CANADA – Communities across Canada are organising a Wildfire Community Preparedness Day as part of a national effort to reduce wildfire risk to local communities.
Launched by FireSmart Canada, the programme offers advice on protecting properties, with measures such as the creation of non-combustible zones around houses and fire-resilient landscaping.
It has the backing of co-operative insurer The Co-operators, as well as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR). It is hoped this will help people protect themselves and their neigbourhoods from the 8,000 wildfires that break out in the country every year.
As part of the scheme, individuals, fire departments, organisations, community groups and municipalities will submit applications for CA $500 (£292) for projects to protect their communities from wildfire. Last year $60,500 (£35,415) was awarded to communities across the country. This year will see 150 groups receive $500 towards wildfire prevention and preparedness efforts.
“It is encouraging to see people across the country getting together to make their homes and communities safer,” said Ray Ault, executive director of FireSmart Canada.
“Managing wildfire risk is a shared responsibility and today the spotlight is on individual property owners and communities. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day projects show that simple things like clearing brush and moving combustible material away from your home can make a real difference in protecting your home and property.”
The Co-operators has been a partner of NFPA and FireSmart Canada since 2014, helping to lead wildfire resiliency efforts across the country.
“As wildfire seasons become longer and more severe, it is important that Canadians are aware of the actions they can take to help mitigate their risk,” said Maya Milardovic, AVP of government relations at The Co-operators. “Through this funding, we are empowering communities to come together to take proactive steps to make their communities safer and more resilient.”
Communities have until 17 January to apply for funding, which they can use to host Wildfire Community Preparedness Day events between May and October.