Highlights from the recent FireSmart presentation

A bit about your FireSmart Committee…..

We are a volunteer board with a goal of improving the safety of the Bragg Creek area by developing options related to wildfire threat and community protection.  We do this by consulting with the community and by providing feedback to Rocky View Fire Services.

Here’s what we’ve accomplished since our committee was established in April.

  • Emergency Management Open House (July) where residents could hear about plans and processes in case of an emergency here.
  • Chipper Weekend (September) where residents could bring their tree and shrub trimmings to be chipped and disposed of for free.
  • Elkana Demo Forest cleaned up. This forest is for anyone to take a walk through and see what a FireSmart forest looks like.
  • ~20 home assessments conducted so far which give homeowners customized advice on how they can reduce the risk of their home igniting in a wildfire. (You can book a FireSmart Inspection through RockyView’s website – search for FireSmart.)
  • Four new Wildfire Danger signs to be installed shortly.
  • Getting the message out through High Country News stories, speaking at meetings, and by engaging with volunteers and interested residents.
  • Behind the scenes, some of us attended the FireSmart Canada Community Series in Fort MacMurray and met with the Canmore/Banff Fire Chiefs to learn more about what others are doing. We’re also working on securing funding for our 2019 initiatives.

 

Here’s a snapshot of what’s coming up….

Education

  • Expand our communication to build awareness of our wildfire hazards and of FireSmart.
  • Educate homeowners on the Home Ignition Zone – the 10 metre area surrounding your home.  FireSmart principles, especially in this zone, are strongly correlated to home survival in a wildfire.  (Most homes ignite from wind-borne embers not from contact with flames.)
  • Hold a Spring FireSmart Forum to bring together all involved stakeholders for joint planning.
  • Establish a Community Champions Program to kick-off neighbourhood oriented risk education and FireSmarting.

 

Vegetation Management

  • These activities are about reducing wildland fuel to reduce the impact and intensity of a wildfire.
  • Future Chipper Weekends for residents to dispose of tree and shrub waste.
  • Secure funding for vegetation management surrounding our critical infrastructure on RockyView County land.
  • Secure funding for clean-up in Bragg Creek Provincial Park and explore opportunities for trail development.
  • Develop a long-term plan for vegetation management on all RockyView County lands in our area.

 

Planning

  • Establish a Wildfire Protection Plan which outlines our risks, potential consequences of a wildfire and wildfire entry points into our community.
  • Hold an Emergency Evacuation Exercise.
  • Present to RockyView Planning & Priorities Committee to get buy-in to our plans.
  • Work with the committee on improving cell coverage.

About FireSmart

FireSmart is about living with wildfire on the landscape.  Fire is natural and important for ecological reasons but we need to reduce the risk of homes and structures igniting and ensure our safety.  There are limits to wildfire suppression so FireSmart focuses on creating more resilient communities.

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