With ongoing wildfire threats, people can minimize risk to themselves and their properties with a few tips from FireSmart.
The government agency has a list of tips and actions people can take around their homes in the event they are evacuated to reduce the chances of fire damage.
In the event of an evacuation, first and foremost is to monitor conditions and follow advice from officials. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so immediately. Every family should have an emergency preparedness plan. There is a fill-in-the-blank template available at preparedBC.ca/emergencyplan to make it easy. Also have a grab-and-go bag containing essentials like food, water, first aid kit, hand-crank radio, flashlight, batteries, important documents – including your emergency plan, power bank, batteries, toiletries and an emergency blanket.
If you have pets, have a bag for them that includes food, water, any medications and leashes.
Also pre-register for emergency support services through the BC Services Card app. Also keep in contact with family and loved ones in case you need a place to shelter and keep them informed of your whereabouts. Visit ESS.gov.bc.ca for more information.
Around the home, you can reduce the risk of fire with some property maintenance. Remove any leaves, debris and pine needles from your rain gutters. Clear all dead plants, weeds and leaves within 10 metres of your house to remove any potential fuel. If you have a lawn, mow it within 10 metres of your house to 10 centimetres or less in length.
You should all remove all combustibles, such as spray paint cans, propane tanks, doormats, toys, firewood and potted plants that are within 10 metres of your house. If you have a large stationary propane tank, remove all combustible material from around it.
If you have a large combustible fence attached to your house, leave the gate open and clear all combustible material from both sides of the fence.
Inside the home, make sure all the vents in your home are in good working order, clear of obstructions and are attached properly. Cover dryer vents with a plywood sheet or combustible tape. Move any easily combustible items like cardboard boxes as far away as possible from air vents, or cover the vents with non-combustible tape.
Before leaving, turn off air conditioning, shut off all utilities, including water, electrical, gas and air conditioning. Shut your garage doors, windows and skylights.