Residents are encouraged to book a FireSmart Home Hazard Assessment by contacting Herman Stegehuis, Wildfire Specialist with Westlock County at 780-222-4060.
ARE YOU FIRE SAFE?
Why fire safety? Prevention, the assessment of fire hazards and removing these, is easier and less costly than dealing with the consequences and costs of a real fire.
Who is responsible? Each property owner must be aware of any fire and safety hazards on their own property. We are collectively responsible for the reserve areas and any hazards on these should be reported to the Chief Administrative Officer.
When should hazards be assessed? Spring cleanup and extra attention to fire hazards go hand-in-hand. Dry leaves and grasses should be removed in the fall and in the spring. Even when you do a good fall clean-up, there always seems to be a lot of spring clean-up required as well. However, assessment does not stop here: we must be aware of and be sensitive and responsive to safety requirements throughout the year.
What is at risk? The first things that come to mind are our cabins and other property. But, aren’t these just ‘things’ that are replaceable? What about loss of life or damage to health such as from smoke inhalation? What about neighbors’ properties? Fires have no boundaries; they can easily spread to hundreds or thousands of adjacent properties.
Consequences of negligence? Loss of property and life can have costly and long-term effects. Persons causing the fire may be liable for costs of firefighting and of other damages both within and outside of their property boundaries. It makes more sense, therefore, to prevent fires from occurring instead of putting yourself at risk for costs of thousands, even 10s or 100s of millions, of dollars.
Jurisdiction? Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) is the wildfire authority (under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act) in the FPA (Forest Protection Area) of Alberta. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry manages and responds to all wildfires in this area and is responsible for issuing permits and putting on fire bans. The Summer Village of Larkspur has its own fire by-law, By-law 12-1 - se webpage. In addition, the Summer Village and the County of Westlock have an agreement in place which enables the County to provide fire-fighting assistance (with cost recovery from the Summer Village) and gives the County some powers with regard to substantive fire emergencies.
In the event of a fire emergency? phone 911, and your call will be diverted to the Westlock County Fire Hall. Also, as soon as possible please call the Summer Village CAO Marion Bancroft (780-609-0053) and the Mayor or one of the Councilors.
Alberta Fire Bans
The Alberta Fire Bans website is a single portal to all active fire advisories, fire restrictions and fire bans across the province. Planning to enjoy a campfire? Before you head out, please check the website for the latest fire ban information.
No Restriction - Fire permits are required during fire season for any type of burning in the FPA, except campfires. Safe campfires are allowed in campgrounds and backcountry or random camping areas.
Fire Advisory - The fire danger rating has increased. Fire permits may be restricted. Safe campfires are allowed in campgrounds and backcountry or random camping areas, but this level is a warning they may be restricted if the situation doesn’t improve.
Fire Restriction - Safe campfires are allowed in fire rings in campgrounds only. No campfires (or other open fires) or charcoal briquettes are allowed in backcountry or random camping areas. Gas or propane stoves/barbeques and portable propane fire pits are allowed.
Fire permits may be suspended or cancelled and no new fire permits will be issued. If the situation continues to worsen, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will put on a fire ban.
Fire Ban - No campfires (or other open fires) are allowed in campgrounds or backcountry and random camping areas. This includes charcoal briquettes. Gas or propane stoves/barbeques and portable propane fire pits are allowed. All fire permits are suspended or cancelled and no new fire permits will be issued.
Forest Area Closure - The fire danger has reached such extreme levels that portions of the forest are closed and no access is permitted for public safety concerns.
TIPS FROM FIRESMART FOR WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS
- Downloading the FireSmart Begins at Home app and undertaking a structure ignition-zone assessment.
- Raking and removing pine needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 1.5 metres of a home’s foundation. As time permits, continue up to a 10-metre distance around the home. Dispose of collected debris in appropriate trash receptacles.
- Cleaning pine needles from roof and gutters.
- Getting out your measuring tape and seeing how close wood piles are located to the home. If closer than 10 metres, relocating and moving the pile at least 10 metres from structures.
- Sweeping porches and decks to clear them of leaves and pine needles. Raking under decks, porches, sheds and play structures.
- Mowing grass to a height of 10 centimetres or less.
- Removing items stored under decks and porches and relocating them to a storage shed, garage, or basement. Gasoline cans and portable propane tanks should never be stored indoors and should be located away from the home.
For additional information, visit www.firesmartcanada.ca