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North Okanagan fire chief encourages FireSmart practices

Bill Wacey of BX-Swan Lake Fire Rescue says sticking to FireSmart can enhance wildfire resilience
The Regional District of North Okanagan is encouraging residents to integrate FireSmart practices into their everyday lives in dealing with the hot summer. (Black Press - file photo)

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) continues to emphasize the importance of integrating FireSmart practices into everyday life.

The recent increase of wildfires within the Kamloops Fire Centre serves as a reminder that the wildfire threat is still ongoing and residents should take preventative actions before heading out of town for late-summer getaways.

“The potential impact of firebrands, airborne embers from wildfires, cannot be underestimated. These embers can travel substantial distances, posing ignition risks to homes far from the fire’s epicenter,” said BX-Swan Lake Fire Rescue Chief Bill Wacey. “By adhering to FireSmart practices, we have the power to enhance our wildfire resilience and preserve our beloved Okanagan way of life.”

To minimize the risk of embers igniting structures and enhance the wildfire resilience of our community, residents are advised to incorporate the following FireSmart guidelines into their vacation preparation routine:

1. Seal the Fortress: Before departing, close all windows and doors securely. This simple action prevents firebrands from blowing into your home and setting the stage for potential ignition;

2. Welcome Safety: Show your commitment to fire safety by removing flammable welcome mats and rugs from your doorstep. This small gesture makes a significant impact on reducing ignition risks;

3. Clear the Way: Maintain clear gutters and roofs. By ridding these areas of debris, you decrease the chance of firebrands finding fuel for ignition;

4. Store Smart: Safely store flammable materials like gasoline, propane tanks, and firewood. Keep them at a distance from your home to reduce fire hazards;

5. Unite in Preparedness: Incorporate wildfire readiness into your family’s emergency plan. Designate a meeting spot, share emergency contacts, and establish a communication strategy. Be aware of the official sources of information in the regions you vacation in.

“While summer progresses, our commitment to FireSmart practices must remain paramount,” said Wacey. “It’s never too late to take proactive steps to safeguard our homes and update our going-away-checklists to defend against firebrands.”

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