FireSmart is an initiative designed to help home and property owners reduce the threat of wildfire within the wildland/urban interface area. By implementing FireSmart principals, you become part of a commitment to help lessen the effects of wildfire in your community.
The risk of wildfire is greatest in wildland/urban interface zones – communities where natural vegetation and residential, industrial, or agricultural developments are situated. There are many reasons Albertans choose to reside in these areas, be it occupational requirement or lifestyle choice. But one thing is certain, the economic and social impact of wildfire in Alberta is immense. Thousands of residents are evacuated or put on evacuation notice from their homes or workplaces due to the threat of wildfires each year.
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Why do we need FireSmart?
FireSmart is living with and managing for wildfire on our landscape. It is an initiative designed to help home and property owners reduce the chance of their property being affected by wildfire. FireSmart activities such as tree thinning, clearing and pruning occur at a regional level around a community to help reduce the risk of a wildfire entering the community. FireSmart also involves simple actions a homeowner can do to their home and property to help decrease wildfire damage.
The greatest wildfire threats to homeowners are the transfer of wildfire from house to house (direct heat) and ignition from ember showers. An ember shower is when large embers are thrown from a wildfire and carried into the air. 50% of the homes burned from wildfires are started by sparks and embers. While FireSmart cannot totally remove the threat of damage from a wildfire, property loss can be significantly reduced by performing FireSmart activities.
Quick Facts about Wildfires
- Wildfires are an essential part of our ecosystem and help create healthier, more balanced forests
- Controlled burns can reduce the risk of larger, uncontrolled fires.
- Many residents in interface zones are unaware of, or do not fully appreciate the danger of wildfires
- Residents may have a false sense of security regarding interface fires, and may feel prevention is the sole responsibility of their local or regional fire department