Is the city at risk for a wildfire?

Fact Check

The City created a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) in 2005. Since then, staff have been working to address the areas most at risk to wildfire.

Between 2005 and 2012, the City received funding to help residents remove forest fuels from their private properties. Forest fuels are all the burnable materials in the forest such as leaves, grass, shrubs, and fallen trees. More than 1300 residential properties and several parks and greenbelts were treated.

In December 2018, a new CWPP was released in re­­sponse to environmental concerns like development in wildland areas, climate change, and pine beetle outbreak. The plan consists of:

  • An overview of the local area and history as it relates to wildfire.
  • Values at risk.
  • A wildfire threat assessment.
  • Recommendations to manage wildfire risk.

The majority of high wildfire risk areas in the city are on private property and aren't eligible for CWPP treatment. Instead, public outreach and FireSmart education are helping residents increase their wildfire resilience.

The City started work in all four of the major recommendation areas outlined in the 2018 CWPP including:

  • FireSmart planning and community education
    • A FireSmart educator ensured delivery of FireSmart education content in a term position.
    • Residents learned about wildfire risk on their property and how to take action.
  • Wildfire response
    • Conducted a Level 3 Emergency Operations Center tabletop exercise series.
    • The exercise involved a multi-phased, multi-agency planning process.
  • Wildfire fuel management
    • Prepared fuel management prescriptions for four different locations.
    • Two locations are on crown land and have since transitioned to the Ministry of Forests.
    • Fuel management activities at Parkridge Creek Park will finish in summer 2023.

To increase community wildfire resiliency, activities planned for the next two years include:

  • Fuel management activities at a 17 hectare area on Broddy Road. The prescription is complete and another application for funding from the Union of BC Municipalities will be submitted once Parkridge Creek Park work is done.
  • Creating a FireSmart staff position to coordinate and deliver wildfire resilience programs. The responsibilities of this position can be added to an existing role.
  • Creating of a Community FireSmart and Resilience Committee.
  • An update of the CWPP.
  • Acquisition and outfitting a Structural Protection Unit. The project will include training personnel on the use and deployment of equipment.

In the event of an Evacuation Alert or Order, the City works closely with BC Wildfire, the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, and the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, and will provide updates through the City's social media channels and website. Citizens are encouraged to always go to the official sources of information during an emergency and not community social media pages.