Protect your property from wildfires

Start of fire season brings out lots of advice

With the onset of wildfire season, with it comes a wave of advice on how to protect your property.

For instance, FirstOnSite Restoration released this week a list of priority measures to help minimize the wildfire factor for residential and business property owners.

Kamloops Fire Centre information officer Nicole Bonnett said such list safety rundowns often are derived from the FireSmart Canada guide (www.firesmartcanada.ca) which remains the ultimate source for the public to follow when considering fire safety measures.

Some of the FirstOnSite property safety suggestions include:

• Create a 10-metre defensible space around your property.

Bonnett says the defensible space breaks down to several zones extending from your house—zone 1 is from the structure to 1.5 metres; zone 1A is 1.5 to 10 metres; zone 2 is 10 to 30 metres; and zone 3 is 30 to 100 metres.

She says within that 10-meter zone, there should be no trees or leafy vegetation and the ground maintenance for leaves, twigs and branches that can become fire fuels not be ignored.

• Prune your trees; remove close-by coniferous trees

Bonnett says it’s recommended trees or shrubs not be planted within 10 metres of your home, and that overhanging limbs from the surface floor up to the two-metre height mark of a tree be pruned back. As well, trees should be spaced out at least three metres apart to minimize fire spreading from tree to tree.

• Make your roof fire resistant and clear away gutter debris.

Bonnett says that is good advice, as all that debris on your roof is potential fuel to ignite a fire. Of equal concern, she says, is any of that material blowing off the roof and landing on open staircases or balconies, where it continues to act as a potential fire fuel source.

• Keep your lawn mowed.

Long and unattended grass can become a fuel source for a fire, making a blaze spread more quickly, says the FireSmart Canada guide. Grass within 10 metres of a structure should be regularly mowed and watered.

• Create a “bug-out” bag and an action/evacuation plan.

When evacuation orders come with little notice at onset of a fire out of control, Bonnett says preparation of most important documents and personal memorabilia are hard to collect in the moment.

• Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage.

FireSmart Canada guide advises to obtain insurance for all property at risk from fire—goverment disaster financial assistance is limited and only covers uninsurable perils.

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