Despite the devastation that recently scorched Fort McMurray, and years prior in Kelowna and Falkland, homeowners are failing to learn from the tragedies.
But North Okanagan residents have a chance to learn how to snuff out fires before they start.
A FireSmart community educational event gets underway at the BX Swan Lake fire hall Saturday from 9 to 11:30 a.m.
A one-hour presentation, followed by question and answer session is with one of Canada’s leading experts in FireSmart and wildfire risk reduction, Alan Westhaver.
Westhaver provides 30-plus years of experience on why homes actually ignite during interface fires.
“Fire outcome depends on actions taken well before fire starts,” said Westhaver in a 2015 Institute of Catastrophic Loss Reduction report.
The event, put on by the Regional District of North Okanagan and the BX/Silver Star community will provide information to residents.
“It’s for the whole North Okanagan,” said BX-Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey.
“It’s a big thing for anyone who lives in the interface.”
Westhaver is a consultant for ForestWise Environmental Consulting, which is based in Fernie. He retired from Parks Canada after 34 years and during 27 of these, he was senior wildfire manager.
As past-president and director of FireSmart Canada, he participated in the development of the Community FireSmart manual. He also helped develop the FireSmart Canada Community Recognition program.
“Home survival is not random or a function of luck,” said Westhaver, in a 2016 ICLR report.
He was commissioned by ICLR to produce a report on the Kelowna (2003) and Slave Lake (2011) fires. In May this year, Westhaver travelled to Fort McMurray to conduct a forensic analysis of the homes that burned in the fire there.