Wildfire preparedness, mitigation a community effort

By Tyler Marr
June 10, 2018 - 10:07am Updated: June 10, 2018 - 11:36am

The preparedness of a community can play a vital supporting role for management teams to assist in limiting the spread and damage of wildfires.

Working to parlay this information and educate the public on risk reduction and mitigation strategies, a showcase was hosted Saturday at the Prince Albert Airport for National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. It gave local fire departments and provincial fire management teams an opportunity to discuss practices to keep properties safe from wildfires through the FireSmart program. 

"This is what property owners can take back, for their acreage or cabin or even around their house in the city, what can they do to reduce the risk of loss to their property in the event a wildfire is bearing down,” Prince Albert fire chief Jason Everitt said.

FireSmart aims to assist property owners in understanding the threat posed to places where structures and heavily forested areas meet. These are known as Wildland Urban Interface areas and include residence and business located north of the river and in the surrounding RM’s of Prince Albert, Shellbrook and Buckland.

By analyzing a wide array of elements on one's property, the FireSmart program provides suggestions residents can take into consideration to incorporate into their homes to reduce their risk of loss.

“When a wildfire is bearing down on a property, there is very little a single department can do,” he said. “The onus is on the property owner to try to take those measures that they can to at least reduce the risk of loss to their property and we will do what we can from a response side.”

There are a number of simple steps people can take to reduce damage. Everitt suggested moving highly flammable items like firewood from beside one's home. He also made note of trimming trees a few feet off the ground so if a grass fire comes through, it can narrow that chance of a shrub or tree igniting. Replacing shingles and siding with non-combustible materials are also keen renovation choices. He said there are new insurance premium breaks available from providers for those who are proactive in taking preventative measures.

“It doesn’t have to be an initiative that happens in a month or two months but over time,” he said. “That is all we are trying to encourage people to do.”

 

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On Twitter: @JournoMarr

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