Education important for FireSmart residents in Golden

Property owners in and around Golden should be aware of wildfire risks associated with living in forested areas, and FireSmart is working to ensure the public is educated and has a plan in case of fire threats this year and moving forward.

The FireSmart committee aims to make residents aware that Golden and Area A is a forested community, there are wildfire risks involved in the area, and there are steps residents can take to make sure their family and property are prepared in case of an emergency situation.

Community volunteers came together on March 19 to host the first FireSmart committee meeting in Golden, discussing the purpose of creating a fire smart community through public awareness around hazards that exist, emergency preparedness, and providing the community with tools to become FireSmart.

“There are other things you need to be aware of, like, do you live on a dead end street? That might mean you have to leave earlier,” said community volunteer Denise English. “Not being prepared in advance is too late.”

Previously, volunteers conducted a survey in Area A and Golden, that gathered the results of 66 respondents. A majority of the respondents said they lived within 30 metres of a forest, owned animals, and wanted to learn more about FireSmart. In Area A, 48 per cent of respondents live on a dead end road, which could mean they would have to take extra measures to ensure they were evacuated safely in the event of an emergency.

Next, the committee has decided to host two FireSmart presentations that will include 45 to 50 minutes of presentations, followed by questions. Each presentation will be hosted in Golden and Area A. The group hopes to have Golden Fire Rescue Chief Dave Balding, with Ken and Becky Leonty from the Nicholson Fire Department to speak about FireSmart assessment, along with other speakers who will discuss provincial perspectives, and Golden and Area A emergency programs.

The FireSmart committee hopes to educate residents about the importance of preparedness and safety before the wildfire season begins. Already, the B.C. Wildfire Service has noted a 7.2 hectare fire at St. Mary’s reserve, which is under control, and two fires near Chase that are 100 and 200 hectares in size.

READ MORE: Small wildfire reported outside Cranbrook

“You can’t do something like that at the last minute,” English said about educating people about being FireSmart. “We’re not going to be able to educate our community about being FireSmart and fire prepared when there’s smoke in the air.”

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