FireSmart your community.
The effort you put into your community now can make future wildfire resilience a reality.
Wildfires have become increasingly complex due to climate change, increased development in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), and a lack of capacity for both wildland and structural fire agencies. It’s time to lead your community into a FireSmart future.
FireSmart planning within 2 km of a:
- First Nation reserve
- Métis settlement
- Summer village
- Municipal district
- Specialized municipality
- Improvement district
- Special area
Every community has a unique level of wildfire risk and opportunities to address those risks to improve its wildfire resilience. Communities can make incremental improvement towards wildfire resilience by following these steps:
Applying the FireSmart System to strengthen community wildfire resilience.
Acknowledging that no two communities are alike, the FireSmart System empowers communities to create and implement a Wildfire Mitigation Strategy that is tailored to the unique wildfire threat identified in their Hazard and Risk Assessment. By selecting from a “menu” of practical actions that fall into categories known as the seven FireSmart disciplines, communities work together to create a unique “local recipe” for community wildfire resilience success.
Enhance collaboration and coordination.
FireSmart is a shared responsibility. Preparedness requires the collaboration of each group, agency and organization that might be affected by a wildfire. Strong partnerships and interagency communication are essential to an effective community FireSmart program.
Through the development of a local or regional FireSmart committee communities can coordinate and manage the implementation of their wildfire mitigation strategy.
Educate and empower the whole of society.
A successful community FireSmart program requires engagement and strong partnerships. Elected officials, community planners, developers, government, industry, and residents all have important roles to play. Public education is one of the most challenging components of creating a FireSmart community as many residents do not understand the local risk from wildfire and assume emergency services will be able to protect the community during a wildland-urban interface (WUI) wildfire event.
Reduce wildfire risk
Vegetation management, broadly speaking, is the modification of wildland fuels (vegetation that can contribute to wildfire is known simply as ‘fuel’) for the purpose of mitigating the potential intensities and impact of wildfire. Intuitively vegetation management as a strategy for reducing wildfire hazard makes a lot of sense: wildfire requires fuel, in the form of vegetation, to burn; if we can change the fuel, we can change the wildfires behaviour.
Legislation, bylaws, plans, policies and development standards all play a significant role in building and maintaining FireSmart communities. Consideration of wildfire at the development planning stage is a key step in protecting communities from wildfire.
Development standards protect communities from wildfires. From homeowners to local business, it’s everyone’s job to think about wildfire resiliency whether it’s the design phase, during building or while performing renovations. Wildfire resiliency is a cornerstone of sustainable developments.
Encourage the use of wildfire resilience best practices in home construction.
Improve wildfire response
There are two ways of approaching the planning discipline: the creation of wildfire prevention and mitigation specific plans, and accounting for wildfire in existing emergency response and community preparedness. A complete FireSmart Community Plan includes three distinct documents: Hazard and Risk Assessment, Wildfire Preparedness Guide and a Wildfire Mitigation Strategy. These documents form the community’s FireSmart foundation.
Wildfires don’t respect jurisdictional boundaries. They move from wildland areas into communities, and from communities into wildland areas and often require the involvement of many different emergency response organizations. Ensure the collaborative response to unpredictable wildfires is efficient, safe, and organized by planning and training ahead of time.
Cross-training bridges gaps and helps forge the relationships necessary for responding agencies to be safe, efficient, and successful during a wildfire event.
My community is within the Forest Protection Area.
My community is located outside the Forest Protection Area.
Work with neighbourhoods.
Wildfire resiliency starts at home and grows block by block. Neighbours working together, and helping each other, is the heart and soul of FireSmart. Find out how you can empower residents and give them the resources needed to take charge.
Apply for funding.
Grant funding is available through the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) FireSmart Program for projects aimed at reducing the threat of wildfire.
Funding opportunities are open to Alberta Indigenous communities, municipalities and other eligible organizations.
Need more information?
Reach out, we’re ready to support your community on the road to being FireSmart however we can.