The Penticton Fire Department was hard at work Wednesday morning, working with community members removing thousands of kilograms of wildfire fuel that lay close to homes.
Dan Dobrinsky, one of the nearby residents helping the firefighters, said it’s important work this time of year.
“Oh the (area) is definitely a concern. As you can see, there’s so much deadfall and dry debris – we feel it’s got to be taken out of here,” said Dobrinksky.
The work being done is part of the FireSmart program, in which residents work alongside the fire department in cleaning areas around homes to help protect them from wildfires.
“We are trying to create a landscape here that if a wildfire were to come through here — it would remain at a low intensity ground fire making it easier for firefighters,” said Brittney Seibert, Penticton Fire Department’s FireSmart coordinator.
Penticton’s FireSmart program is one of the few that works closely with residents with individual assessments of properties and the wildfire risks currently associated with them.
“We have the opportunity for residents to receive a free FireSmart hazard assessment with a wildfire mitigation specialist,” said Seibert.
“Additionally, we have our FireSmart team as well, so if you have that assessment done, we can come in and help with some of the labour.”
The FireSmart team is imploring residents to get involved now, as a wildfire season has already arrived with the scorching heat dome the region has been experiencing of late.
“We definitely want to see people clean up around their homes, storing away their combustibles, moving their firewood away and construction materials,” said Seibert.
“Even patio furniture can be flammable. So, in the summer, we like to take vacations so if you leave your property for a lengthy period of time, just having those things stored away could reduce your risk massively.”