As summer nears its end, the Whitecourt Fire Department’s FireSmart Summer Crew is wrapping up maintenance projects and treatment in zones around town.
This was the third year the Summer Crew has run as part of grant funding from the Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta (FRIAA) and crews will wrap up their work at the end of August.
The Town of Whitecourt has received over $2 million in grant funding since 2014 to treat over 400 hectares in town, with Whitecourt becoming a community leader in FireSmart in Alberta.
The fire department and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will be present at Whitecourt Town Council on August 25th to announce that they are applying for more grant funding from FRIAA to do a summer crew in 2021. They will also put forth a proposal to create a FireSmart working group with Whitecourt involving the fire department, all town departments, Ag and Forestry, and industry partners like Millar Western, power, and pipeline companies to work together and reduce wildfire risk in the area.
Mike Milner with Agriculture and Forestry says the partnership between them, the fire department, and the Town has helped make the FireSmart program so successful.
Aside from FireSmart maintenance work, one thing the fire department has not done a lot of this year is FireSmart Home Assessments, which are also free under the FRIAA grant funding.
Fire Chief Brian Wynn says assessments are a good way for homeowners to be aware of any potential fire hazards around their properties.
Chief Wynn says so far this year they have only done one home assessment. They are encouraging homeowners to download the free FireSmart Begins at Home app, do maintenance work around their property, and then call the fire department for a free assessment. It is a one-on-one conversation with the homeowner and inspector on what has been done and what could be done further to mitigate fire risk. Wynn says homeowners can then send a positive report to their insurance company for a potential year-round reduction on home insurance.
For more information, the Whitecourt Fire Department can be reached at 780-778-2342.