Understanding and Assessing Impacts
The District of Logan Lake is nestled into a forested area in the mountains of south-central British Columbia and is a leader in developing and implementing programs to reduce wildfire risks. In 2003, the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire forced the evacuation of approximately 27,000 residents across the City of Kelowna. The District of Logan Lake sent firefighting resources to help out but found themselves affected by a few fires while they were operating with reduced resources. The fires were controlled by local firefighters, nevertheless this event triggered a reaction from the District’s council, who started looking into local wildfire protection options. In 2003 the District developed the first community wildfire protection plan in British Columbia. Communities located in the wildland urban interface may face an even greater risk if there are limited firefighting resources available in the area. This problem can be exacerbated when local firefighting resources are mobilized to support fire suppression efforts in other communities during large-scale events, a concern that has been more evident in recent years. In addition, communities located in remote or isolated areas can be more difficult to reach if there is only one access road to get to the area. Outside assistance may fail to arrive in a timely manner, increasing the risk of loss and damage. The unique challenges faced by remote municipalities call for innovative wildfire mitigation tools and programs. For example, the District of Logan Lake pioneered the approach of a community risk assessment, installation of rooftop sprinklers controlled by local fire professionals, and residential assessments maintained in a database that informs local fire response.