What is the Town doing to manage the threat of wildfires?
The Town has a FireSmart program to help manage and mitigate the threat of wildfire. FireSmart uses preventative measures to reduce wildfire threat to Albertans and their communities while balancing the benefits of wildfire on the landscape. FireSmart thinning has taken place in numerous locations around Canmore in the past number of years, please see the map below to see where FireSmart burning has been done in Town, as of April 2020.
The updated pdf Wildfire Mitigation Strategy (3.45 MB) provides a road map for FireSmart activities for the town 2018 - 2022 and includes an updated hazard assessment, wildland fuel type, wildfire behaviour potential maps, vegetation management options and twelve recommendations for each of the seven FireSmart disciplines (vegetation management, development, public education, legislation, inter-agency cooperation, cross-training, and emergency planning).
In addition to the Wildfire Mitigation Strategy, a tactical wildfire preparedness guide has been produced for firefighters.
Canmore Fire Rescue has received a provincial grant to further our fuel reduction work, and access to deployable sprinkler lines to help protect community assets.
FireSmart your home:
Preparing your home and yard as recommended can help your home survive a wildfire.
- Consider changing your roofing material to non-combustible options such as metal, asphalt, clay, or composite rubber tiles to lower your home's risk. Your roof is one of the most susceptible areas of your home to fire spreading. As of March 2018, all roofs new and repaired roofs in Canmore are to be constructed out of materials with a minimum Class B fire rating.
- Regularly remove debris from your gutters as sparks and embers can easily ignite these dry materials.
- Consider screening your gutters with metal mesh to reduce the amount of debris that can accumulate.
- Sheath in the base of the decks, balconies, and houses with fire resistant material to reduce the risk of sparks and embers igniting your home.
- Consider how close you store combustible lawn furniture or deck storage boxes are to your home.
- Avoid the following plants within 10 metres of your home: cedar, juniper, pine, tall grass, spruce. Deciduous (leafy) trees are resistant to wildfire.
- Dry leaves, twigs and branches are flammable and should be removed from your yard and gutters.
- Do not use bark or pine needle mulches within 10 metres of your home as they are highly combustible. Gravel mulch and decorative crushed rock mulch significantly reduce the risk of wildfire.
- Moving your firewood pile may be the factor that allows your home to survive a wildfire.
- Remove tree branches within 2 metres of the ground will help stop surface fires from moving into the treetops.
To help our citizens recognize the simple steps they can take to reduce the impact of wildfires before they occur, Canmore Fire-Rescue now offers free FireSmart Home/Property Visits for property assessment and risk evaluation of the exterior of your home.
A Canmore Fire-Rescue team member will meet with you for approximately 60 minutes outside your home to conduct the assessment. You’ll be provided with personalized recommendations you can use to make your property more wildfire resistant.
FireSmart Education Materials Available:
What else can you do to help?
- Before having an open fire please check to make sure there is not a fire ban in our area at Fire Bans and Advisories or www.albertafirebans.ca
- Make sure all fires are put out properly.
- When using an open stove, make sure it is in a safe location. Read more about Fire Pit Safety
- When recreating outdoors please be aware of your activities and any fire risk they may present.
Town of Canmore Receives FireSmart Achievement Award
The FireSmart Community Protection Achievement Award was introduced to Canada to recognize incredible municipalities for their efforts to protect their community and citizens from wildfire through strategic FireSmart programming. For 20 years, the Town of Canmore has been leading wildfire mitigation activities across the community. At the 2019 FireSmart Forum, Laura Stewart with FireSmart Canada presented the mayor and the fire department with the FireSmart Community Protection Achievement Award and thanked us for our FireSmart efforts and for leading the charge and inspiring others.