Due to an increase in hotter and drier summers, wildfires in Creston and the Kootenays are a reality. It is essential that residents stay informed about how to protect themselves, their families, and their properties in the event of a wildfire. Below are some resources and information to help you prepare for the risk of a wildfire.
Wildland forest fires are capable of spreading at an astonishing rate. Crowning forest fires often spread at up to 5.5 kilometres per hour, with spotting as far as 2 kilometres ahead. Windblown grass fires can spread at speeds up to 8.5 kilometres per hour.
In British Columbia, an average 48% of all wildfires are caused by human activity. Wildfire is also a natural phenomenon. Nearly 52% of British Columbia’s wildfires are caused by lightning strikes. Over the last several centuries, large areas of British Columbia have been burned over repeatedly. Over the last 10 years, on average over 2,500 wildfires were started in British Columbia each year consuming over 25,000 hectares of forested land annually. Thousands of families were recently evacuated from their communities and hundreds of homes destroyed.
The Creston Valley is in and part of a forested region of our province. Sooner or later we may have to contend with the spread of a wildfire. The best protection against loss, damage or injury due to wildfire is prevention.
What is FireSmart?
Using years of fire behavior research, FireSmart Canada has created a program to help homeowners identify and address wildfire threats on their property. These theories and recommendations have been tested and proven in both simulation and real world events, resulting in homes that are left unscathed despite a raging forest fire. The recommendations can be found in the FireSmart Homeowner's Manual
My property is FireSmart what more can I do?
Encourage others to get involved; neighbors, co-workers, etc. It has been found that the most successful FireSmart projects are those that are spearheaded by homeowners. This could include helping a neighbor FireSmart their property (if fire cannot burn on their property, it can't spread to yours) or doing FireSmart Treatment in a common area in your neighborhood.
Have your grab-and-go bag ready and stocked with:
- Battery-powered/ hand-crank radio and flashlight
- Power bank
- First aid kit and prescriptions
- Cash in small bills
- Change of clothes
- Emergency blanket
- A copy of your emergency plan
- Copies of important documents, such as insurance and emergency contact information
- Don’t forget a bag for your pets!
Visit PreparedBC.ca/EmergencyKit for more information and a complete list of supplies
Visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-management/preparedbc/make-your-plan for more information on emergency preparation and a fill-in-the-blanks home emergency plan.
Protect your home
Visit this FireSmart guide for more information on how to protect your home from a wildfire https://begins-at-home-guide.firesmartbc.ca/