IBE FireSmart Program - Spring 2021
FireSmart BC and the IBE FireSmart Committee remain committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize fire risk. We can all make safe choices that will help protect our homes from wildfire.
Spring is officially here and now’s the perfect time to get started on your spring yard clean up. While you are giving your lawn and garden some attention, keep these tips in mind as you get started.
General Yard Maintenance
- Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 1.5 metres of your home’s foundation. As time permits, continue up to a 10-metre distance around the home picking up the obvious stuff like litter and larger plant debris (like fallen branches) left behind over the winter.
- Dispose of collected debris in appropriate trash receptacles.
- Sweep porches and decks to clear them of leaves and pine needles. Rake under decks, porches, sheds, and play structures.
- Remove items stored under decks and porches and relocate them to a proper storage area.
- Mow your grass to a height of 10 centimetres or less.
- Gasoline cans and portable propane tanks should never be stored indoors and should be located a safe distance from your home.
- Get out your measuring tape and see how close wood piles are located to your home. If closer than 10 metres, relocate and move the pile at least 10 metres from structures.
Untreated wood shakes create a dangerous combination of combustible material and crevices for embers or sparks to enter. Every corner of your roof is a place where debris and embers can collect. Regularly clean your roof of combustible materials. Properly fitted soffits and fascia help reduce the risk of embers and heat reaching the wooden rafters of your home.
Regularly remove debris such as pine needles and leaves from your eavestroughs since sparks and embers can easily ignite these dry materials. Consider screening your eavestroughs with metal mesh to reduce the amount of debris that can accumulate.
A spark arrestor or metal mesh on your chimney will reduce the chance of sparks and embers escaping and starting fires. Chimneys should also be cleaned on a regular basis.
Embers and sparks can collect under these spaces, enclose these areas. Sheath in the base of the decks, balconies and houses with fire-resistant material to reduce the risk of sparks and embers igniting your home.
Planters and Gardens
When selecting plants, bushes and trees for your garden, ensure you select plants that are fire resistant that do not readily ignite. Deciduous trees with leaves are recommended over coniferous trees with needles.
Do not use bark or pine needle mulches within 10 metres of your home, since they are highly combustible. Gravel mulch and decorative crushed rock mulch significantly reduce the risk of wildfire.
Fire Pit (Campfire) Safety
The summer recreational season is upon us and the IBE Board of Directors want to ensure we all have a safe and enjoyable season.
In British Columbia, an average of 40% of all wildfires are caused by human activity. Campfires are the only type of fire permitted in IBE.
Owners who are renting their cabins must ensure renters have a current copy of the IBE Rules and Regulations and are compliant with these policies.
A campfire is an open fire that burns piled material no larger than 0.5 m in height and 0.5 m in width and is used for recreational purpose only. To prevent your campfire from turning in to a wildfire, be sure to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Check current campfire restrictions for your area.
- Never have a campfire when it is windy.
- Choose a proper fire pit or make a ring of rocks or non-combustible material.
- At least three (3) metres from trees, shrubs, structures, and debris.
- Do not leave a campfire unattended for any amount of time.
- Keep a bucket of at least eight litres of water, or a hose close by the fire and a hand tool such as a shovel to extinguish the fire properly.
- Completely extinguish your campfire before you go to sleep or leave the area for any period.
- To extinguish your campfire, pour plenty of water on the fire and surrounding area, dousing the site of the campfire thoroughly. Stir the campfire until there are no embers and the ashes are cold to the touch.
- Take excess yard waste such as large branches and debris to the Columbia Valley Landfill as an alternate to burning them.
- Do not dispose of your hot coals and embers from a BBQ or campfire into a garbage container or the dumpster container. Hot coals and ashes may appear cool; however, they can stay hot for days after cooking is over and when they are disposed of while still hot, coals can create a fire risk for your family and the community.
- Keep your BBQ clean and at least 10 feet away from your house and never leave an activated BBQ unattended as food can cause flare ups and fires can double in size every minute.
A poster explaining the different categories of open burning is available online: www.gov.bc.ca/openfireregs.
Fireworks are always prohibited in IBE including the beach area.
Please go to the FireSmart Canada web site www.firesmartcanada.ca for additional information.