The year has only just begun, but it’s never too early to start thinking about how you can protect your home and community from the dangers of wildfire. One important step you can take is to commit to FireSmart improvement—and we’re here to help you do so.
The Homeowner Tools section of our website offers a wealth of resources like the Homeowner’s Manual, Landscaping Hub, Home Assessment Scorecard, and Wildfire Last-Minute Checklist. These resources provide everything you need to know to improve the wildfire resilience of your property, from handy tips to essential landscaping tasks to proven fire-resistant plant choices. In this article, we’ll dive into these resources in more detail, so that you can begin the new year with a plan of action.
The Homeowner’s Manual
One of the most valuable resources for homeowners looking to protect their property is our Homeowner’s Manual. This free, step-by-step guide is packed with information on how wildfires grow and spread, how to spot vulnerabilities in a structure, and how to store fuel sources at a safe distance. By implementing the tips found in the manual, you can mitigate the potential fire risks on your property, reduce the opportunities for embers to ignite, and make your home more defensible for firefighters, allowing them to spend more time suppressing the fire itself.
Like all of FireSmart’s resources, our Homeowner’s Manual is backed by vast amounts of research shown to reduce the risk of damage, even under the most extreme fire conditions. It also includes tips on landscaping, such as selecting fire-resistant plants, as well as common household chores like mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, and safely storing combustibles (to name a few).
The steps we take right now could not only save homes but also lives. All of us have the ability and responsibility to control our wildfire risk, and we can start by using the Homeowner’s Manual.
The Landscaping Hub
Landscaping isn’t just about aesthetics; it can also play a crucial role in reducing the risk of loss caused by wildfire. The plants you choose, where you plant them, and how you maintain them can be the deciding factors in whether or not your home ignites during a wildfire.
Our Landscaping Hub, which features the FireSmart BC Landscaping Guide and information about the FireSmart BC Plant Program, makes it easier than ever to increase the resiliency of your property through smart landscaping choices. The Landscaping Guide is a deep reservoir of knowledge that includes an extensive list of fire-resistant plants, instructions on how to recognize the characteristics of other plants, and expert insights on making a vegetation barrier that lowers the risk of sparks and embers igniting your home and other structures. It also provides information on the best plants for different climates and microclimates in British Columbia, as well as their watering needs and hardiness. The Plant Program provides gardeners, landscapers, and suppliers with the knowledge and tools to help mitigate wildfire risks. The program works with merchants to promote fire-resistant plants and uses specialized product tags that identify fire-resistant species, making it easier for homeowners to make informed choices when shopping for plants.
Intelligent landscaping decisions can also contribute to the restoration of ecosystems and provide food and habitat for pollinators. As you plan your landscaping projects for the new year, consider the role that plants play in protecting your home and community from wildfire. By choosing fire-resistant plants, landscaping within the Home Ignition Zones (HIZ), and working with your neighbours to create a FireSmart community, you can increase the resilience of your property and reduce the potential impacts of wildfire.
The Home Assessment Scorecard
The Home Assessment Scorecard is another great resource to use when FireSmarting your home because it can help you assess your property’s risk and identify areas that need improvement. The fillable scorecard includes questions about the construction of your home, the materials used in its construction, and its surrounding landscape. After answering all of the questions, you’ll get an overall score for your home that shows what changes will make the greatest difference in reducing its wildfire resiliency.
To assess your own property, download a FireSmart Home Assessment Scorecard by clicking here. If you need help or advice, you can also reach out to your Local FireSmart Representative to answer any questions you might have or to assess your home for you.
The Wildfire Last-Minute Checklist
The Wildfire Last-Minute Checklist is a crucial tool for households that want to be ready in the face of an approaching wildfire. It provides a comprehensive list of essential items to have on hand, as well as actionable steps for creating a wildfire evacuation plan; this includes items like important documents, medications, and a grab-and-go bag, as well as a communication plan with family and friends and tips on how to prepare your home for evacuation.
Completing the Wildfire Last-Minute Checklist can provide peace of mind and the ability to stay focused in the event of an emergency. It is important to take the time now to familiarize yourself with this checklist and make sure that your household is ready in the event of a wildfire. So don’t wait—preparedness is the only way to ensure safety for you, your family, and your home.
In BC, we’re all too familiar with the danger that wildfire season poses to our homes and communities. But with the new year comes a new opportunity to take proactive measures that can help you prepare for this potential threat. By utilizing FireSmart BC’s resources, like the Homeowner’s Manual, Landscaping Hub, Home Assessment Scorecard, and Wildfire Last-Minute Checklist, you can take action today and protect your property and community ahead of this year’s wildfire season. Don’t wait. Remember, even small changes can make a big difference.