you can take to minimize the likelihood of igniting a fire on your property for example, always ensuring that lawn equipment has a properly working spark arrestor fitted to prevent sparks from exiting through the exhaust pipe and that cigarettes are fully extinguished after smoking.
Backyard burning and grass fires
Fires used for burning grass and yard waste can occasionally escape and result in wildfires. Grass and backyard fires that get out of control can cause serious damage, quickly engulfing fences, power poles and buildings as well as spreading to neighbouring properties and forested areas. If planning a fire it is important to remember;
- Depending on the time of year you may be required to have a permit
- A firebreak should be placed around the perimeter of the burn area
- Fire can escape especially easily if the wind picks up
- To have adequate hand tools, water and people on the site to keep the fire in check
- Do not light or allow a fire to continue to burn when the wind is strong enough to carry sparks onto other potentially combustible material
- Comply with open burning bans or restrictions and municipal bylaws that apply to your area.
FireSmart is a national initiative to help property owners and communities understand the ways in which wildfire might threaten structures and property located in, and close to, forested and wildland areas, and the steps individuals and communities can take to reduce the susceptibility of buildings and property to fire.
- Clearing all plants and other vegetation from within 10m of a structure
- Ensuring that there are no trees or other vegetation overhanging the roof
- When planting new trees consider planting deciduous species such as birch and aspen
In the Community
A variety of FireSmart resources are available, and a catalog of these resources can be found here.
Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative (SWPI)
The BC Government introduced the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative (SWPI) in 2004. Since then approximately $78 million has been provided to help local governments and First Nations to significantly reduce wildfire risks around their communities.
To date SWPI funds have supported fuel management treatments to reduce the amount of dead wood and other flammable vegetation around B.C. communities and helped to fund the development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP).