Vulnerable homeowners in areas threatened by wildfire can access free FireSmart advice and support from a government- funded job creation project supported by the United Way.
A group of trained people are currently working in the Barriere area to help seniors and persons with disabilities become FireSmart by preparing and protecting their homes from the threat of wildfires. This includes educating people about how to make their homes and property safer and removing vegetation that can fuel a wildfire. To promote safety for people and communities, homeowners will also receive fire prevention materials and a resource list for assistance and support.
The project, originally scheduled to end in April 2019, has been extended to meet community needs and to provide more job seekers with more opportunities.
“Connecting people with new skills and opportunities is part of our government’s focus on creating good jobs,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Community-driven projects like this one benefit participants, communities and the labour market, while creating a safer environment.”
The project provides extensive training in the formal FireSmart assessment process. The Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way offers this service for free so people in wildfire-prone parts of the province have help protecting their home from potential fire threats. The crews also remove possible dangers, known as fire fuels, such as bushes, small trees or other organic matter, and provide information on how homeowners can further protect their property.
What will the Fire Mitigation Crew do?
The crew comes in and does a fire assessment of your property to identify areas where your home may be at- risk. The assessment covers 11 different catagories in three different zones, covering everything from the materials used to build your home, to the location and type of vegetation on your property. You will also receive a copy of your assessment.
The crew will do some of the mitigation activities for you such as:
• Moving woodpiles and relocating flammable materials to a safer distance
• Clearing dead organic waste from your property
• Basic landscaping maintenance (pruning trees and shrubs of their dead limbs, removing tall grasses, etc.)
• Clearing gutters
Crews will also provide recommendations and information on how to have other activities such as tree removal and thinning, or roof replacement done.
Who is eligible for Fire Mitigation work?
This project is directed specifically towards seniors and community members facing mobility and/or mental health barrieres who have difficulty or are unable to complete the activities themselves.
How much will it cost?
There is no cost for the service if you meet the eligibility requirements. Unfortunately at this time, the service is not available for those who are not eligible.
How do you sign up?
Contact the Fire Mitigation Supervisor in your area if you are interested, or know someone who may benefit from this service.
To contact the Fire Mitigation Project Supervisors in this area: Barriere: Sarah Dewey at 250-571-0602 or email: sarah@ unitedwaytnc.ca Clearwater: Robert Peel at 250-674-1479 or email: robert@ unitedwaytne.ca, or Dwayne Braaten at 250-674-7752 or email: 250-674-7752