Be Fire Smart
Personal Emergency Preparedness--Fire Season
With the onset of warm, dry weather comes the possibility of increased wildland fire activity. Residents in high-risk interface fire areas can prepare ahead by organizing a family emergency kit and making sure they have a family emergency plan. For more information on preparing for fire season go to:
A good resource for monitoring wildland fire risk in the province is the Provincial Fire Danger Rating Map which is updated twice daily. Ministry of Forests and Range and Office of the Fire Commissioner web sites include more information.
BC Office of the Fire Commissioner
Click here for more information on personal emergency preparedness, including how to assemble your family emergency kit.
You and your neighbours can reduce the threat of WILDFIRE by following 5 simple preventative steps.
Person-caused wildfires are those related to abandoned campfires, smoking, logging, railroads, brush or range burns, construction, recreationalists and arson. All person-caused wildfires are preventable. You can help prevent wildfires.
This section provides two options for viewing updates on wildfires.
To see a list of all current wildfires in B.C., go to All Current Wildfires.
To see updates on high profile wildfires, go to Wildfires of Note.
Structural Fire Protection – Volunteer Fire Departments
The Regional District oversees seven volunteer fire departments: Anarchist Mountain, Kaleden, Keremeos, Naramata, Okanagan Falls, Tulameen and Willowbrook, which provide local fire protection to specific rural areas within Electoral Areas A, B, C, D, E, G and H. In addition, Municipal and Regional departments also provide fire suppression to specific areas of Indian Band Lands under contract.
The District also contracts with the City of Penticton and the Town of Princeton to provide fire protection to the rural areas of Electoral Areas D-F (rural Penticton) and Electoral Area H (rural Princeton).
911 fire calls for the Okanagan-Similkameen are relayed to a secondary dispatch centre at the No.1 Penticton Fire Hall. At that location Regional Fire Dispatchers handle a multitude of calls from fires, to motor vehicle accidents to medical first response.
Wildfire Management Branch
Fire protection on crown land is provided by the Wildfire Management Branch.
Within the Province of B.C. there are 6 fire centers and within each center are zones. RDOS happens to be split by two fire zones; Penticton and Merritt.
Community Wildfire Protection Planning
Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) is defined as the areas where structures and other human development meet with wildland areas containing flammable vegetation such as trees and grasses. A fire in this area is called an interface fire and much of the rural development throughout our region exists within the interface. Interface fire fuel management has become an area of significant importance for all local governments since the devastating wildfires of 2003.
In 2004 the Province initiated a review of Firestorm 2003. The review resulted in recommendations for reducing fire fuel build up in British Columbia interface including:
- Fuel-treatment pilot projects in locations of high interface fire risk;
- On-site removal or burning of spacing slash to mitigate the surface fuel hazard;
- · Assessment of fire-prone ecosystems within or adjacent to a wildland urban interface (WUI) for risk reduction;
The review states further “Governments and individuals share responsibility for fireproofing communities and developments that may be affected by interface wildfires". Homeowners have an obligation to undertake activities that help fire proof their own residences and businesses. This can be achieved by following Fire Smart recommendations.
The Regional District's Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP) began in 2004 also as a result of the Firestorm 2003 review. The CWPP program was launched to improve fire prevention in the WUI zone. The purpose of the program is to assist communities in the development of plans that will assist them in improving fire prevention and protection in WUI areas. The objective is to improve community safety and reduce the risk of property damage. The program is funded by the Ministry of Forests and Range and administered by the Union of BC Municipalities.