The West Carleton Disaster Relief association did a large amount of research into fire safety in our area. The HCA took a leadership role, and with other members of the WCDR and the Corkery Community Association, we produced our Firesmart brochure. We discovered that our area was utterly devastated by a wildfire in 1870 and the same risks that caused it exist today.
Our primary resource was the FireSmart Canada organization. The mandate for FireSmart is to reduce the risk that wildfires pose to populated areas by raising awareness through education. Their system is based on zones that spread out from you home and there are things you and the community can do to lower everyone’s individual risk and that to the wider community.
In order to maximize the benefits of the prevention and mitigation efforts, neighbours need to work together to tackle as many of the suggestions as possible. The FireSmart Neighbourhood Recognition Program was set up to help with this challenge.
Neighbourhoods whose residents participate in this program engage in efforts to reduce their vulnerability to wildfires and increase their chances of surviving a wildfire. The successful completion of the program leads to the FireSmart Neighborhood Recognition.
Important components of the Wildfire Ready brochure are the prevention and mitigation of wildfires. The preeminent source for this kind of information is the FireSmart Canada Organization
The FireSmart Canada association has over 100 member organizations across Canada with representatives from ten provinces and territories. International partners include the National Fire Protection Association (an international nonprofit organization – despite its name) and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. Our local FireSmart representatives are part of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
On the FireSmart web page, homeowners can find information explaining best practices to prepare the area around a home to minimize the likelihood of a wildfire from advancing to the home. FireSmart uses the concept of Prevention Zones for this purpose (if you do not have the Wildfire Ready! brochure handy, you can view a copy of it here.) . Examples of some of these suggestions are: the use of non-combustible surface materials close to the house, minimum distances for storing combustible materials such as firewood and propane tanks, choosing fire-resistant local vegetation, etc. The zone descriptions cover the area up to 100 metres from the house.
FireSmart Neighbourhood Recognition Program
When considering the range of the outer prevention zones, it becomes obvious that most homeowners are not in a position to implement all or even most of the recommendations by themselves. Consequently, in order to maximize the benefits of the prevention and mitigation efforts, neighbours need to work together to tackle as many of the suggestions as possible. The FireSmart Neighbourhood Recognition Program was set up to help with this challenge.
More details regarding this program can be found on the FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition Program web page.