"Fire adapted communities are knowledgeable, engaged communities where actions of residents and agencies in relation to infrastructure, buildings, landscaping and the surrounding ecosystem lessen the need for extensive protection actions and enable the communities to safely accept fire as part of the surrounding landscape."
Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative (SIFCo) is delivering the Slocan Valley Wildfire Resiliency Program (SVWRP) on behalf of the villages of Slocan, Silverton and New Denver. The first year of the program is focussed on developing a comprehensive long term strategy towards becoming more fire resilient. At the core of the program, the seven FireSmart disciplines play an active and important role in supporting the long term goal of becoming fire adapted as communities.
LANDSCAPE LEVEL PLANNING
Landscape Fire Planning and Management is an integrated approach that fully recognizes and considers the risks of wildland fire in resource management decisions at all levels. Landscape-level planning is based on the concepts of landscape ecology (which includes fire), the study of how biota, materials and energy exist and flow within landscapes. Different strategic options may include: fuel reduction, strategic fuel breaks and use of different forest types that resist wildfires.
Humans are part of the planetary landscape and our impacts on natural patterns are now key factors that influence how landscapes function. As we continue our path towards a more fire adapted community, recognizing and understanding the place that wildfire has within the broader forest management discussion will improve the overall effectiveness of the wildfire reduction mitigation strategies.
In the summer/fall (2019), as part of our strategic planning towards becoming fire adapted communities, we hosted 2 day long Wildfire Resiliency Open House events within the municipalities.
This included a combined event for Silverton and New Denver, and another event for Slocan area residents.
The aim of these public outreach events was to educate and inform the local community on how their efforts to improve the safety of their home/land are linked to a wider range of wildfire reduction strategies. To view the details of our past events click here
Other activities that will take place over the next years will include a sub-regional FireSmart Planning Table that will look into our current emergency preparedness action plan and propose recommendations for improvement.
Since SIFCo began its mission to make our community safer from wildfire risk by investing in Wildland-Urban Interface management, a total of over 4 million dollars have been invested and close to 570 hectares of land have been treated in the Slocan Valley. We hope to expand and carry on this work in the years to come.
For 2020-21 SIFCo will be working with the three Villages, Columbia Basin Trust and FESBC continuing our work of implementing our Slocan Valley Strategic Landscape Level Wildfire Protection Plan, the first of its kind in BC.
FIRE SMART PROGRAM
A key component to becoming a Fire Adapted Community is to participate in the FireSmart Canada Program.
FireSmart Canada has a range of activities and educational material that can support and engage homeowners to participate in voluntary wildfire mitigation activities.
These activities range from offering individual home assessments with property-specific recommendations to supporting neighborhood efforts aimed at further reducing wildfire risk to residential properties, while building community and wildfire awareness.
If you are a home owner and would like a free home or land assessment in order to help you in making your property more FireSmart, please do not hesitate to contact us.
FireSmart BC is a committee formed by provincial fire prevention organizations to facilitate greater direction and integration of the seven FireSmart ® disciplines across the province of British Columbia based on the FireSmart Canada model.
PRIVATE LAND OWNERS
Getting private Land owners engaged early on is key to the overall success of the bigger goal of better community fire resiliency, therefore we will continue in our development of a comprehensive program for Private Land holders that will include ways to make it easier for land holders to participate (for example rebates, curb side debris pick up and chipping services).
LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS
A huge part of being a Fire Adapted community involves close communication with local fire departments. We have been developing a relationship with our local fire departments and will continue to do so to help increase readiness in the event of interface wildfires.
Critical infrastructure is a great concern when it comes to the threat of wildfire. We are currently reviewing our structural protection capacities within the Slocan Valley and will host cross-jurisdictional meetings to increase emergency preparedness.
MITIGATION SERVICE PROVIDERS
Over the years the demand for our private land wildfire mitigation services has grown exponentially and so we are beginning a Local Recruitment Program for both Local FireSmart representatives and Wildfire Mitigation Specialists.
To complement assessment recommendations we are also developing a local Wildfire Mitigation Service Providers resource list for the Slocan Valley.
This list will include trained Wildfire Mitigation Specialists, certified arborists, and local suppliers where equipment and material can be purchased from knowledgeable staff.
If you are interested in learning more about either of these programs feel free to contact us for more information.