Keremeos' Virtual Wildfire Preparedness Day!

It is always the right time of year to be FireSmart! 

The Union of BC Municipalities granted funding to Keremeos in 2020 for numerous FireSmart projects including a Wildfire Preparedness Day. The Village worked with Frontline Operations Group, a team of forestry professionals and educators, to implement the project. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was not possible to hold an in-person Wildfire Preparedness Day so all the information about the projects and how to be FireSmart is presented here. 

A FireSmart Demonstration Project took place on the Village office property including removal of conifers (very flammable!) in close proximity to the building, thinning of cactus, and replanting of new deciduous plants. The building now meets FireSmart recommendations and will have signage demonstrating ideal plants for a FireSmart environment. Please feel free to tour the new gardens and take home ideas!

For more FireSmart planting suggestions, browse the FireSmart Guide to Landscaping

The Village of Keremeos is also pleased to announce that the Sykes Crescent Neighbourhood has received recognition as a FireSmart neighbourhood. They have formed a FireSmart Committee, had an educational presentation, met several times and have undertaken FireSmart activities such as trimming, thinning and removal of coniferous trees in close proximity to homes. A FireSmart neighbourhood sign for their street will be posted in the near future.

Please contact the Village Office if you're interested in making your neighbourhood part of the FireSmart Community.

Why are FireSmart initiatives important for Keremeos? 

Many will remember that a wildfire rained embers on Keremeos in 2018. Keremeos immediately increased wildfire preparedness efforts, including applying for assistance through grants. Mayor Manfred Bauer comments in this interview.

Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer feels that wildfire resiliency is a priority. “Our goal is zero home loss, period. Resiliency starts within the first 10 M surrounding your home. Forest mitigation alone doesn’t help if the homes are not FireSmart. This is a community resiliency project. We have the funding and the passion to keep our community safe, so now it’s time to take action” 

What you can do

Watch for FireSmart information and announcements from the Village and share them with your friends and neighbours. Watch the full FireSmart video and learn what you can do to FireSmart your own property and take action. Take action by removing conifers within 1.5 metres of your home and by trimming lower limbs of conifers within 10metres of your home. Small actions can make a big difference!

Five FireSmart Facts!

  1. No amount of forest mitigation in surrounding forest areas will protect your home if your property is not FireSmart.
    • 90% of homes with non-flammable roofs and 10 metres of FireSmart clearance will survive a major wildfire.
    • Home ignition occurs when wildfire embers or flames kindle vulnerable parts of the structure.
    • Something as small as a sisal mat or decorative driftwood can put your home at risk.
  2. Your best protection is prevention and your best tool is the FireSmart program.
    • Read the FireSmart Homeowner’s manual and download the FireSmart app.
    • Read the FireSmart Guide to Landscaping and review your plants.
    • Do the home hazard checklist to decide which actions to take first to become.
    • FireSmart!
  3. The science behind FireSmart principles is indisputable.
    • It is based on the National Fire Protection (NFPA) standards and has evolved over 40 years.
    • It is backed by a vast amount of field and laboratory research.
    • FireSmart methods have been demonstrated time and time again to reduce the risk of losses, under even the most extreme fire conditions.
  4. We are not asking you to clear cut your property!
    • Remove combustible plants and materials right down to the bare mineral soil in the 1.5 M critical zone adjacent to your home. 
    • Landscape with low-density, fire-resistant deciduous plants and shrubs within the 10M zone.
    • Remove, space out, or trim conifers outside the 10M zone to ensure there are no ladder fuels.
  5. There are KEY actions you can take today to make your home ember safe.
    • Firewood can be stored near the home during winter but moved outside the 10M zone during the wildfire season.
    • Remove conifers within the 10 M zone and replace them with deciduous trees and plants.
    • Keep lawns mowed and watered and move all flammables outside the 10M zone.