According to Fire Chief Jim Ogloff, thanks to thousands of dollars in grants, the city can now focus on mitigating risks in the most vulnerable neighborhoods.
It has been almost 15 years since Coquitlam made any updates to its wildfire action plan.
Now, after witnessing one of the worst seasons in British Columbia history – which saw the village of Lytton destroyed by a raging fire and intense heat – city officials have rallied to document a new community forest fire resilience plan thanks to several funds granted last year. .
In a press release, Coquitlam Fire Chief Jim Ogloff said the plan meets the needs of the community, as there are approximately 5,000 residences along the northeastern sector that border the forest, lands wilderness and green spaces.
“Some activities of the plan are already underway and others will be rolled out over the next two to five years,” he explained.
âCoquitlam Fire / Rescue (CFR) works year round on the prevention and response to forest interface fires, including planning, education and training. homes in the interface areas between the region’s wilderness and urban areas this fall. “
A consultant was hired to work with a multi-ministerial committee to outline the plan and submitted 43 recommendations for the city to focus on forest fire mitigation and prevention.
Sharing resources and information with neighboring communities is a point to remember as it coordinates a collective response to any potential fire.
The other items included in the release are:
- Continue to educate and involve the community in FireSmart activities, including direct outreach with homes in the Wildlands interface
- Integrate FireSmart principles into policies, neighborhood plans and park plans
- Prepare for wildfires through inter-agency planning and training with BC Wildfire Service, Metro Vancouver, BC Parks and others
- Manage forest fuels in high risk locations, including parks and green spaces
In July, Coquitlam received a portion of a joint provincial FireSmart economic stimulus fund of nearly $ 500,000 to create jobs as educators, in-depth property assessments and public education.
The money was split between the city, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra.
In February, Coquitlam received an additional $ 50,000 from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) to help implement the FireSmart principles as part of its forest fire emergency planning.
Ogloff provided the following tips to residents living near wooded areas and green spaces:
- Keep combustible materials at least 1.5 meters from the house and piles of firewood at least 10 meters
- Keep your home’s roof and gutters free of pine leaves and needles, and trim any branches that hang down from the roof
- Choose fireproof vegetation and space it out to avoid a continuous line of vegetation leading to the house
- Remove all dead / dry vegetation and prune tree branches two to three meters above the ground
- Choose non-combustible roofing, building and landscaping materials;
- Know where the gas, electricity and water cuts are in your home
- Have a fire escape plan in place
For more information on preparing homes for potential forest fires, we encourage you to visit the city’s website.