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Check the FireSmart Community Recognition Program area of this website to learn how to talk to your neighbours about FireSmart, and explore what it means to become a recognized FireSmart Community.

The FireSmart Community Recognition Program provides a simple template that neighbourhoods can use to take action to protect homes from brush, grass and forest fires.

An overwhelming number of brush, grass and forest fires are caused by people.

Lightning is a natural source of wildfire.

For more information on the FireSmart Canada Community Recognition Program – click  here

Information Available includes:

Individual forms from – A User Reference Guide to the FireSmart Canada Community Recognition Program are available:

 

While the benefits can vary, there are a number of positive outcomes experienced by communities that become members of the FireSmart Communities Program. Being “FireSmart”:

  • Creates defensible space that prevents fires from advancing and endangering homes and lives.
  • Reduces the probability that wind-driven embers falling far ahead of a wildfire will ignite a fire on or around your home.
  • Improves property value while reducing the risk of loss.
  • Improves community relationships with the local fire staff. Firefighters can concentrate their efforts on fighting wildfires rather than devoting often limited resources to protecting homes – which may ultimately be lost if the fire can’t be contained.
  • Encourages good neighbours, since the more homes within a community that adopt “FireSmart” practices, the greater the impact on reducing the heat and speed of the fire.
  • Offers peace of mind, knowing that your home is prepared to survive a wildfire in the event one should occur.

Your ignition zone – including the condition of the house and its immediate surroundings within 30 to 100 metres and other structures such as garages, decks, porches, or fences that come in contact with the house – is what determines your home’s susceptibility to ignition during a wildfire.

Here are some simple steps for making your ignition zone a deterrent to wildfire progress:

  • Clear the build-up of needles and leaves from the base of the house and any connecting structures which could otherwise ignite the home’s siding.
  • Create a three-metre, fire-free (i.e. non-combustible) area on all sides of your home.
  • Clear trees and shrubs of dead material and keep them pruned. Space trees and shrubs far enough apart to slow the spread of an approaching wildfire.
  • Choose deciduous trees and shrubs, rather than evergreens for planting close to your home. Evergreens burn fiercely. Plants that shed leaves annually burn more slowly.
  • Regularly care for your property to keep it free of dead leaves, needles and debris. Plant native wildflowers and fire-resistant plants; keep lawns trimmed and irrigated as they serve as good fire breaks, as do rock gardens and xeriscapes.
  • Remember a wide driveway, non-flammable walkways and other pathways can slow or stop the spread of a wildfire.
  • Use metal flashing at all connection points of structures, such as wooden fences attached to the house.
  • “Limb up” trees around the house by removing lower limbs that are within 2.5 metres of the ground.
  • Trim any limbs on trees hanging over the house.
  • Store firewood well away from your house, particularly during fire-season.
  • Use non-flammable (Class A rated) roofing materials.
  • Clear gutters of leaves and debris.
  • Ensure that chimneys for all wood burning appliances are screened to prevent the escape of live embers.
  • Remove excess vegetation along roads.

Neighbourhoods, subdivisions, and small towns in areas of Canada prone to wildfire can earn FireSmart Community recognition status by meeting the following criteria:

  • Enlisting a wildland/urban interface specialist to complete an assessment and create a plan that identifies locally agreed-upon solutions that the community can implement.
  • Sponsoring a local FireSmart Board which maintains the FireSmart Community Plan and tracks its progress or status.
  • Conducting FireSmart Events each year that are dedicated to a local FireSmart project.
  • Investing a minimum of $2.00 annually per capita in local FireSmart Community efforts. This is surprisingly easy to do since volunteer time is credited at $24.17 per hour (2017 amount).
  • Submitting an annual report to FireSmart Canada documenting continuing compliance with the program.
  • If your community has a head start on FireSmart already and can document your efforts, this can also be recognized.

Becoming FireSmart takes time and coordination with your neighbours and others, but getting started is actually quite straightforward.

Following these steps, your community will be on its way toward becoming FireSmart.

