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Working on summer home renos? Coquitlam's fire chief says think ahead

The city's current fire rating is low, but even the littlest of sparks from a construction or landscaping project could ignite a potential blaze.
Coquitlam fire chief Jim Ogloff advises homeowners to take every precautionary step in preventing a potential fire when conducting renovations this summer.

Outdoor home improvements are a popular activity among Coquitlam property owners every summer.

But whether that's uprooting the front and back yards, upgrading the roof or building a gazebo, the city is reminding everyone to take all precautions necessary to avoid starting a fire.

"There are a number of steps that homeowners can take during home and property renovations to help prevent a fire during hot, drier summer months, and to ensure their properties, and our community, remain safe," says Coquitlam Fire Rescue chief Jim Ogloff in a statement.

"All homeowners should consult local bylaws and registered covenants on the use of materials and design approaches prior to building construction."

Coquitlam currently has a low fire rating, as of this publication (July 13), meaning the risk of a big blaze is minimal as temperatures hover around the mid-20s.

However, with humidity, the mercury could rise up to 30 C as early as tomorrow (July 14).

There are also no local burning bans in effect — though residents could receive a $500 fine for smoking in public parks — and starting noon on Friday (July 15), the Coastal Fire Centre is prohibiting categories 2 and 3 open fires until Oct. 28.

This includes fireworks, sky lanterns, air curtain burners and binary exploding targets, among others.

Preventing renovation fires

Ogloff lists the following tips to reduce the risk of sparking a fire while conducting construction or landscaping projects on local properties:


  • Ensure adequate fire protection is provided during construction
    • Includes hot-works safety practices during welding, roofing and plumbing installations
    • Construction fire safety plans required
  • When replacing a roof...
    • Concrete tile, slate, metal and terra-cotta are fire-resistant rated materials that may provide additional protection
  • Construct decks with non-combustible or fire-resistant materials
    • Cover with solid surfaces as opposed to slotted surfaces that allow needles and other flammable materials to accumulate below the deck
  • Ensure that outdoor structures, such as gazebos, are at least nine metres away from the house or other structures
  • Relocate flammable debris at least 10 metres away from the home
  • Do not litter cigarette butts or do any outdoor burning


  • Where possible, refrain from planting or landscaping with highly-flammable trees
    • ie.) Evergreens and bark-mulch
    • Use FireSmart options like deciduous shrubs or trees, succulent plants and slow-growing plants with thick, woody stems and are situated well away from the home
  • Use decorative rock mulch or lava stones around shrubbery within two metres of a home
  • Use gardens and flower beds as effective fire breaks

Ogloff adds, for landscaping, the above particularly applies to residents with property next to forests and wildlands.

For more information on fire safety in Coquitlam's proximity, you're encouraged to visit the city's website.