2023-06-28 – The North Thompson Valley is the gateway to Wells Gray Park and a number of beautiful rivers, parks and campgrounds, stretching from Kamloops north to Jasper National Park. But where these lush forests meet our communities poses a risk for the spread of wildfires to homes. This is why it is strongly encouraged that everyone takes the time to FireSmart their properties.
A hot and dry spring and less than usual snowpack has increased the risk for wildfires. Just one month in, Canada is on track to having the most destructive wildfire season in history. We have already seen recording-breaking temperatures and summer has only just begun. Our best chance at mitigating this wildfire season is by ensuring everyone follows the FireSmart guiding principles as well as all fire prohibitions. While the valley has not seen the brunt of activity so far this season, a lot can change very quickly.
Those that take action by FireSmarting their homes dramatically reduce the risk to life and property, even in the most extreme wildfire conditions. The FireSmart BC Homeowner’s Manual recommends actions starting from the home and progressing outwards. Changes made to the areas closest to the home, and your home itself, have the greatest potential to reduce the risk of wildfire damage. But a FireSmart neighbourhood will withstand extreme wildfire conditions better than a single FireSmart property. That is why we recommend everyone take steps to mitigate the impact of wildfires. The best part is: It is surprisingly easy to do.
The FireSmart Home Ignition Zone shows residents how to minimize their home and property’s vulnerability to wildfires by addressing threats in each of the three priority zones:
- (0 – 1.5 metres): The Immediate Zone is a non-combustible area that starts at the house and extends to the 1.5-metre perimeter around the home and attached structures, such as decks. In this zone, choose non-combustible building materials and vegetation.
- (1.5 – 10 metres): The Intermediate Zone should be fire-resistant and free of combustible materials that could easily ignite.
- (10 – 30 metres): In the Extended Zone, residents should thin and prune evergreen trees to reduce fire hazards, and regularly clean up accumulations of fallen branches, dry grass, and needles from the ground to eliminate potential surface fuels.
To access and download the FireSmart BC Homeowner’s Manual, visit firesmartbc.ca and click on Homeowner Tools in the top menu. Here, you can access the manual, an evacuation checklist, and other helpful resources. For information on how to prepare for natural disasters in the TNRD, residents are encouraged to visit: tnrd.ca/beprepared. On this page, you will find information to help you create an emergency plan, how to prepare for emergencies, and links to webpages from relevant agencies.
Merlin Blackwell, Mayor of the District of Clearwater
John Thomas, Chief Administrative Officer, District of Clearwater
George Brcko, General Manager, Wells Gray Community Forest Corporation
Mike Smith, Fire Chief, Clearwater Fire Department
Mike Savage, Fire Chief, Blackpool Fire Rescue
Philip Weber, Fire Chief,Vavenby Fire Department
Scott Hildebrandt, CAO, Thompson-Nicola Regional District
Simpcw First Nation
Bob Payette, Chief Administrative Officer, District of Barriere
Owen Torgerson, Mayor of the Village of Valemount