While it’s been a very cool spring, it has, until the past few days, been very dry. May’s rains, as inconvenient as they may be for those wanting to play outdoors, are needed to help mitigate against what was shaping up to be a potentially dangerous wildfire season.
While over the past few years our region has been relatively quiet on the wildfire front, that doesn’t mean we’ve put our wildfire prevention efforts on the back burner. On the contrary, our Forestry Initiatives Program has been actively carrying out fuel treatments on the Crown forests in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) zone around the City.
One of these treatments is now a community trail network that is actively used by residents all year round and is a perfect place to go for a walk, jog, or bike ride and learn more about forest fuel treatments. These trails are located on the old Prince George highway adjacent to the airport; youtu.be/_xWzd-oH3JI
The City of Quesnel is responsible for creating and implementing a comprehensive Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) that identifies areas in the WUI that need these fuel management treatments. The City’s CWPP has also identified that the largest portion of the land base in the CWPP area is private land, not crown forest.
The private land in the WUI also needs to be managed through the lens of wildfire prevention. As such, the City’s Forestry Initiatives Program supports the implementation of the FireSmart program throughout the City … and May is FireSmart month!
FireSmart is a program designed specifically to assist homeowners to conduct a wildfire risk assessment of their property and undertake a treatment plan to reduce that risk and give firefighters the best possible chance to defend and protect their property and the community.
Homeowners can take simple steps this spring to FireSmart their property by:
- cleaning all combustible material from their roof and gutters;
- pruning low branches of coniferous trees (evergreens) to create a two-meter clearance from the ground (removing “ladder fuels”);
- ensuring woodpiles are stored away from the home;
- cleaning underneath decks to remove combustible materials;
- cleaning up any brush piles, fallen branches, and standing dead trees; and,
- ensuring a minimum of 1.5 metres of non-combustible surface (mineral soil, rocks, bricks etc.) extends around their entire home and any attachments, such as decks.
You can learn more about the City’s FireSmart program and planned activities on our Forestry Initiatives Program.
The City’s FireSmart implementation effort involves citywide education and support and a concentrated neighbourhood by neighbourhood campaign. For the next few years, the neighbourhood program will be focused on South Hills.
A specialist contractor has been retained to assist South Hills residents to conduct assessments and FireSmart on their property. The City’s goal is to assist South Hills, or portions of this neighbourhood, to achieve designation under the “FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition Program.” A rebate program is also available to assist homeowners with some of the costs associated with fire-smarting their property.
For more information on the South Hills Neighbourhood FireSmart program please contact Ted Traer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will all need to do our part to ensure Quesnel is prepared for the next and future wildfire seasons, the City is actively engaged in this mitigation work and is also providing the knowledge and tools for all homeowners to actively participate in this effort too. Let’s roll up our sleeves together and become a FireSmart community.