Revelstoke residents are encouraged to attend wildfire FireSmart sessions to learn how to prepare their properties before this fire season, which is forecast to be drier and hotter than usual.
The May 26–28 sessions will also provide Revelstoke residents the opportunity to review a new draft fuel break plan for the community, part of ongoing wildfire management planning in Revelstoke.
Consultant Cindy Pearce explained the new fire break design maps out existing fuel breaks around Revelstoke — such as roadways, hydro lines, and ski runs on Mount Mackenzie — and also proposes some new ones. The gaps in forest cover are used as defensive barriers in the event of a wildfire.
Significant wildfires are underway in B.C., and the 2015 season is shaping up to be a hot one. According to a B.C. forests ministry snow survey and water supply report published in early May, 18 of 22 regions in B.C. had lower than average snowpack this winter, and seven had record low snowpack, including the West Kootenay (67%), the East Kootenay (46%), and the Okanagan (57%).
Environment Canada is forecasting “a very high likelihood” of above normal temperatures over the May to July period across B.C., particularly for the coastal and southeastern areas of the province.
Pearce encouraged residents to take measures now, especially people with forested properties, or those near forested areas. The steps can include reducing vegetation around structures, moving firewood away from your home, or brushing your property.
Pearce said that although wildfire crews are based in Revelstoke, a busy fire season means they are usually deployed elsewhere to drier parts of B.C. by the time Revelstoke’s wetbelt forest dries out in late August to October.
“We have a difficult time getting any resources,” Pearce said. “Anyone who watched in 2003, what happened here, it was difficult to get resources for fires … that’s the difficulty. It’s not really fair to count on the wildfire fighters to be able to protect your property if you haven’t done your part to FireSmart it.”
The 7 p.m. meetings are at the Coast Hillcrest on May 26, the Nordic Ski Lodge on May 27 and the Sutton Place Hotel on May 28.
To learn more about ongoing wildfire interface planning in Revelstoke, click on the play button on the SoundCloud app below to hear our interview with Cindy Pearce.