Reduce Wildfire hazards by being Fire Smart! Print Article Font Size

Fire-dept-logo.jpgIn light of the wildfire situation in places like Fort St. John and Fort McMurray, Town of Golden Fire Chief David Balding is urging Golden residents to ensure their homes and properties are Fire Smart.

Though there are currently no fire bans in the southeast fire centre, including Golden, the community has already been a grassfire incident and conditions can change quickly.

“Can a wildfire come to Golden? Absolutely,” says Fire Chief Dave Balding. “We are not in any imminent danger, but we can still take steps to increase survivability of our homes in the event of a wildfire.”

There are many things you can do to ensure your property is Fire Smart. In fact, BC Wildfire Services suggests that the first 10 metres around your home should be free of all materials that could easily ignite from a wild­fire.

“That includes things like fire wood and pine needles,” says Balding. “When embers fly around, this is where they land and structures can be lost as a result.”

Taking extra care to remove flammable vegetation such as cedar and juniper bushes from the yard, sweeping decks, raking up tree needles, leaves and debris can all help to keep your home safe. And it doesn’t stop there.

Along with keeping your roof, gutters, etc. free of debris, BC Wildfire Service suggests that residents keep woodpiles, propane tanks, outbuildings and combustibles at least 10 metres away from their home.

Looking further away from the actual structure of the home, 10 - 30 metres, residents can reduce fuels by thinning and pruning vegetation and trees. This will slow a ­fire’s spread.

When planting new trees, BC Wildfire suggests planting aspen, poplar and birch which have lower flammability rates.

Beyond keeping your home Fire Smart, there are also steps we can take to ensure we are being proactive about fire safety. Many of us like to enjoy our beautiful back yard by having campfires and cookouts.

Keep a shovel or at least eight litres of water nearby to extinguish the fire when you are finished; create a firebreak around your fire by scraping down to the dirt one metre around the fire; and most importantly, before leaving the area, always ensure that your campfire is completely extinguished and the ashes are cool to the touch

“Since April 1, the B.C. Forest Service has actioned 21 fires in the southeast region. Of these, twenty were human caused and that means they were preventable,” says Balding.

You can learn more about ways to be Fire Smart around your home and in the great outdoors by visiting the BC Wildfire Service website, www.bcwildfire.ca.