Banff’s fire department is sharing its wildfire safety prevention preparations

Click to play video: 'Banff prepares to fight forest fires'
Banff prepares to fight forest fires
WATCH: It’s one of the prettiest places to live on earth but it comes with dangers. Now more than ever, it seems forest fires are one of them. Today, the Banff Fire Department looked to train with other first responders and engage the local community to be prepared. Doug Vaessen reports – Apr 23, 2024

With dozens of wildfires already burning across Alberta, Banff’s fire department is educating residents and visitors on how the town is prepared to respond to emergencies.

The Town of Banff Fire Department partnered with Canmore Fire Rescue and Parks Canada on Tuesday to showcase live demonstrations to Banff’s Valleyview residents on how crews would suppress approaching fires with high-powered sprinkler systems and firetruck operations.

The crews demonstrated a hydrant-based sprinkler wet line along the community-wildland interface and conducted simulated engine operations throughout the day and evening.

Banff Fire Chief Russ Geyer says the goal is to reassure the community while also reminding citizens that wildfire safety prevention requires a collaborative approach.

“They can see the efforts we make in protecting the community when a wildfire arises. They can also see how they can be a part of that community prevention,” Geyer said, adding it’s rewarding to work with communities on fire safety and prevention.

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“The Valleyview community has been one of our leaders for years. They’ve been looking after the vegetation within the community, removing and replacing trees, trimming trees and encouraging neighbours to FireSmart their property.”

Click to play video: 'Wildfire briefly triggers evacuation worries in Lac Ste. Anne County'
Wildfire briefly triggers evacuation worries in Lac Ste. Anne County

The presentations provided information on FireSmart programs, such as financial incentives to replace conifer trees, combustible roof shingles and best practices for pruning and community hazard cleanup.

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Firefighters also demonstrated how easy it is to set up the homeowner-installed rooftop sprinkler system, which can be purchased at a Town of Banff discount rate.

Last year was a record year for wildfires in Canada and forecasts suggest another dry summer will fuel a longer wildfire season, which is why Banff officials are urging residents to take steps to be prepared for emergencies.

“Our firefighters and partner agencies are highly trained and prepared for disaster response. We ask residents to help us reduce the risks of fire spreading within their neighbourhoods and businesses to develop and test their emergency response plans to support their staff, customers and properties,” says Banff’s director of protective services and emergency management, Katherine Severson.

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The Town of Banff works closely with Parks Canada, which has an extensive wildfire monitoring system, and the town also has a mutual-aid agreement with Canmore to ensure coordinated regional protection.

Officials encourage residents to get prepared for evacuation by reviewing the Evacuation Guide and the evacuation checklist, and to prepare a “Go Bag” or emergency kit with essentials for 72 hours away from home.

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