Factors such as terrain/topography, weather patterns, and climate, fire history, fuels and landscape, building materials, water resources, and development patterns influence wildfire risk in the WUI.
Fortunately, many of these factors – fuels and landscape, building materials, and development patterns – can be modified to reduce the likelihood of home ignition during a wildfire event.
Whether you are developing a new neighborhood or maintaining an existing one there are some key components to consider.
For construction materials:
- Use rated roofing material.
- Use fire-resistant building material on exterior walls.
- Use double-paned or tempered glass.
- Enclose eaves, fascia, soffits, and vents.
- Protect overhanging and other attachments to the building (ie: fencing and decks).
For the surrounding yard:
- Maintain a 1.5 metre non-combustible surface around home and any projections, such as decks.
- Use fire-resistant plants.
- Keep lawns watered and mowed.
- Keep the area free of leaf litter and yard debris.
- Keep conifer tree crown spaced 10 metres apart.
- Keep conifer trees pruned to a minimum height of 2 metres up the trunk of the tree.
For the surrounding forested or grassy areas:
- Maintain grassy areas by mowing, watering or even burning vegetation regularly.
- Create fuel breaks in strategic locations; these are areas free of trees which can be used to slow the progress of a fire and allow a place for firefighters to safely action a wildfire.
- Thin trees to a minimum distance of 3 metres between tree crowns.
- Prune conifer trees to a minimum height of 2 metres up the trunk of the tree.
FireSmart development standards help manage the wildfire reality by reducing the flammability of structures.
Whether you’re retrofitting an existing neighbourhood or building a new one you can make strategic choices for building materials and neighbourhood designs.
- Is the construction of new homes or subdivisions “FireSmart”?
- Assess the infrastructure as it relates to roadway access, water supply, utility placement, building materials and design, and forested areas adjacent and within the neighbourhood.