What is FireSmart?
FireSmart is living with and managing for wildfire on our landscape. It is an initiative designed to help home and property owners reduce the chance of their property being affected by wildfire. FireSmart activities such as tree thinning, clearing and pruning occur at a regional level around a community to help reduce the risk of a wildfire entering the community. FireSmart also involves simple actions a homeowner can do to their home and property to help decrease wildfire damage.
The greatest wildfire threats to homeowners are the transfer of wildfire from house to house (direct heat) and ignition from ember showers. An ember shower is when large embers are thrown from a wildfire and carried into the air. 50% of the homes burned from wildfires are started by sparks and embers. While FireSmart cannot totally remove the threat of damage from a wildfire, property loss can be significantly reduced by performing FireSmart activities.
Fire – it’s natural
Wildfires are an essential part of our ecosystem that aid in creating healthy, balanced forests. Wildfires recycle nutrients, help plants reproduce and create diverse habitats that benefit a variety of wildlife. By extending our lifestyle and communities further into forested areas our properties become more exposed to the danger of wildfire. Click here to read more.
In May 2011 wildfires tore through the Slave Lake Region devastating our communities through the loss of homes, businesses, and community facilities. In the Town of Slave Lake, 333 single family homes and 169 apartment units were destroyed as were 3 churches and 11 businesses. The government centre, which includes provincial offices, the Town Hall, and the library, was lost also. In the Municipal District #124, 56 homes and a fire hall were destroyed.
The FireSmart Committee will assist in implementing the philosophy, culture and practice of FireSmart in the Lesser Slave Lake Region. This includes working towards reducing regional risks from the threat of wildfire; promoting FireSmart concepts within stakeholder organizations; educating the public about FireSmart; and, working cooperatively to plan and prepare for effective response to future wildfire situations. Click here to read more.
The committee will also participate in wildfire threat assessment, FireSmart priority setting for communities within the Lesser Slave Lake Region and the development of wildfire mitigation strategies. The FireSmart Committee membership is comprised of:
- Town of Slave Lake
- Municipal District of Lesser Slave River
- Sawridge First Nation
- Wildfire Management Branch of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Agriculture and Forestry
- Forest Industry