The municipality of Killarney is located on the northern shore of the Georgian Bay District, approximately 100km southwest of the City of Greater Sudbury. Located in the wildland urban interface, the community is home to approximately 385 year-round inhabitants, in addition to an important proportion of cottagers that drive in and out of the community. In July 2018, the Parry Sound 33 forest fire forced the evacuation of several communities surrounding Killarney (all residents, cottages, and French River campers in ward 2 were evacuated). The actual village of Killarney was not evacuated as it is situated 30 kilometers west of Parry Sound 33. Prior to the fire, very little was happening in terms of wildfire risk reduction in the community. However, this event triggered an increased interest from the community, provincial authorities and private sector to start a common focus on strategies to implement to reduce the wildfire risk faced by the community in the future. When a wildfire affects a community, the resulting damage extends beyond private properties. In many cases, public and private infrastructure suffer losses as well. As such, there is great value for both the public and private sectors to jointly invest in risk reduction measures. In fact, the development of public and private partnerships can guide the development of complementary risk reduction efforts that will lead to greater protection of communities in the wildland urban interface. Management of wildfire risk is best advanced through collaboration and partnership. These collaborations also contribute to helping communities plan for and manage the financial burden associated with wildfire damage risk reduction actions. Partnership also build a sense of community united to proactively address a shared threat
After a near-miss from a wildfire in 2018, the Municipality of Killarney, Ontario, enacted a comprehensive wildfire protection plan that actively incorporated public-private partnerships to improve the plan’s effectiveness. Situated on the North Shore of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, the Municipality of Killarney is surrounded by boreal forest, making wildfire’s a very real threat. Prior to the 2018 fire, fire protection work in the community was relatively minor, but after the area was evacuated, citizens the local administration took the matter much more seriously. Seven key objectives were identified in the plan, including training key staff of the municipality to conduct assessments of wildfire risk around individual residences, holding community FireSmart education sessions, conducting hazard mapping at the community level, and identifying critical infrastructure at risk and associated strategies to reduce their vulnerability. In addition, two major corporations operating in the area donated money to help aid in fire preparedness operations, recognizing that the destructive forces of a wildfire are a danger to everyone and everything in the area and that communication and collaboration between all concerned parties is the best path towards ensure a safe and prosperous future.