One of the areas hit hardest during the 2017 wildfires in the Cariboo is being proactive to help its community prepare for the future.
On Tuesday, April 17 the Miocene Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a FireSmart session at the Miocene Community Hall and anyone is welcome to attend, said Captain Jason Ward who joined the department six months ago after moving to Rose Lake in the fall.
Last summer 10 homes and 26 structures were lost during the Spokin Lake/Miocene fire and many residents were on evacuation order or alert for from July 7 until Aug. 15.
Ward has been with other fire departments and has a fairly extensive wildfire background, he told the Tribune.
“I have taken over the forestry portion of the Miocene Fire Dept. and part of that is to build relationships with the Cariboo Fire Centre,” Ward said. “That’s why we’ve invited some of their staff to come out and do this education in our community. We are trying to build a relationship so they know us and we know them so that next time there’s an incident we will have that already.”
Ward is hoping people will attend the session in Miocene or be inspired to host something similar in their communities.
After the presentation, property owners can have a hazard assessment done under the principles of FireSmarting.
“There are bunch of categories that get checked and then it will give people a rating as to whether they have high or low hazards and what can be done to reduce the hazards,” Ward said. “We just got the ball rolling on this and received some support from the Miocene community, the Cariboo Fire Centre and the Cariboo Regional District.”
Ward moved to the Cariboo four years ago and was living in Borland Valley when the wildfires broke out on July 7.
“We had planned on purchasing our home at Rose Lake in July, but had to wait until September because of all the mayhem. After all was said and done, I felt obligated to join the hall once we were living out here because I had background working with other fire departments.”
It didn’t take long for the fire department to put him in charge of a few things, including educating locals about wildfires.
“We got approval from the recreation officer and the Cariboo Fire Centre to go adjacent to the Miocene Fire Hall to do some FireSmarting there to be able to use it as a visual tool for the community,” Ward said. “During the last month, we’ve been out doing as much underbrushing as we can and burning while we can to abate some of the fuels. We can also make it a safety zone for mustering for the next time an incident occurs.”
Cariboo Fire Centre information officer Jessica Mack confirmed she will be attending the session, along with Rory Colwell and Matt Sherlock.
It begins at 7 p.m. The Miocene Hall is located at 3511 Horsefly Road.