BC has endured a long summer of wildfires and data from the province shows that this season is the third-worst year ever in terms of the total area burned. To put it into perspective, 1 hectare is approximately two-and-a-half times the size of an average football field and over 889813 hectares were burned in BC. Wildfires are and will continue to be a natural and necessary ecological disturbance in our forests.

It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to manage our individual properties to reduce the wildfire risk to our homes and our community. As we begin to settle into the fall season and prepare for winter, it’s a great time to think about what you can do to FireSmart your home now and start planning for next summer. Taking action to FireSmart your property will dramatically decrease the risk of wildfire damaging your home. The best part is, it’s surprisingly easy to do.

Here are some tips to get started:
• FireSmart sheds and other outbuildings within 10 metres of your home to the same standards as your home.
• Keep combustible materials and vegetation a minimum of 3 metres from propane tanks.
• Move firewood and lumber 10 metres away from your home, or store in an ember resistant structure.
• Prune trees to create a 2 metre clearance from the ground to the lowest branches.
• Add non-combustible 3 mm screens to external vents (except dryer vents).
• Reduce the flammability of your landscaping and keep grass/weeds cut below 10 cm.
• Clean and maintain gutters and roofs. Keep decks and balconies clear of leaves and debris.
• Clean under your deck to remove any combustible material and create a non-combustible surface.
• Establish a 1.5 metre non-combustible zone around the perimeter of the house and deck.

The AFBS offers a few programs in partnership with FireSmart BC.
The FireSmart Neighbourhood Recognition Program aims to get neighbours working together to reduce risk and you can even get national recognition. Getting this status not only ensures your neighbourhood is prepared, but it can also be a great way to spend time with others in your community.
The FireSmart Home Partners Program is designed to engage homeowners in voluntary mitigation activities by offering a free professional home assessment and report by the AFBS for your Apex property. This assessment evaluates a home for wildfire exposure in their unique risk and ways to reduce it.
The free 65+ FireSmart Yard Clean-Up and Chipping Program is for property owners age 65 years and up. Sign up for a free FireSmart Home Partners Program assessment. The AFBS crew will undertake assessments, mitigate your yard, and chip and haul vegetation for you.
By Donation FireSmart Curbside Chipping Program is for property owners under 65 years of age. Sign up for a free FireSmart Home Partners Program assessment. Do the work that is recommended in the report. Follow the directions for piling your vegetation curbside and the AFBS crew will chip and haul your vegetation by donation.

If you have any questions, would like to learn more, or would like to sign up for the FireSmart Home Partners Program, visit the Apex Fire Rescue website or they can be directed to your local FireSmart representative Graeme Lindsay at firesmart@apexfirerescue.ca.