To ensure community members have the opportunity to prepare for wildfire, the Nelson and Area Wildfire Risk Reduction Committee are hosting a FireSmart open house today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Adventure Hotel.
Nelsons FireSmart coordinator Rob Leeland says tonight’s open house will allow community members the opportunity to learn about the FireSmart program, wildfire risk reduction and ask community leaders what steps have been taken to protect the city and surrounding communities.
“It’s a chance for everyday folks to go and talk to the people who are doing the work out on the wildfires and learn about the mitigation and planning work being done to help protect homes and prevent wildfires from spreading.”
Leeland says the risk of wildfires is high during the summer months, which is why it’s important for people to take advantage of all the resources available to them.
“FireSmart is about simple things that a person can do to their home to make that home and the property around it more resilient to wildfires. So, simply speaking, we just want people to focus on the start with the immediate zone right around their house,” he says.
“Things like a wood pile you have leaning up against the side of your house, or wood that’s stacked underneath your deck or twigs and leaves that you have in your gutters. By clearing out those things, you’re going to really reduce the chance that any embers that are traveling on the wind are going to land on your house and be able to start into a fire.”
Leeland said it’s hard to say whether the West Kootenay will experience a bad wildfire season. However, last night at council Nelson’s fire chief Jeff Hebert said the severity of fire season is dependent on June’s rain.
“All the conversations I’ve had with BC Wildfire has indicated that the June rain will predict this year’s fire season. So don’t think that the June rain is dampening your camping… it is saving us. Where a lot of other places in BC aren’t faring as well,” said Hebert.
The City of Nelson has many resources online available for the community in regard to wildfire risk reduction. Anyone who can’t make the open house this evening is encouraged to use them.
“Book a free FireSmart assessment through our website. One of our local firefighters will come to your home and they’ll walk around the property with you and give you some information about what you can do specifically on your property to reduce the wildfire risk. With those recommendations, we will send you a list and you can act on those items,” said Leeland
For more information on FireSmart and wildfire risk reduction visit www.nelson.ca/firesmart