The FireSmart season is upon us and Quesnel City Council got a sneak peek at what lies ahead at Tuesday (April 4) night’s meeting.
Ted Traer, the FireSmart Coordinator for Quesnel and the North Cariboo, first talked about how wildfires in BC are getting a little closer to home.
“It’s getting closer to our own backyards. So it’s changing the way we’re having to deal with things. BC is experiencing serious and sustained increase in extreme wildfire behavior in the wildland urban interface.
That is the area between the wildland and where people’s homes are.
Traer also talked about how urban fires can cause resources to quickly be overwhelmed.
“If you’re the first home that gets the call you’re probably OK, the second one maybe OK, the third one everyone is at the first two homes, so you have that reduced level of fire protection. The lack of resources leads to reduced effectiveness and then you end up getting disaster and many homes destroyed.”
Traer noted that FireSmart’s goal is to break that disaster sequence.
“If we put effort in and around those communities, in and around those houses, that makes all the difference in the world. Reducing the risk around our communities and in our own backyards.”
Traer went over some of his plans for 2023 at the meeting as well.
“Lots more outreach planned, we’ve got a movie night planned, talking to some schools, lots more information booths, talking to local First Nations, and going to the home show as well. Home assessments and rebates have increased this year so we’re looking at 10 for a thousand dollars each, also looking at farm and ranch assessments because our farms and ranches are out there around our communities, so a lot of times they get impacted quite significantly as well.”
Traer also talked about the Neighbourhood Recognition Program, something he called a pat on the back from FireSmart Canada.
“The South Hills neighbourhood in the northwest component of South Hills became the first community in the Quesnel area to be recognized under this provincial program. What it is is there is power in numbers because you can have the fireSmart poster child in your backyard but your neighbour could have everything possible that could burn right next door. It makes a real big difference. It’s great having neighbours talk to neighbours because that’s one of the easy ways to provide the message.”
Traer says they are looking at two neighbourhoods this year.
He closed by saying that wildfire prevention begins before the fire occurs and before the fire season starts, adding that it starts in our own backyard and is a shared responsibility.