Wildfires are usually not the top priority for legislators in developing urban areas and neighbourhoods. But when preventative measures are built into the legislation and land planning of communities, the likelihood of having to rebuild homes after a fire is greatly reduced.
Planners and legislators can’t be expected to become experts in wildfire, but FireSmart can help them make more informed decisions. Technical information and resources available through FireSmart, like Headwaters Economics’ Wildfire-Resistant Home Guide, can assist these community leaders and authorities in developing and implementing legislation that addresses concerns in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).
Bringing these resources to your local legislators isn’t just the responsibility of fire officials. Everyone needs to play a part. Planners, community leaders, neighbours, First Nations and local government all need to work together to ensure that any land planning and legislation considers the threat of wildfire.
Of course, doing this with FireSmart disciplines in mind is easier said than done. Authorities and residents each have their unique interests when developing their communities, but fire safety is always in their best interest, especially in areas located on the Wildfire Urban Interface.
Not sure where to start? You can present wildfire information and solutions to your local legislators with the 2019 FireSmart Public Presentation. But before you do, here are some questions that can help you can ask when making the next steps toward becoming FireSmart:
- What cost is borne by the public when wildfire hazards aren’t managed?
- Who is responsible for ensuring planning takes place to address wildfire threat?
- Are there legal implications if neighbourhoods are not prepared for wildfire?
- Are their areas of the community that are more at risk than others?
If you’re in a wildfire hazard zone, it’s crucial that these questions are answered with legislation that addresses wildfire safety issues. Find out more about the other educational FireSmart resources here.