Prepare now for dry forests this summer — Port Moody firefighters say

Smokeaters plan to blitz homes in forested areas to talk about FireSmart and have organized a meeting on how the city and residents can prepare for interface fires

With two years of dry forest conditions behind them, Port Moody Fire Rescue crews are ready for the 2019 fire season.

And with miles of forested terrain abutting homes on the city’s north shore — and fears about fires that start in homes and spread to the woods and woodland fires that spread to homes and neighbourhoods — they want residents to be prepared, too.

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An information session about fire safety will be held 6:30 p.m. May 29 at Heritage Woods secondary school (1300 David Ave., PoMo).

“This is something we want people to be aware of as fire season approaches,” said Kirk Heaven, Port Moody's deputy fire chief. “These are the fires we want to prevent."

Members of the public are invited to learn about community forest ecology and health, wildfire behaviour, community risk and FireSmart principles for the home. As well, residents will learn about emergency planning and response, and how a large-scale event such as a forest fire would be handled.

Heaven said the intention is not to scare but to educate.

Because while local forests don’t tend to be as dry as those in the Interior, it’s important to be prepared because summers are becoming hotter, drier and longer.

PoMo fire has already beefed up its equipment to handle what’s called a woodland interface fire, with trucks that can carry pumps, bladders that can hold water, sprinklers and hoses. These can be deployed in a matter of moments, said training officer John Allen.

Firefighters are also trained in the latest forest firefighting techniques and have used their skills in other communities, including the Richmond bog fire and the Mt. Hicks fire.

These kinds of mutual aid opportunities arise occasionally and are dependent on available staff, Heaven noted.

In addition to the public meeting, firefighters will conduct a blitz of neighbourhoods on Heritage Mountain to answer questions and to ensure homeowners are adhering to FireSmart principles, such as removing combustible materials.

“The season is getting longer and the risks are getting greater, there is a hypersensitivity to it,” Heaven said.

The information meeting is free to attend and those living next to forests are particularly encouraged to participate.

 

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