By: The Working Forest Staff
Starting on May 5th, municipalities from coast to coast to coast will join a national effort to reduce wildfire risk to local homes and environments in anticipation of this year’s wildfire season.
A total of $47,000 was awarded to 94 successful community applicants across Canada for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. This annual, national program was launched by FireSmart Canada in collaboration with The Co-operators, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and has since gained support from the Provinces/Territories of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland, and the Northwest Territories.
Communities can use their award from May through September to host Wildfire Community Preparedness Day events that will raise awareness, help protect homes, and encourage neighbourhoods to build wildfire resiliency. Through these events, communities will be encouraged to adopt “FireSmart” activities including proper maintenance and clearing of dead or combustible vegetation, wildfire-resilient landscaping, and using fire-resistant roofing materials.
“Wildfire seasons are lasting longer and are more intense. It is critical that communities can live with and manage the realities of wildfires on our landscapes,” says Kelly Johnston, executive director of FireSmart Canada. “This is a shared responsibility, and through these community-led events, we can raise awareness and protect people and property by decreasing wildfire risk, particularly in wildland-urban interfaces where the built environment interacts with surrounding vegetation.”
The Co-operators provided $15,000 in funding to support communities in their efforts. Since 2014, The Co-operators has partnered with the NFPA and FireSmart Canada to drive wildfire resiliency efforts and advocacy to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of wildfires across Canada.
“As wildfire risk continues to increase across the country, Canadians and our communities are increasingly bearing the financial, social and emotional consequences of these events,” says Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “To provide long-term solutions that protect what matters most, we need a co-ordinated adaptation effort that includes governments, insurers and all Canadians to design and maintain resilient communities.”
For a list of all successful Canadian community applicants, and for more information on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, visit: http://www.firesmartcanada.ca/firesmart-communities/congratulations-to-our-successful-wildfire-community-preparedness-day-2018-award-recipients/