COLUMNS: Time to get FireSmart

A weekly column by Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett

We have already suffered a few grassfires so far this year, so it is a good time to remind ourselves that wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

The FireSmart manual published by the provincial government provides useful advice that can help reduce the risk of losing your home to wildfires.

While there is no guarantee against fire damage, you can take steps that can make a world of difference.

Most preventative measures cost very little and can significantly reduce the risk of fire damage.

The FireSmart manual provides all the information you need to know for a well thought-out fire protection plan.

This includes advice on site preparation to ensure safe buffer zones between your home and the trees.

It involves the removal of all combustible materials within 10 metres of a structure to create a good space free of fuel that gives firefighters the best chance to save your home.

Moving your firewood pile is a pretty good start.

The FireSmart manual also points out that you can do a number of simple and economical things around the house to make it more fire resistant.

Simply removing overhanging branches eliminates the chance of burning embers making their way across your roof.

You can also avoid being the cause of a wildfire by installing spark arresters to chimneys and ensuring that your chimney structure is up to code.

There is also a handy checklist to assess your home and site for the risk of fire.

To learn more about proper preparation, I would encourage everyone to take part in an upcoming event being planned by the Cariboo Fire Centre. This event is on April 17, starting at 7 p.m. at the Miocene Community Hall.

This will be a great opportunity to learn more about the FireSmart program and share experiences from last year.

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