This week, we had good news on the wildfire front, with some of the smaller fires burning in the SLRD now out, and BC Wildfire Service crews making good progress on the ones that remain. We were also able to lift the evacuation order for residents at Lillooet Lake Estates and Heather Jean Properties which was issued due to a debris flow risk. The smoky sky that enveloped the Pemberton area last week has once again cleared. Our thoughts are with the firefighters and residents affected by fires elsewhere.
In the midst of these events, pandemic awareness and basic safety precautions have become woven into the fabric of our ordinary daily routines. We continue to pivot in all areas of our lives – how we conduct our working lives, how our children will return to school, how we will continue to connect with our friends and loved ones, how we can relax, unwind and play while keeping ourselves and others safe from this disease.
This is an uncomfortable time, a time of a low rumbling constant uncertainty about what the future holds. This is also a time where resilience is on display everywhere in how we have and are adapting our lives. Resilience is built through discomfort, through engaging with the experience of being overwhelmed and out of our depth.
Alongside the pandemic, we are still in wildfire season and we can build resilience to wildfire by engaging with the uncomfortable possibility of a fire in our community, and taking steps to improve our safety and the chances of our homes surviving a blaze.
I’m sure that by now you have heard of FireSmart, a program built on partnerships between government, industry and homeowners, an aspect of which is sharing knowledge about how homeowners can best protect their homes in the event of a wildfire. The resources are free, numerous, and are regularly updated at: firesmartbc.ca. There are some simple ideas that many people can do for themselves, including:
- Clean out your gutters - make sure there are no dead leaves or small twigs or other flammable material.
- Clear up dead branches on the ground close to your house.
- Make sure that you have hoses and sprinklers readily available.
- Remove juniper bushes that are planted next to your house as these are especially flammable.
While you are thinking about your property, what about a thought for your neighbours? Do you have a neighbour who cannot do things for themselves? An older person or perhaps someone with a disability? How about stopping by to help them, or if you would like to organize a community FireSmart day with your neighbours, contact the SLRD to discuss how we may be able to assist with things like:
- a bin for green waste or other equipment rental.
- providing education materials and advice from qualified professionals on the day.
- publicizing your event.
Once you’ve done your FireSmarting (or now), be in the know if a wildfire or other hazard threatens your community by signing up to the free SLRD Emergency Notification System – the SLRD ALERT.
We used this system last week to notify those affected by the Evacuation Alert, and then the Evacuation Order, and when the Evacuation Order was lifting – directly to people’s email, cell phones and voicemail. Find out more, and sign up, on our website: www.slrd.bc.ca/alert
SLRD Board Chair