The Village of Salmo has launched a public education and support campaign to raise awareness of the risk that wildfire poses and provide information to residents and businesses on actions they can take to reduce wildfire risk on private property.
A street banner, new webpage, leaflets to residents in the Salmo fire protection area, free home fire risk assessments and support for public education events are all part of the FireSmart campaign, made possible by a grant from the Union of BC Municipalities.
“This entire region is vulnerable to wildfire. Last year’s fire season was another wake-up call,” says Mayor Stephen White. “Our goal is to provide residents with the knowledge and organizational means to significantly reduce their neighbourhood’s vulnerability to wildfire.”
Salmo fire chief David Hearn has been appointed as the local FireSmart representative, and can be called upon by residents for assistance in home assessments, information on fuel mitigation and how to organize their neighbourhood to become a FireSmart community.
Hearn points to the advantages of having neighbourhoods, defined as a group of 20 to 50 homes, deemed FireSmart by the national Partners in Protection Program. “FireSmart neighbourhoods act as a fire break and deliver the peace of mind that comes with reduced wildfire risk,” says Hearn. He also notes that property values stand to improve while insurance companies note the reduced risk of loss.
“We’ve all seen the post-wildfire images of the one house that remains intact while all neighbouring houses are consumed by fire. It’s not magic — that house is a FireSmart house. You too can reduce your wildfire risk by following simple, preventative steps and principles.”
The village also hopes to inform residents of the reality of firefighting capacity during a major fire event and that the best fire suppression is fire hazard mitigation and prevention.
Salmo residents are reminded that Spring Yard Waste Pick Up day, a residential service provided by the village, is set for May 3 and 4. This is a great opportunity to clean up and reduce fuel (woody debris and hazardous vegetation) and have it picked up and taken away by the village crew.
May 7 is also Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and a great opportunity to prepare for this year’s fire season.
Residents are encouraged to contact the village office at 250-357-9433 to book your free home fire risk assessment and find out how your neighbourhood can become a FireSmart community.