  1. Contact FireSmart – A community representative (you or another interested member of your community) phones FireSmart Canada at 780-718-5355 or completes an on-line request for contact by the Local FireSmart Representative on the FireSmart Canada website – www.firesmartcanada.ca
  2. Site Visit – Your Local FireSmart Representative, a specialist in wildland/urban interface (WUI) fire, will visit your area and assess wildfire hazards.
  3. Community Representation – At the same time, your Community Champion (again, this could be you) recruits others from your community to create a FireSmart Board which will include other homeowners and fire professionals and possibly land managers, planners and members of other interest groups.
  4. Assessment & Evaluation – The Local FireSmart Representative completes the wildfire hazard assessment and evaluation of the community’s wildfire readiness and schedules a meeting with your local FireSmart Board to present the assessment for review and acceptance by the Board.
  5. Moving Forward/Creating A Plan – Your local FireSmart Board develops a FireSmart Community Plan (a set of solutions to its WUI fire issues based on the Local FireSmart Representative’s report). All members of the FireSmart Board must concur with the final plan which is presented to and approved by the provincial/territorial FireSmart Liaison. The Local FireSmart Representative may work with your community to seek project implementation funds if needed.
  6. Implement Solutions – Solutions from your FireSmart Community Plan are implemented following a schedule designed by your FireSmart Board, who will be responsible for maintaining the program into the future.
  7. Apply for Recognition – FireSmart Community recognition status is achieved after your community submits its application form along with a completed FireSmart Community Plan and FireSmart Event documentation to your Local FireSmart Representative. Use the on-line form available on the FireSmart Canada website – www.firesmartcanada.ca
  8. Renewing Your Recognition Status – Annual renewal of your recognition is completed by submitting documentation of your community’s continued participation to the provincial/territorial FireSmart Liaison. Use the on-line form available on the FireSmart Canada website – www.firesmartcanada.ca

Fire Fighters

Local fire departments are the first responders, and always make their best efforts to deal with fires of any kind. But fires in brush, grass or forests pose a special challenge. First, it may take firefighters longer to find out about the fire if it starts in the woods or a field. They may not get a call until the fire is threatening homes.

Firefighter safety is the first priority when fighting any fire. Protecting your home from wildfire not only protects your home but firefighters.

An overwhelming number of brush, grass and forest fires are caused by people.

Lightning is a natural source of wildfire.

Home Owners

Check the FireSmart Community Recognition Program area of this website to learn how to talk to your neighbours about FireSmart, and explore what it means to become a recognized FireSmart Community.

The FireSmart Community Recognition Program provides a simple template that neighbourhoods can use to take action to protect homes from brush, grass and forest fires.

Using FireSmart principles on your property will start to reduce your likelihood of damage and loss. Homes or other property within 30 meters of your home can be a risk factor if they are not FireSmart. Here are some ideas to help you work with neighbors to be safer:

  • Call on your local fire department or provincial forestry office to find out if a fire expert can come to a neighbourhood meeting to discuss FireSmart principles.
  • Check the FireSmart Communities section of this website for more tips on talking with your neighbours and starting a FireSmart Community Recognition site in your area.

There are many reasons that people live in areas where fires occur, and those reasons vary from place to place. Many people have migrated from more urban settings and may have little experience or understanding of the local fire risk. Many seek out the beauty and privacy of developments in the woods. Some enjoy the rugged outdoor lifestyle that living near nature affords.

Remember that brush, grass and forest fires can and do occur nearly everywhere in Canada.

Assuming you are adequately insured, most homeowner policies do typically cover property losses cause by brush, grass or forest fire. However, most policies do not cover home landscaping and plants that could be destroyed in a wildland fire. And no policy can replace personal items such as photographs, artwork and other memorabilia.

Local fire departments are the first responders, and always make their best efforts to deal with fires of any kind. But fires in brush, grass or forests pose a special challenge. First, it may take firefighters longer to find out about the fire if it starts in the woods or a field. They may not get a call until the fire is threatening homes.

Firefighter safety is the first priority when fighting any fire. Protecting your home from wildfire not only protects your home but firefighters.

The terms “wildfire” and “wildland fire” can be misleading when it comes to the chance that your home could be ignited by a fire that starts outside in brush, grass or woods.

With just the right conditions – a dry, hot, windy day – and an ignition source — a spark from a vehicle, machinery, or a carelessly tossed cigarette – your home could be in fire’s path faster than you might imagine.

Many recent wildfire affecting homes and communities have been in grassy areas.

An overwhelming number of brush, grass and forest fires are caused by people.

Lightning is a natural source of wildfire.

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