BC homeowners urged to prepare now for wildfire season

Despite the slow start to hot summer weather, approximately one-third of the province has been given a ‘moderate to extreme’ wildfire danger rating. The Okanagan, Kootenays and southern Vancouver Island are particularly at risk. With the province experiencing an average of 1,700 wildfires annually, homeowners are urged to safeguard their property against potential damage.

  • Aug. 28, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Despite the slow start to hot summer weather, approximately one-third of the province has been given a ‘moderate to extreme’ wildfire danger rating. The Okanagan, Kootenays and southern Vancouver Island are particularly at risk. With the province experiencing an average of 1,700 wildfires annually, homeowners are urged to safeguard their property against potential damage.

“BC homeowners should be taking advantage of the slow start to summer by making wildfire preparations now,” says Karen Hopkins-Lee, Chief Underwriter for Canadian Direct Insurance in Vancouver. “Wildfires cause extensive and costly damage to BC communities every summer, so having the right home insurance is the first step.”

The May, 2011 devastation in the town of Slave Lake, Alberta – where 7,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes – is a recent example of extensive property damage caused by a wildfire. In less than 3 hours, what began as a small blaze grew to envelop 500 hectares. Many evacuees returned to find their houses burned to the ground, and more than 40 percent of the affected area was demolished. The total insured losses are estimated to be over $700 million.

“By the time homeowners receive a wildfire warning, it’s often too late to protect your property,” said Hopkins-Lee. “The time to start preparing is now.”

Canadian Direct Insurance offers the following homeowner protection tips:

•Get your home evaluated by your insurance agent to ensure adequate coverage, particularly following significant renovations. If you rent or own a condo, make sure you also have contents insured.

• Reduce the risk of wildfire damage by removing vegetation – particularly fuel-sources such as bushy or dead plants – from a minimum of ten metres around your home. Your community may also opt to create a ‘fuel break’ to protect all homes within the vicinity.

• Create a concrete or gravel walkway around your home to provide a barrier.

•Use fire-resistant materials for the exterior walls of your home, such as brick, stucco or concrete.

• Use fire-resistant roofing materials. Flammable roofing was a main cause of home loss in the 2003 Kelowna wildfires. Spark arrestors on chimneys are also encouraged.

• Clear gutters of combustible debris like pine needles.

•For fire-prone areas, install a roof-top sprinkler, which can also reduce the cost of your insurance premium.

• Install dual-pane thermal windows, which reduce the radiated heat passing through and provide more protection.

•Store firewood and propane tanks away from your home.

Finally, call *5555 on your cell phone if you spot a wildfire.

 

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read