Fire Smart monies sought

The District of Houston council has given its approval to apply for a provincial Fire Smart Community grant to better education citizens about wildfire prevention.

“In addition to educational efforts, the District would be able to utilize the funding to engage in Fire Smart activities within the District,” a briefing note to council from fire chief Jim Daigneault indicated.

The District is seeking $100,000.

It has already received $1 million from the provincial agency called the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. to rid a 1 kilometre section along the Buck Flats Road of hazardous matrial.

Fuel mitigation and treatment of high risk areas were outlined in Houston’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which was adopted by council in April 2018.

According to the plan, the Houston area could see an increase in the high/extreme fire danger days in the coming years due to climate change, which is creating drier forest conditions, a shift in vegetation and changes in weather patterns.

Some Houston area residences would be at higher risk due to their location adjacent to surrounding forest. These include the areas near Lund Road, Dungate Estates, Buck Flats Road, Canfor and North Road.

According to data collected from 1980 to 2017 at Dungate, Houston’s closest weather station, the Houston area has seen an average of 37 days of “high” fire danger rating per year, and about 10 days of “extreme” rating. Although 10 days may not seem concerning, the report notes that extreme fire behaviour can also be present when the rating is “high.”

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