FireSmart proponent Darren Hutchinson introduced the fire prevention program to a small

FireSmart initiative underway in West Boundary

Residents to join forces in fireproofing homes using the federal FireSmart program.

With recent catastrophic fire events comes the sober realization that most of us need to become more diligent about protecting our homes and properties from wildfires. The program known as FireSmart provides expert advice on how to make our houses and land secure in the event of fire by taking some fairly simple steps.

This was the message delivered by Bridesville-based Quintech Fire Services principal Darren Hutchinson to a group of West Boundary residents last Tuesday at a meeting to kick-off the planned FireSmart initiative in the region. Joined by Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Area E director Vicki Gee, Hutchinson briefly explained the foundation of the federal initiative and described the ease with which the neighbouring Anarchist Mountain community attained its FireSmart Canada Community status, the result of residents joining forces for a weekend and clearing brush, trimming trees and taking other simple steps to prevent a wildfire from reaching their homes.

Hutchinson arrived at the meeting armed with binders to distribute to any members of eighteen separate “communities” (eg Hulme Creek Rd, Westrbridge to Beaverdell, Rock Creek Bridesville Rd.) who attended the meeting. Each binder contained a detailed check list that is used to assess a property’s ability to survive a wild fire. The list includes roofing type (shakes are the least desirable), proximity of trees to a dwelling (minimum 10 metres is recommended) and other “common sense” factors which many residents likely overlooked prior to the Rock Creek fire. Residents are being encouraged to form work groups within their designated areas and assist one another in the FireSmart initiative, which will officially get underway at the first training session on Feb. 20 at 9am at the Rock Creek Fairgound pavilion. All area residents are welcome to attend.