Want to safeguard your property from wildfires? The Terrace Fire Department is holding a free event tonight at 7 p.m. at the fire hall to sign residents up for a newly launched FireSmart program.
FireSmart is a provincial initiative to encourage people to take necessary, proactive steps to reduce the risk of wildfire conditions and prevent flames from spreading. Residents can have their property assessed through the program and be eligible to receive up to $500 for projects to better fire-proof their homes.
Though this past summer wasn’t as extreme, fire chief John Klie says it’s important for residents to do their part to protect themselves and the community from wildfire devastation.
“There’s millions if not billions of dollars being lost when people lose their houses [because of wildfires],” Klie says. “It’s a great thing we haven’t had too many fires this year, but unfortunately we pay more attention to disasters when they’re happening. We can learn from past experiences so we get prepared and deal with it in a better way.”
The event tonight will hear from speakers from the Terrace Fire Department on emergency preparedness, a representative from the Ministry of Forests and Lands (FLNRD) on recent wildfire trends, and the FireSmart contractor on the actual program and what residents to do to get an assessment of their property.
“FireSmart is trying to get people to have the information, take responsibility for their own property, do what they can to make their property safe so that if there is a wildfire that goes through your community, the work that people put into their property may not get burnt down,” Klie says.
Below are some tips for checking the fire risk of your own property:
- Remove leaves, pine needles and other debris from your roof and gutters
- Don’t pile firewood or construction material against the house
- Mow grass and weeds within 10 metres of the house
- Move combustible items including toys and patio furniture into the home, the garage or in permanent storage
- Keep lawns well-watered
- Avoid landscaping highly flammable plants or trees
- Make sure trees on the property are thinned, especially evergreen trees
- Prune and space out trees and undergrowth on large properties to slow fire spread
- Take advantage of the city’s wood chipping program to get rid of debris instead of burning
Program coordinators will at the event tonight to sign up residents with a focus on those living in more higher risk areas in Terrace, like around the base of Terrace Mountain. People can also call the Fire Department or email firstname.lastname@example.org to have their property assessed. More information on FireSmart, visit their website.