The Okanagan Centre fire in Lake Country. - Image John P. Rodall

Lake Country takes steps for wildfire prevention

Plans on how the district will tackle mitigation will be presented to council Monday

Wildfire mitigation continues in Lake Country.

The district will present specific plans to council Monday on how a successful grant will be used towards fire mitigation throughout the city.

Strategic and support services manager Matt Vader that the main focus is to identify risk.

“We can not get rid of wildfires, we can only do things to mitigate the risk,” Vader said.

“It’s a high-level plan, not necessarily mitigating on individual properties, but identifying the high risk areas, and education for the public.”

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The district plans to organize a wildfire preparation day, and work with the community on provincial FireSmart initiatives. FireSmart allows residents and businesses to learn the things that can be done on property to decrease the risk of severe burning. Some of the information highlights what material there should be have within 1.5 metres of a house, what material is best for a house, as well as the agriculture and wildlife surrounding high-risk areas.

Vader said that only one per cent of land in Lake Country is owned by the city, and that part of FireSmart is trying to contribute to better wildfire safety education to the roughly 44 per cent of privately owned land.

“(Mitigation) has a huge impact on wildfire and how it functions,” said Vader. “Lot’s of it is practical short term things that can make a huge impact. We work with the community towards FireSmart initiatives to identify risks and be proactive.”

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Vader said that the district will work first towards the areas that are a bigger risk than others: Nighthawk Road, Apex and Lakehill Drive areas, Forest Hills Road, Juniper Cove Road and Oyama Lake Road.

The community wildfire protection plan will be presented to council Monday. From there, Vader said the next actions come from the plan with community level FireSmart, and scheduling a wildfire preparedness day in the district.

Vader said afterwards, the district will continue to apply for more funding to continue wildfire mitigation.

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