People tend to think that because they live in an urban area, their home isn’t at risk from a wildfire.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Shaun Koopman, protective services coordinator for the Strathcona Regional District, especially when that urban area interfaces with the forest itself.
Despite living in essentially a rainforest here on Vancouver Island, the risk of wildfire is very real, Koopman says. That was proven just last week when one wildfire was sparked out near the Quinsam Coal mine and another broke out over on Read Island.
But you can mitigate the risk to your home by making it FireSmart, and the SRD, along with the City of Campbell River, are giving residents the chance to win a free assessment on their home.
Ten assessments will be done on ten residences, thanks to a grant received for the program earlier this year.
“Unfortunately, the FireSmart grant is only for education,” Koopman says. “It can’t fund any work that may be needed for homeowners to mitigate any risks to their property. Thankfully, most of the work that will likely be needed is either free or very low-cost. It’s mostly work that needs to be done anyway for aesthetic reasons, such as cleaning up yard debris, that kind of thing.
“But in my ideal world, the people who win these FireSmart assessments will invite all of their friends, family and neighbours over to participate in that so that the education can travel that much further, especially because if one home has a low FireSmart rating but all the ones around it are high, that doesn’t do the neighbourhood much good.”
Anyone interested in winning a free FireSmart assessment on their home has until Sunday to enter the draw by emailing Koopman with their name, address and contact number at email@example.com or by filling out a contest form at Strathcona Gardens, the Sportsplex or the Community Centre.
Those who don’t win, however, can still do an assessment themselves by picking up a copy of the FireSmart Assessment handbook at the Fire Hall, the SRD offices or other locations around town.
It’s a relatively straightforward process, it doesn’t take too long, either, and it’s very much worth it.