Now is the time to safeguard your home or business ahead of this year’s wildfire season, and practical advice is readily available to help you do it yourself.
These are the messages that FireSmart BC wants to spread as the province heads into Spring and Summer. Our advertising campaign will use both new and traditional media to hammer them home under a simple but sobering observation: “The homes that are prepared are the homes left standing”.
More than a slogan, the line is a statement of fact that applies in the aftermath of virtually all wildfires, whether they take place in BC itself, in the nearby US state of Oregon, or in the far-away bushland of Australia. For firefighters, prevention experts, risk-management analysts, and others familiar with the effects of wildfire, the statement is basically a rule of thumb.
So is the knowledge that, armed with the right information, anyone can vastly reduce the vulnerability of their property. And to make sure that any and all interested parties have access to that information, we’ve produced a new interactive homeowners manual.
Available free of charge, the guide empowers homeowners with crucial information on how wildfires grow and spread, how to spot vulnerabilities in a structure, and keeping fuel sources a safe distance away. Implementing these tips can be crucial for the survival of your home, not just because they directly reduce the number of opportunities for flames to take hold, but also because they make your home a bastion that firefighters can realistically defend.
Almost all of us are familiar with work situations in which we have to prioritize one or more tasks over others. Sometimes such decisions are made for us by higher-ups, or by different deadlines assigned to the tasks in question, but often we have to decide for ourselves what is urgent, what can wait, and, on occasion, what has to be removed. Firefighters face similar decisions, and they have to make them while the incident is still unfolding, often in situations where picking the right home to defend can starve a fire of fuel, ending the threat to dozens or even hundreds of other structures nearby. Conversely, if they make a stand at the wrong site, they risk wasting precious resources in a lost cause – and placing numerous other properties at risk, not to mention the safety of the firefighters themselves.
This raises another issue highlighted in the guide: the fact that applying FireSmart principles on a neighbourhood scale can expand the benefits of wildfire resiliency by several orders of magnitude. The more hardened properties that a given area contains – especially if they are adjacent to one another – the easier it is for a wildfire to be starved of fuel and stopped in its tracks.
The timing of the advertising campaign is no coincidence.
Pretty much everywhere, Spring brings out new life and new beginnings, with both plants and animals taking advantage of milder weather to resume the activities that sustain entire ecosystems. In places like British Columbia, however, the warmer temperatures also result in less moisture, more lightning, and a greater number of one species in particular (humans) spending time outdoors, all which signals the impending arrival of wildfire season.
There is no better time, then now, for responsible humans to get started on making their homes – and their neighbourhoods – more defendable.