Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Vegetation management involves a number of fuel management options, including fuel removal, fuel reduction and species conversion. Maintaining the recommended non-combustible zone around homes can go a long way by reducing the chances of wildfire spread from wind-blown embers. Incorporating FireSmart requirements in legislation tackles the issue from the planning and development angle and promotes more consistent implementation throughout municipalities. Ensuring that development standards support neighbourhood growth that espouses FireSmart design and building materials is important. Interagency cooperation ensures that professional wildfire responders are involved in the planning process, but also residents, industry and other government and non-government partners. Also, cross-training allows emergency response teams from different firefighting disciplines to share knowledge and expertise and to work together to combat the common threat. Wildfires know no jurisdictional boundaries, making collaboration key to successfully reducing risk. The Town of Canmore has been applying FireSmart mitigation measures for over 15 years, embracing all seven of the major FireSmart disciplines: education, emergency planning, vegetation management, legislation, development, interagency cooperation and cross-training. Through the education and heightened awareness of community residents and professionals, a grassroots movement can emerge to drive FireSmart programs. Because multiple agencies are usually involved, it is important that roles and responsibilities are clear and that resources are deployed efficiently.