FireSmart, Max Lake Road gate and Auto-Dial Alert
There has been a great deal of action around wildfire mitigation initiatives in Greater West Bench and Rural Summerland (Faulder and Meadow Valley) lately. With those citizens in Area "D" in our thoughts and with huge thanks and gratitude to all of those fighting the wildfire near Thomas Creek, here is an update on what has been happening in Area "F".
FireSmart Coordinator (new position with RDOS)
The RDOS received a $600,000 grant from the FireSmart Community Funding and Supports program as part of the Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program. The CRI program is to reduce the risks and impacts of wildfire through community education, vegetation management, planning, etc.
Through the grant, Kerry Reiss has been hired as the RDOS's FireSmart coordinator. Kerry brings 12 years with BC Wildfire Service. The pdf will tell you more about Kerry's background and expertise.
Kerry is going to support the RDOS with the planning of community chipping events, FireSmart community events, assessments, rebates, etc. However, Greater West Bench requires a FireSmart Community Board in order to take advantage of this opportunity. Husula is the exception as they have been a FireSmart Community since 2017. Faulder (rural Summerland, part of Area "F") has also been a FireSmart Community since 2017.
How to start a FireSmart Community Board
One person needs to attain the FireSmart certification and the FireSmart 101 course. Another three committee members are required to take the Firesmart 101 course. The process is fairly simple that involves some online education.
LFR Workshop (Online| two half days): Local FireSmart™ Representative Workshop – July 14 & 15, 2021 – 8:00 am – 12 Noon PST (Two Consecutive Virtual 1/2 Day Morning Sessions) | FireSmart BC. This is the next available course, the next one is in November, so you will have to register quickly if interested in July's course.
We have a FireSmart volunteer who has graciously agreed to take the Local FireSmart Representative Workshop. However, we need at least three committee members to take the FireSmart 101 course. If you are interested, follow the link above for the FireSmart 101 Course and then let me know. Once the existing volunteer takes the course and she and I connect, I will send out more information on next steps. We need a FireSmart Community Board in order to take advantage of the CRI programs.
Max Lake Road Gate
For the past few years, Bruce (a neighbour in Westview Estates) has been hiking Max Lake Road and reporting his findings of illegal camping, smouldering fire pits, litter, etc. to the PIB Guardian Program and RCMP. He has also shared some amazing wildlife photos on the West Bench Facebook page.
For many neighbours in the area, a gate on Max Lake Road seemed like an obvious deterrent to the illegal use of the land (most of the land is PIB or under covenant for Max Lake conservation). And, after many years of discussion that didn't get too far, it was through the efforts of PIB Guardians and Land Resources that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure installed a gate at Max Lake Road last week.
Auto-Dial Wildfire-Warning System
Mostly, you have heard about the auto-dial wildfire-warning system. Thank you again to the volunteers making that program work.
Some background information on the auto-dial system can be found here.
How to sign up instructions can be found here. Please sign up.
Faulder and Meadow Valley - active FireSmart communities in rural Summerland (and Carmi) are also connecting with Peter (the auto-dial volunteer founder) to learn more on how to start their own warning system.
Any questions or comments, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org