FireSmart: Reduce Your Wildfire Risk
Wildfires are a natural, and necessary, component for ecological growth; fire dependent tree species, like the Ponderosa pine, rely on the heat to open and release seeds for regeneration. Wildfires become problematic when they enter into the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and interfere with a community’s infrastructure, air quality and ability to thrive.
In BC, almost half of the wildfires are unnecessarily human-caused. While wildfires can travel from forest or grassland areas to homes and business within the community, they can also start within the community, along highways and back roads, and move to the backcountry.
It is often the wall of flame (direct heat) that concerns most people; however, it is the embers (unburned fuels that get picked up in the wind and carried ahead of the fire) that can create a taxing situation on our fire suppression resources, because of their travel distance and spread, which cause spot fires along the way. It is for this reason that we must focus our attentions on reducing ignition spots around our home/business to help prevent property loss.
To best understand how embers can become problematic for the average home, checkout this IBHS Research Center Ember Storm video below:
No area in Merritt is free from wildfire risk.
The City of Merritt actively works towards fuel reduction through new fuel reduction prescriptions and maintaining older projects as required. However, no amount of work made by the City of Merritt negates the efforts that are required by residents and business owners. It takes the community as a whole, working together, to reduce fire risk. By using FireSmart principles we can mitigate our risk and work towards protecting our beautiful community.
Understanding your risk, is the first element to better preparing for the potential hazards that exist. The City of Merritt Community Wildfire Protection Plan (2015) contains a framework to assist in improving safety and to reduce the risk of damage to property. You can also wildfire threat levels on the provincial wildfire risk class assessment map, from BC Wildfire Service.