It’s almost fire season in the Kootenays so it’s a good time to look at the fire dangers of your home and neighbourhood, to be prepared in the event of a fire.
Many homes in Cranbrook are near what is called the wildlife urban interface, a zone where the natural world comes into contact with the city environment.
The way to mitigate the risk, according to the city, is to make your residence less susceptible to fire and make Cranbrook into a fire-adapted community.
“Many people move to the wildland urban interface, bringing with them the same fire protection expectations they had when living in urban or other suburban communities,” said Wayne Price, director of Cranbrook Fire & Emergency Services.
“The responsibility of the public is to understand and prepare for the risk of wildland fire. Homes that do not reflect the risk pose not only a threat to the residents themselves, but neighbouring homes and emergency services as well.”
Price said that with proper preparation through the community, human population and infrastructure can withstand the devastating effects of a wildland fire, reducing loss of life and property.
This goal depends on strong and collaborative partnerships between agencies and the public at the provincial and local levels, with each accepting responsibility for their part.
According to the Southeast Fire Centre, every year British Columbia averages more than 2,000 wildfires.
Of those, 92 per cent of these fires are extinguished at a size of less than four hectares and are regarded as a successful initial attack.
Half of the wildfires in B.C. are lightning caused, the other human caused.
Some ways to help Cranbrook become a fire-adapted community and limit dangers to your home and neighbourhood are:
• build relationships with local public safety agencies and residents before a fire starts;
• know what to expect from local emergency responders in the first 24 hours of a fire;
• understand the Home Ignition Zone and Defensible Space;
• create and maintain a fuel-free area;
• limit vegetation along fences and fences made of flammable materials attached to homes;
• make proper landscaping and plant selection;
• limit placement of radiant heat sources near the home (i.e., wood piles, fuel tanks, sheds);
• thin trees and ladder fuels around the home;
• limit debris under decking and patios;
• understand the ember danger;
• have a personal and family preparedness plan.