This back-to-school season comes after the worst wildfire season in BC’s history. Your child may have heard about the devastating impact, and likely has questions about what that means for them, your family, and your home.
That’s why FireSmart has created a number of fun (and free!) resources for parents and teachers to educate children on wildfire mitigation. Now is the perfect time to explore how your family can become FireSmart, and begin practicing at-home steps to increase your fire resiliency.
How FireSmart is helping kids fight wildfires
It’s natural for children to feel powerless in the face of wildfires. But as the next generation who will be taking care of this place we call home, they also have an important role in creating a more resilient province now and in the future. That’s why it’s critical for younger generations to start learning about wildfire preparedness today.
FireSmart BC offers a long list of proven methods that empower people to protect themselves and those around them. Everything about what we do is aimed at reducing the impacts of wildfires. Because, let’s face it, a lot is at stake: lives, livelihoods, properties, and our forests. So we’re doing all that we can to encourage people to take sensible steps to protect themselves and others, and we believe the best way to do that is by spreading prevention awareness to adults and children alike.
Research shows that children absorb and retain knowledge better when the delivery includes engaging visual aids, like mascots—remember the U.S. Forest Service’s “Smokey Bear”? For that reason, we designed Ember the FireSmart Fox. She puts a cute and cuddly—but also alert and adaptable—face on FireSmart’s messages of awareness and resilience, teaching kids the steps they can take to protect themselves and their neighbours.
At Ember’s Den, kids can learn all about wildfire prevention, and have loads of fun doing it, through games, activities, and other resources, like:
- Ember’s Story Video: Meet Ember, the FireSmart Fox, and see how she helps the people in her community stay FireSmart.
- Ember’s FireSmart Colouring Book: Ember visits homes to show families her favourite FireSmart tips and teach them how to keep their property and neighbourhoods safe from wildfire. This colouring book is great for ages 4-8 and is available in both English and French.
- FireSmart Kid’s Home Assessment: Parents and children can take this quick assessment together to see how at risk their home would be if there was a nearby wildfire, while at the same time learning what they can do to improve its resiliency.
- Ember Word Search Game and FireSmart Matching Game: Designed to teach kids the FireSmart basics.
- FireSmart BC Library Program: The first children’s literacy program dedicated to wildfire resiliency. It was designed to help children understand what it means to live with wildfires and the role they can play in mitigating its impacts on their home and community. This program includes both digital and physical resources, like materials for colouring content, Ember activity packages, and Wildfire Resiliency Literacy Kits (a collection of books and activities that explore the topic of wildfire preparedness and resiliency, as well as a bookmark and storytime videos featuring Ember).
As you and your children navigate the transition from summer to school, consider using this time as an opportunity to explore Ember’s Den together. In doing so, you’ll not only help reduce the impacts of future wildfires, but also give your kids the practical tools needed to care for their homes and communities for generations to come.
FireSmart Education Program
The FireSmart BC Education Program is an all-in-one teaching resource to introduce children to FireSmart concepts, including how to make homes and communities more resilient to wildfire. The materials equip students in grades K-6 (7-12 coming soon) with essential knowledge on safety, fire science, ecosystem stewardship, and wildfire mitigation and prevention.
- Grades K-1 will learn the basics, including identifying the seasons when wildfire is most likely to occur and determining which items around a home are likely to burn.
- Grades 2-3 cover topics including best practices and designs for FireSmart homes, as well as lessons on how First Peoples used fire to care for the land.
- Grades 4-6 take a broad view with lesson plans that include creating a landscaping plan for public areas in their community, learning about the ecozone in which they live, and determining factors that can help make areas more FireSmart.
These interactive and inclusive resources are aligned with BC school curriculum to easily incorporate within existing lesson plans or be taught at home by parents. Designed to make learning fun, the program will empower youth to become champions of fire safety in their communities. Explore the courses to learn how you can teach your child or classroom the fundamentals of being FireSmart.