Wildland fires can be catastrophic for forests but also for homeowners and their property. Fires are often caused by natural factors, but by far, the largest cause of wildfires is man-related. Learning about wildfire prevention and what you can do to help will reduce the number of fires. Preventing forest fires is everyone’s responsibility! The Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission's Prevention and Education Working Team (PEWT) offers several ways to take part. See the Prevention section for more information.
SAFE OPEN BURNING
This video provided by the Rhode Island Division of Forest Environment, Wildland Fire Control has some great advice in regards to open burning. Please check with your jurisdiction before undertaking any type of outdoor burning to see what is and isn't permitted in your area.
FireSmart Home Development Guide
FireSmart Home Development Guide
Wildfires are a natural part of our ecosystems. Without wildfire, the landscape loses its diversity. Wildfires recycle nutrients, help plants reproduce and create a mosaic of vegetation that provides habitat for a variety of wildlife. By choosing to extend our lifestyles and communities further into forested areas, we become more exposed to the danger of wildfire. Living where wildfires can occur puts your homes at risk, but it is possible to live safely with this natural event.
Development standards play a significant role in reducing the potential impact a wildfire will have on a community. A building is more likely to be destroyed in a wildfire when it is located in a high-density area where fire is able to easily transfer from building to building. The potential for damage intensifies when flammable building materials are used.
The recommendations in new Canadian FireSmart Home Development Guide will help reduce the risk of wildfire to your home and neighbourhood.
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Wooden fences and boardwalks create a direct line to your home and can contribute to the spread of wildfire. The Canadian FireSmart Home Development Guide asks you to consider these guidelines when designing and maintaining your home.
Avoid attaching fences and walls constructed of combustible materials directly to your home or building. Use a metal gate or non-combustible fence panel that is at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) from the furthest projection (overhang, roof, etc.) of the house. Avoid fences that have gaps, such as wooden slat fences, because fire embers can become lodged in the gaps and ignite the fence.
Wood fences offer zero fire resistance and can act as a wick directly to your home. Use non-combustible materials such as, metal, chain link, metal privacy slats, concrete, stone or masonry when designing and building your fence. If a wood fence is installed, ensure there is at least a 1.5 metre non-combustible break between the wood portions of the fence to your home. For example, a metal gate with a stone wall to break up the combustible fence and protect your home.
Monitor the condition of a combustible wood fence closely. Repair or replace any fence panels or posts that are showing signs of rot or damage. Combustible debris near the fence or wall should be cleared regularly and the lawn well maintained. The type of vegetation that is planted next to a fence or wall should be considered, and the vegetation should be maintained regularly.
This year, Québec’s wildfire protection agency “SOPFEU” adopted a five level fire danger rating by adding the “very high” class. This change is a great opportunity to talk more about fire danger and to explain how people can prevent human-caused forest fires.
The fire danger rating is a relative index of how easy it is to ignite forest fuels and how difficult a fire may be to control, considering the fire’s rate of spread and the quantity of fuel available. It also helps the public to adapt their behavior when partaking in activities in or nearby the forest.
By checking the fire danger before going into the forest, you take the first step in preventing human-caused fires. Every year, many wildfires are caused by campfires that were left unattended or were not properly extinguished. Be sure to keep the forest safe by following the previous tips!