Homes in forested areas should protect against wildfires

City of Coquitlam said there is a lot homeowners can do to ensure they and the forests around their property are protected from fire

With warmer weather in the forecast, Coquitlam Fire/Rescue is offering tips to homeowners living near greenbelts on how to avoid wildfires — particularly if they are doing renovations this summer.

Residents should use construction materials that slow down the movement of fire and reduce the spread of flames, according to a press release from the department. Owners should also be aware of any bylaws and restrictive covenants on their property before undergoing a major construction project. 

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“While one of the great things about living in this city is our access to nature, many homes are located in areas where wilderness and urban development meet,” said the city in a press release. “This means that fire may easily spread from vegetation to structures or from structures to vegetation.”

During construction, protections should be in place to ensure that sparks are contained when any welding, roofing or plumbing work is conducted. 

Decks should be constructed from non-combustible materials, while roofs should be made from fire-resistant materials like slate, tile or terra-cotta, the city said in a press release. 

Fire/Rescue also states that gazebos, shelters or any outdoor structures are positioned at least 9 metres from the home, while less-flammable landscaping, like deciduous shrubs or trees and slow-growing plants are also recommended. 

The city also says residents should:

Reduce the amount of fuel present around your homes — prune your shrubs, remove dead and dry vegetation and tree limbs 2-3 mfrom the ground;

Keep the roof and gutters clear of dead needles — prune branches that hang over the roof;

Break up continuous vegetation and space so there is no continuous canopy or line of vegetation leading to your home;

Relocate debris or firewood at least 10 m away from your home;

Be aware when mowing your lawn that if the blade comes into contact with a rock, it can cause a spark that may ignite a fire;

Do not litter cigarette butts or do any outdoor burning;

Ensure your vehicle's exhaust does not emit onto a dry lawn.

For more fire safety tips, go to www.coquitlam.ca/firesafety. 

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