Wildfire, although a natural process and integral to maintaining healthy ecosystems, is terrifying to those of us who live in or adjacent to the forest.
Alberta Environmental Protections’s FireSmart Manual is a helpful set of principles and guidelines to aid us in making our homes and property less vulnerable to the catastrophic consequences of wildfire.
FireSmart recommendations include:
- Create a fuel-free space within a 10 m radius of your building including removal of flammable trees and shrubs (particularly coniferous species), woody debris. Don’t store firewood in this zone and keep grass mowed and watered.
- Reduce fuels 10-to-30 m from your building by thinning and pruning trees and removing thick shrubbery and deadfall.
- Reduce fire intensity potential from 30-to-100 m from your building by thinning or reducing understory shrubs and trees particularly more flammable coniferous species.
- Use fire-resistant building materials. Avoid wood products as much as possible.
- If using a burn barrel, make sure it is at least 3 m from anything combustible and covered with 8-to-16 mm mesh. Better yet, bring your debris to your local landfill site for safer disposal.
It might be tempting to apply FireSmart principles beyond 100 m from your building. However, healthy understory and the presence of woody and other debris is important for biodiversity including small mammals, ground-nesting birds, insects and native plants.
We can balance FireSmart and ecologically friendly land stewardship. By leaving the understory and debris more than 100 m from your building intact you will be contributing to conserving biodiversity.
Legacy Board Member