As the Okanagan enjoys the heart of summer, the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) continues to emphasize the importance of integrating FireSmart practices into everyday life. The recent increase of wildfires within the Kamloops Fire Centre serves as a reminder that the wildfire threat is still ongoing and residents should take preventative actions before heading out of town for late-summer getaways.
"The potential impact of firebrands, airborne embers from wildfires, cannot be underestimated. These embers can travel substantial distances, posing ignition risks to homes far from the fire's epicenter. By adhering to FireSmart practices, we have the power to enhance our wildfire resilience and preserve our beloved Okanagan way of life," said Fire Chief Bill Wacey, BX-Swan Lake Fire Rescue.
To minimize the risk of embers igniting structures and enhance the wildfire resilience of our community, residents are advised to incorporate the following FireSmart guidelines into their vacation preparation routine:
- Seal the Fortress: Before departing, close all windows and doors securely. This simple action prevents firebrands from blowing into your home and setting the stage for potential ignition.
- Welcome Safety: Show your commitment to fire safety by removing flammable welcome mats and rugs from your doorstep. This small gesture makes a significant impact on reducing ignition risks.
- Clear the Way: Maintain clear gutters and roofs. By ridding these areas of debris, you decrease the chance of firebrands finding fuel for ignition.
- Store Smart: Safely store flammable materials like gasoline, propane tanks, and firewood. Keep them at a distance from your home to reduce fire hazards.
- Unite in Preparedness: Incorporate wildfire readiness into your family's emergency plan. Designate a meeting spot, share emergency contacts, and establish a communication strategy. Be aware of the official sources of information in the regions you vacation in.
"While summer progresses, our commitment to FireSmart practices must remain paramount. It's never too late to take proactive steps to safeguard our homes and update our going-away-checklists to defend against firebrands,” said Wacey.