Port Moody Fire Department has purchased a $32,000 sprinkler system to keep wildland fires from engulfing north shore homes as it prepares for what could be another long, hot summer. “The threat of an urban interface fire is a very real possibility,” fire prevention officer Capt. Ralph Ungless told council Tuesday. The hills around PoMo already have a moderate fire risk rating, according to the B.C. Fire Protection Branch, which monitors risk and fires in the province. The return of warm weather means PoMo firefighters will soon have to patrol forest trails and step up a campaign to get residents to be more diligent about preventing and reporting fires, Ungless said. He said people should get rid of flammable items around their homes, such as dried evergreen needles, and make sure they don’t put bark mulch or hedges too close to their home. “A good fuel-free space gives a firefighter a chance to save a home,” Ungless said. The firefighters updated council on their summer firefighting strategy and presented a video of forest fires that burned 264,000 hectares in the Okanagan and B.C.’s interior in 2003. Much of PoMo’s north shore could also be in the line of fire if a blaze started in the mountains north of the city. But this year, the smoke-eaters have a new tool in their arsenal to fight fires. A mobile sprinkler system will soon be delivered that can be used to create a barrier of soaked earth to stop fires from spreading. In an interview following the meeting, PMFD training officer Gord Parker said the sprinklers will be placed in the path of a fire to soak the ground and buildings so burning embers don’t start fires on roofs and property. He said there will be two kits with 24 sprinkler heads and a portable water reservoir each. The system can cover between 15 and 25 structures. The sprinklers can also be deployed on one front while firefighters attack another. Forest fires often send burning debris as far as two kilometres away. “It frees up the guys so we can go from house to house,” Parker said, noting a similar system was used to save a lodge in the Lonesome Lake fire last year. Be prepared
Learn how to be prepared for an emergency or a disaster at a Port Coquitlam fair tomorrow (Sunday). You can get information on PoCo’s free community courses and neighbourhood programs, chat with emergency personnel and browse the displays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the fire hall located at 1725 Broadway St. Kids taking part in the fair will get a city pencil and a special family preparedness activity booklet. Free hot dogs and drinks will be served. For more information, call 604-927-5466 or visit the city’s website at www.portcoquitlam.ca.