It Begins at Home
FireSmart is a national initiative to help property owners and communities understand the ways in which wildfire might threaten structures and property located in, and close to, forested and wildland areas, and the steps individuals and communities can take to reduce the susceptibility of buildings and property to fire.
- Clearing all plants and other vegetation from within 10m of a structure
- Ensuring that there are no trees or other vegetation overhanging the roof
- When planting new trees consider planting deciduous species such as birch and aspen
As homeowners we can take simple steps to reduce the impact of wildfire on our property and in our communities.
Wildfires are unpredictable and interface fires present unique challenges and obstacles but by being practical and proactive it’s possible to reduce the risk of wildfire before it threatens your home and community.
There are also precautions you can take to minimize the likelihood of igniting a fire on your property for example, always ensuring that lawn equipment has a properly working spark arrestor fitted to prevent sparks from exiting through the exhaust pipe and that cigarettes are fully extinguished after smoking.
View or Download the FireSmart Homeowner Manual
FireSmart Home Ignition Zone
In an emergency
Fire Tip Friday!
Tune in to CHMM 103.5 on Friday mornings for tips and tricks on how to keep your home and our community FireSmart!
Backyard Burning and Grass Fires
Fires used for burning grass and yard waste can occasionally escape and result in wildfires. Grass and backyard fires that get out of control can cause serious damage, quickly engulfing fences, power poles and buildings as well as spreading to neighbouring properties and forested areas. If planning a fire it is important to remember;
- Depending on the time of year you may be required to have a permit
- A firebreak should be placed around the perimeter of the burn area
- Fire can escape especially easily if the wind picks up
- To have adequate hand tools, water and people on the site to keep the fire in check
- Do not light or allow a fire to continue to burn when the wind is strong enough to carry sparks onto other potentially combustible material
- Comply with open burning bans or restrictions and municipal bylaws that apply to your area.
Chimney fires can burn slowly and quietly or dramatically explosive accompanied by noise not unlike a freight train or a low flying airplane. Flames or dense smoke may shoot from the top of the chimney. By burning seasoned wood and practicing proper chimney system care, chimney fires are entirely preventable.
Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to safely contain wood-fueled fires, while providing heat for a home. The chimneys that serve them have the job of expelling the by-products of combustion – the substances given off when wood burns. As these substances exit the fireplace or wood stove and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. This is most prevalent in a smoldering or dampened-down fire. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote. Creosote is black or brown in appearance. It can be crusty and flaky, drippy and sticky (tar-like) or shiny and hardened. Often, all forms will occur in one chimney system.
Whatever form it takes, creosote is highly combustible. If it builds up in sufficient quantities and catches fire inside the chimney flue, the result will be a chimney fire. Although any amount of creosote can burn, firefighters are most concerned when creosote builds up in sufficient quantities to sustain a long, hot, destructive chimney fire.
- Burn seasoned, throughout-dried wood only. Dryness is more important than the type of wood being burned.
- Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke.
- Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or trash; these can start a chimney fire.
- Have the chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis – at least, once a year.