Wildfire season is upon British Columbians amid COVID-19 pandemic and Vernon firefighters are recommending homeowners FireSmart their properties. (File)

Pandemic good time to get FireSmart: Vernon firefighters

Fire season looming amid COVID-19 crisis

In the midst of a pandemic, British Columbians must also prepare for another threat.

“While people have been spending more time at home, we’ve noticed a lot of folks are cleaning up their yards and doing maintenance projects,” Vernon Fire Chief David Lind said.

“Now is the time for people to take a close look at their properties and consider what can be done to protect their homes — and their neighbourhood — from wildfire.”

In recent years, B.C. has seen an increase in both human-caused and naturally-occurring wildfires.

Already this season, a human-caused blaze ignited around three kilometres east of Enderby. The wind picked up and “stirred up” the April 26 fire, according to fire information officer Kyla Fraser. The fire was estimated between two and five hectares and was classified as held — at just under four hectares — on April 27.

Vernon firefighters said these are some things to consider when FireSmart-ing your home:

  • A minimum 1.5 metre non-combustible surface should extend around the entire home and any attachments, such as decks.
  • Within 10 metres of your home should be a fire-resistant zone, free of all materials that could easily ignite from a wildfire.
  • Thin and prune evergreen trees to reduce hazards around your home. Regularly clean up accumulations of fallen branches, dry grass and needles from on the ground to eliminate potential surface fuels.

“Focus on what is realistic for you to achieve in order to limit the risk of wildfire to your home,” deputy Chief Scott Hemstad said.

For more information on how to protect your home, follow the FireSmart Homeowner’s Manual here.

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