Jerry Brown, the former governor of California, calls it “the new abnormal.”
On Bowen Island, you can add the word “terrifying.”
As smoke from forest fires blankets the West Coast every summer, the fears of what would happen if there was a big fire on Bowen seem very real.
Tonight (June 20), islanders can learn how to make their properties “fire smart” at a free workshop at firehall #2 from 7 to 8 p.m..
If you can’t make it, however, you can also arrange free neighbourhood meetings at your home or the firehall.
“Fire Smart is an initiative to help property owners understand the ways in which wildfire might threaten structures and property located in, and close to, forested and wildland areas, and the steps individuals and communities can take to reduce the susceptibility of buildings and property to fire,” says the Bowen Island Municipality website.
The list of things homeowners can do includes:
• Clearing all plants and other vegetation from within 10m of a structure
• Ensuring that there are no trees or other vegetation overhanging the roof
• When planting new trees consider planting deciduous species such as birch and aspen
If alleviating fears that your house can burn down is not enough of an incentive, the FireSmart program is offering free onsite chipping or a $250 rebate on the cost of renting a chipper or hiring someone to do it for you. To qualify, people must attend a workshop and schedule a free home assessment with a certified local FireSmart representatives. The homeowner must also complete the recommended activities. You can find out more about it on the BIM site.
The Bowen Island Fire Department is encouraging everyone to get involved in keeping the island safe. “Many residential dwellings on Bowen Island are surrounded by dense forest and low-lying brush, increasing the vulnerability to Wildland Urban Interface fire spread.”
The fire danger rating for Bowen Island is currently high. That means “forest fuels are very dry and the fire risk is serious. New fires may start easily, burn vigorously, and challenge fire suppression efforts. Extreme caution must be used in any forest activities. Open burning and industrial activities may be restricted.”
Details about the restrictions can be found here.