Steve Dodge prunes lower limbs from a conifer tree in someone’s yard, which helps reduce the chance of fire spreading. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)

Steve Dodge prunes lower limbs from a conifer tree in someone’s yard, which helps reduce the chance of fire spreading. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)

FireSmart Feature: Steve Dodge and composite decking

Dodge replaced an aging wood deck with one made of composite, fire-resistant materials.

Although the past couple of summers in Quesnel have been rainy, the recent wildfire smoke that engulfed our community is an important reminder of the 2017 and 2018 wildfire seasons and of dry years to come.

The City of Quesnel’s Local FireSmart Representative (LFR), Amanda Vibert, was able to catch up with Steve Dodge, the manager of the former United Way FireSmart program, who has taken this summer to do FireSmart projects around his Quesnel home.

“The 2020 almost-non-existent fire season has been the perfect time to continue with the FireSmarting activities that were first identified following the 2017 season. The cool and mostly wet weather has made it easier to remove my cedar trees and stumps and install my new composite deck,” said Dodge.

This summer, Dodge replaced an aging wood deck with one made of composite, fire-resistant materials. Traditional slatted wood decks are vulnerable to fires, but building with a fire-rated deck product can reduce the risk, potentially saving not only the deck, but the entire home. During wildfires, airborne embers can travel up to two kilometres in the wind and can land on your roof, in your yard or on your deck.

FireSmart Canada reminds us that it’s not only the materials used to build the deck that are important, but also the presence of combustible materials stored under your deck and the vegetation around it. Get in the habit of regularly raking up leaves from under your deck and don’t store items around it that could act as fuel for embers, such as woodpiles. Ideally, sheath the underside of the deck with non-combustible sheathing, such as fibre cement board or metal screening.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s United Way Fire Mitigation Project has been a success so far

FireSmart works as a prevention measure, so it’s never too early to start — but it can be too late.

“Although the 2017 and 2018 fire seasons are starting to fade from memory, when smoke is enveloping the city and flames can be seen on the horizon, it’s time to start packing your bags, not pruning your conifers!” says Dodge.

For more information on how you can get started, visit or email the City of Quesnel’s Forestry Initiatives Program at

Submitted by Amanda Vibert. Amanda is the contracted Local FireSmart Representative with the City of Quesnel’s Forestry Initiatives Program.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Joe Alphonse
OP-ED: Williams Lake municipal, regional councils lack awareness on historical trauma

Systemic racism isn’t always obvious to those that are not experiencing it

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake GMHL expansion questions, concerns, to be discussed later this month

If approved, the team would begin play in the fall of 2021

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

(File photo)
Kamloops Mountie bitten while arresting woman

The assault on March 1 is the latest in a string of incidents that have left local officers injured

Most Read