On May 6, the Fernie Fire Department hosted a Community Preparedness Day to educate the public on the potential impacts of wildfires.
The event coincided with National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Approximately 30 people attended.
The department showcased some of the tools and equipment is uses for forestry calls, which are generally lighter and more mobile than regular equipment, and handed out information on the FireSmart program.
Firefighter Bruce Nelson explained how the blizzard of embers produced by a wildfire can endanger a community. These embers travel multiple kilometres to ignite flammable materials on properties, creating a chain reaction that adds to the wildfire.
“We’d like to think that we can provide fire protection but we’ve seen big events in Fort McMurray, Kelowna and Slave Lake and very quickly every resource gets overwhelmed,” he said. “As a department we can handle one or two house fires at a time but all of sudden you’ve got five or 10 or 20 houses on fire and resources are stretched beyond their limits.”
To help keep your property safe, the FireSmart rule of thumb is to turn the 10 metres of space around your home into a fire resistant zone by removing anything flammable.
Debris or leaves should be cleared out of crevasses and from under decks while woodpiles, tall grasses or plants and trees should be removed.
Trees near your home should be spaced at least three metres apart to reduce the intensity of the fire and all branches should be pruned to within two metres of the ground.