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Important FireSmartTM information:

At the heart of the Columbia Valley, our community enjoys its hot and dry summers and is surrounded by beautiful coniferous forests. Yet, these delights put us at risk of wildfires which can propagate fast, especially if coinciding with strong wind events.

As such, the District of Invermere supports the development of a local FireSmart program that follows the recommendations of FireSmart BC. Residents and homeowners are encouraged to take simple steps to become FireSmart, and resources are available to support them through the process. Our FireSmart Coordinator is available to engage with community members, share information about the FireSmart principles and support the residents and homeowners in their FireSmart work.

News and Updates

Fuel management at CastleRock Estates

Fuel management at CastleRock Estates A local contracting crew is conducting hand-pile burning along Westside Rd, Monday November 1st and continuing through the week, weather permitting. This [...]

Why FireSmart?

In recent years, we have seen some of the most devastating wildfires in history. Let’s face it; we never know what the next wildfire season will bring us. What we know is that those who fought fires witnessed something we can’t ignore: most of the homes that survived did so for a simple reason. They were prepared. FireSmart is simple and drastically reduces the property’s risk of damage caused by wildfire.

Because the homes that are prepared are the homes left standing, homeowners can make a difference. During a major wildfire, the Fire Department can’t provide every person and home with individual protection. You are responsible for your home’s fire safety, and together we can make our community more resilient to wildfires.

Where to start?

You can take simple steps to protect your home and strengthen your community.

Too busy? You don’t need to do everything at once! Anything is better than nothing.

  1. Understand the threat to better fight it and use this to your advantage to FireSmart your home. The FireSmart BC homeowner manual will guide you through it.
  2. Talk to your neighbour about FireSmart.

Home to home ignition contributes to carrying a wildfire through a neighbourhood or community. The more adjacent properties are FireSmart; the lesser is the risk in the area.

Once you have been through mitigating the risk on your property, share your experience with your neighbours. Helping them also enhances the protection of your own home.

  1. Get recognized. The FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition program recognizes neighbourhoods that have taken critical steps to reduce their vulnerabilities to wildfire. Because FireSmart is most effective when neighbours band together.

Interested? Become a neighbourhood champion and contact the local FireSmart Coordinator for information and make a plan.

Tip: Recognized FireSmart Neighbourhood’s sizes are variable – they can be grand like CastleRock Estates or as modest as a cul-de-sac, depending on the area.

Important links

Important links – Current information

BC Wildfires:

Emergencies in BC, including evacuation alerts and orders:

Did you know?

There are a few Recognized FireSmart Neighbourhoods in the Valley and over 100 across BC.

Watch the inspiring stories of CastleRock Estates, Shuswap Band and Rushmere. Join the wave and get your neighbourhood recognized by contacting your FireSmart Coordinator.

Are you not convinced? Listen to Logan Lake’s Fire Chief about his town facing the Tremont Creek wildfire during summer 2021. Logan Lake was Canada’s First FireSmart Community in 2013.

There is a free FireSmart 101 course

FireSmart Canada has developed a free one-hour course for those getting started with FireSmart and wanting to learn more.

50% of the homes burned from wildfires are ignited by sparks or embers

Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and vegetation that can be carried through the wind for more than two kilometres. They can cause spot fires and ignite homes, debris and other objects.

Watch the effect of embers on a home that is not prepared for a wildfire with this simulation:

There is a Podcast!

The Get FireSmart Podcast is a place to hear powerful stories and learn valuable lessons from FireSmart leaders. The nine episodes range from 30 to 60 minutes and explore various topics, from practical tips around the home to the fascinating science behind wildfire prevention.

Available on Spotify and Apple and Google podcasts.

Preparing for wildfire doesn’t mean removing all the trees

To make your property FireSmart while also enjoying a vegetated landscape is possible. The type and species, the position relative to your house and the density of plants and trees simply need to be considered.

Some vegetation is more prone to combustion, and one typical example that we find in abundance here are the highly flammable Juniper trees. Replacing them with fire-resistant plants or trees is a great way to address this threat. For that purpose, the FireSmart BC Guide to Landscaping is a great resource adapted to the ecosystems we find in our province.

To have vegetation at a safe position and density relative to your home, refer to the FireSmart BC homeowner manual. There, you will find information on identifying and dealing with the excess vegetation around your home.

Over the years, the wildfire threat rose around our community. There is more to it than just climate change

Historically, the fire cycles maintained the grassland habitat and forest’s health and diversity of plants and wildlife. A history of aggressive and highly effective wildfire suppression has resulted in a significant build-up of forest fuels, greater tree encroachment on grasslands and ‘in-filling’ of once open, dry forests. This has increased the risk of devastating wildfires and negatively impacted biodiversity and forest health. In addition, the growth of our town brought developments further in the forested areas, where a dense forest now surrounds properties.

In response, numerous forest management projects around the communities, like you may observe in the perimeter of CastleRock Estates, are conducted to decrease fuel overload and reduce the wildfire risk in the wildland-urban interface. Prescribed burns are another type of forest restoration and fuel management.

Photo of the Columbia Valley from Parks Canada, Conserving and restoring ecosystems page. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/kootenay/nature/conservation/prairie-grassland

Contact

The District of Invermere FireSmart program is based at the Invermere Fire Hall.

For questions on FireSmart in Invermere, to request a free home assessment, become a Neighbourhood Champion or organize FireSmart events, email FireSmart@invermere.net or call 250-342-3200 ext.1303.

The Columbia Basin Trust supports the Invermere FireSmart program

FireSmart, Intelli-feu and other associated marks are trademarks of Partners in Protection Association.