Numerous grass fires have kept the Kelowna Fire Department busy over the past few weeks, and with more heat on the horizon, firefighters are imploring businesses to protect their properties.
“With temperatures expected to remain in the high 20s to low 30s high over the next several weeks, we need to take steps to ensure we minimize the likelihood of an urban interface fire,” said fire prevention officer Paul Johnson.
The fire department has released a video detailing the steps a business can take to reduce the chance of fire.
“If a commercial building adjacent to a dry hillside were to catch on fire, it could have dire implications to the dry slopes above the building,” said Johnson.
“By educating the businesses and building owners on how to mitigate the hazards around the commercial building, we hope to minimize damage both to the building and to the surrounding forest/grassland.”
Many people have heard of FireSmart Canada, which educates homeowners on how to mitigate fire hazards on their property by reducing fuels around their home.
The Kelowna Fire Department has applied those techniques to commercial buildings.
The video speaks of combustible vegetation within 1.5 metres of the building and recommends removing cedar hedges and juniper bushes. The fire department is championing this initiative by following its own recommendations and applying FireSmart principles to all the City of Kelowna fire stations.
The adjacent cedars were removed from the property and the bark mulch is being replaced with FireSmart approved ground cover.
The fire danger rating in the Central Okanagan is now listed between high and extreme.