Next week, don't be alarmed if you get a visit at your doorstep from firefighters and safety ambassadors.
A new wildfire-prevention program, thanks to a combined $496,900 provincial economic recovery grant for four Tri-City communities in July 2021, is launching to educate local residents on how to better protect their homes.
BC FireSmart ambassadors are going to door-to-door in the "wildland-urban interface" areas of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra.
According to an earlier statement to the Tri-City News, roughly 5,000 properties are in line with forests and nature and can be a cause for concern should a big blaze be ignited.
"Property owners can play an important role in reducing the risk to their homes and neighbourhoods, such as by removing potential fuel sources and choosing fire-resistant building materials," explained Coquitlam fire chief Jim Ogloff in a release.
Ogloff also noted property owners don't have to follow ambassadors' advice, but said financial support is available for those aged 65 and older who want to make any changes. The ultimate goal is to reduce property risk in a cost-effective way.
"FireSmart Ambassadors will be canvassing at-risk neighbourhoods over the next four months to provide information about wildfire prevention and to offer free property assessments by a trained FireSmart representative, who will identify wildfire risks and measures to reduce them."
Part of the near-$500,000 recovery fund is being put toward six jobs, including four part-time Port Coquitlam student FireSmart educators to run programs focused on outreach and facilitating hazard assessments.
The other two positions are based in Coquitlam:
- A full-time one-year FireSmart coordinator to establish an outreach program and help ensure cooperation between the various parties through a program charter and information-sharing
- A full-time six-month Local FireSmart Representative to conduct assessments of homes and critical infrastructure in all four sub-regions, and support education and community outreach, including workshops and identifying neighbourhood champions