Work on making SilverStar Mountain a FireSmart community continues.
An introductory presentation will be held at the Star’s National Altitude Training Centre Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. with Davies Wildfire Management representative Brandy Maslowski on hand to facilitate the program.
“Our community will reap the benefits,” said SilverStar community activist Norm Crerar. “Brandy will talk about how it takes a village to keep our homes safe but it all starts with the little things each resident can do on their own property.”
Crerar said SilverStar has been working on mitigating the risk of wildfire for the past few years without a lot of headway being made.
A study originating with the forestry branch of Tourism BC dates back to 2010 and identifies the fuel load areas that need extensive mitigation work and with a two-to-three year time period to get it done. To date, a fraction of this has been accomplished by SilverStar Mountain Resort operations manager Brad Baker and his outdoor crew with a landscape level fire break that stretches from the waste transfer station to the west of the village all the way around to Cloud Nine on the south.
However, the past two summers, said Crerar, have been too hot and dry to finish the job.
“There is also a two-year-old a plan in place to fireproof the community and to date, some property owners have taken the Canada FireSmart manual to heart and have cleaned out the wooded areas of their property and put sprinklers on their roofs,” said Crerar. “A community chipping program headed by Denys Lawrence made a start this past fall and set an example. It is time for this community to step up and change gears. The devastating fires in California this fall should be a wake-up call to all of us.”
The BX Swan Lake Fire Rescue has a role to play as it is in a mutual aid agreement with the SilverStar Fire Department. The BX Fire Rescue Structure Protection Equipment (SPU) and specially trained officers and firefighter have been deployed around the province over the past five years and is the leading fire department in the province in structure protection in the face of wildfires.
BX Swan Lake Chief Bill Wacey will be in attendance as will some of his officers, along with members of the Silver Star Fire Department. Wacey invites any property owners in regional district Area C, residing in and above the Foothills, to join the Silver Star Mountain Community at the seminar.
Regional District of North Okanagan protective services manager Alastair Crick has obtained a small grant to help SilverStar become recognized as a FireSmart community.
The grant will cover the costs of a field hazard assessment, a fire history analysis and the community FireSmart education and plan.
The takeaways from the presentation Dec. 12, said Crerar, are:
· Learn about the FireSmart program;
· Learn how to assess your home’s wildfire risk;
· Learn what you can do to reduce your hazard;
· Meet your neighbours;
· Form a FireSmart Community Team.
Visit www.firesmartcanada.ca for more information on what you can do to keep your home safe.