Blooming flowers and warm spring breezes may have some sighing in relief after a harsh winter but others are looking ahead to fire season – a season that’s already begun with at least one fire along the Southwest coast (Squamish).
In 2019, Bowen Islanders can continue their FireSmart education and action through workshops, free home assessments and rebates for removing fire hazards around their properties.
Bowen Island Municipality is offering these services in part thanks to a $25,000 Community Resiliency Investment grant from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and the B.C. government.
“The Community Resiliency Investment program is intended to reduce the risk and impact of wildfire to communities in B.C. For 2019, the program is structured to fund FireSmart activities,” read a BIM press release Thursday.
The home assessments are new in 2019. A local certified FireSmart representative visits your home makes recommendations such as removing combustible debris and tree pruning. The municipality will reimburse 50 per cent of the costs of the FireSmarting work involved on said property, up to $250. If five or more properties in the area participate, BIM will bring a wood chipper to the neighbourhood. Islanders can sign up on the BIM website.
BIM will receive an additional $75,000 from UBCM’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for emergency support services, evacuation route planning and an emergency operations centre, the municipality said in the press release.
The release also said that the municipality received $58,842 in 2018 from the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund and the Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative.
Some FireSmart tips from the BIM website include all clearing plants and vegetation within 10 metres of a structure and when planting new trees, going deciduous (trees that shed leaves annually).