COQUITLAM, BC, Sept. 7, 2021 – FireSmart™ Ambassadors will begin knocking on doors next week as part of a new wildfire-prevention program rolling out across Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra.
As forest fires rage across B.C., the Northeast Sector FireSmart Program has begun to deliver public education and free property risk assessments to homes in wildland-urban interface zones – where development meets natural areas.
The program is funded through a joint $496,900 provincial FireSmart Economic Recovery Fund grant received this summer by Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra to create jobs and improve wildfire resiliency through residential property assessments, public outreach and infrastructure improvements.
Reduce Your Home and Community’s Wildfire Risk
The devastation caused by wildfires is evident across the province, and the risk is not limited to remote communities. An estimated 5,000 properties in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra are located in wildland-urban interface areas and at a greater risk for wildfires, which could then spread to neighbouring areas.
Property owners can play an important role in reducing the risk to their homes and neighbourhoods, such as by removing potential fuel sources and choosing fire-resistant building materials.
FireSmart Ambassadors will be canvassing at-risk neighbourhoods over the next four months to provide information about wildfire prevention and to offer free property assessments by a trained FireSmart representative, who will identify wildfire risks and measures to reduce them.
While there is no requirement for property owners to follow the advice, financial support is available for seniors (aged 65 and over) who want to make the recommended changes.
Property assessments may be booked through www.northeastsector.ca or by contacting 604-927-6334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other upcoming FireSmart community outreach will include pop-up community information sessions. Dates and locations will be posted at www.northeastsector.ca and shared through social media and local community news publications.
Local FireSmart Program Gearing Up
Two full-time positions and four part-time jobs have been created through the FireSmart grant, administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
Over the next year, the program will take steps to improve wildfire resilience in the four communities using FireSmart’s seven-pronged approach, which includes education, vegetation management, legislation and planning, development considerations, interagency cooperation and cross-training emergency planning.
The four local government partners are supporting the project in various ways, such as GIS mapping, hiring program staff, and facilitating improvements to critical regional wildfire infrastructure in Anmore and Belcarra, including Sasamat Fire Hall. The grant will fund $50,000 in labour and materials to conduct the infrastructure risk assessments and complete the improvements.
Ultimately, the sharing of skills and resources through the program will leave the participating communities better able to reduce interface fire risks and more effectively provide a coordinated fire response.
Program information and updates will be posted at www.northeastsector.ca. The British Columbia FireSmart website, www.firesmartbc.ca, provides wildfire information and resources, including a guide for homeowners and online courses.
City of Coquitlam
Manager of Corporate Services
Village of Anmore
Public Works & Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
Village of Belcarra