Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) is defined as the areas where structures and other human development meet with wildland areas containing flammable vegetation (trees, brushes, grasses). A fire in this area is called an interface fire. While 98 percent of interface fires do not significantly impact habited areas, the potential for urban interface remains a reality that must be addressed at all levels.
In the 'Filmon' report "Firestorm 2003 Provincial Review", it was recommended that the province take a lead role in the development of strategic plans in cooperation with local government. The Community Wildfire Protection Plan program was launched 2004 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.
Many areas in the RDN have a medium to high interface fire hazard rating. Community Wildfire Protection Plans define risk areas for interface fires; identifies measures necessary to mitigate risks; outlines an action plan for improving fire protection and prevention in the interface zone, and focuses on public education.
Local residents also play a key role in protecting public forests and range lands. The RDN encourages anyone who sees potentially harmful smoke or flame, or suspicious fire activity, to report it as soon as possible. Fires can be reported to 1-800-663-5555, or *5555 on mobile devices; suspicious and destructive fire activity and can be reported by calling 911.
With an estimated population of 3,400 and a significant seasonal visitor population, the risk of human caused fires is high. The Bow Horn Bay fire service area sprawls across approximately fourteen kilometers of predominately rural forest, much of which is private with little or no controlling regulations. Learn how this fast growing area is affected by the risk of interface fire.
The Cranberry Fire Department responds to approximately 65 - 70 calls per year. About 30 percent of the annual call volume consists of fire calls, a significant proportion of which are small brush fires. Learn how characteristics such as high vegetative fuel loading, rugged topography, forested riverside trails, hog fuel and land development slash piles contribute to extreme interface fire risk.
The CWPP for the Dashwood Fire Protection Area identified and analyzed the risk of Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fire and proposed both landscape level and strategic solutions to mitigate those risks. The total area of Dashwood is 2,389 hectares, of which 1,489 hectares (62%) is rated as high or extreme risk to WUI. Fire cause data for the province indicated that 57% was ignited by lightning and 43% by human activity. In Dashwood, 90% of fires are human started, indicating an increased need for education and enforcement activities.
Approximately 80 percent of the Deep Bay Waterworks District has a high to extreme risk of interface fire. The Deep Bay Waterworks and Deep Bay Fire Volunteer Fire Department have been instrumental in fire protection and prevention efforts. Learn how increased human activity in forested lands increases greater fire risk.
Hazard mapping conducted for the Community Wildfire Protection Plan indicates that 90 percent of the fire protection area is at a high to extreme risk of fire. Read about how forest lands generally 'default' to high or extreme interface ratings due to higher vegetation (fuel) loading compared with developed "built up" areas.
Of the total land area in Extension, 85 percent is rated at high hazard from interface fire. The majority of Extension consists or rural residential properties intermixed with small agricultural holdings. Most wildfires in the area in the last 20 years have been started by humans - learn what you can do to reduce the risk.
Learn how the summer 2006 fire on Galiano Island heightened awareness of the vulnerability of the Gulf Islands to wildfire. By reducing one road in/one road out systems, homes with steep winding driveways, and increasing direct (looping) accesses, Gabriola Island will be able to significantly decrease emergency response time and reduce risk of interface and intermix fire. Read about how the public can reduce fuel around the home, use fire retardant materials for construction, and spark arrestors on chimneys to decrease fire hazard to structures and surrounding vegetation.
The interface fire hazard rating at the Horne Lake Community ranges between High (23 percent) and Extreme (76 percent). Learn how factors like the influx of summer visitors, flammable vegetation around cottages and forest stands surrounding the lake pose unique challenges for an area outside of fire protection coverage.
Residents of Lantzville/Nanoose Bay/Nanoose First Nation enjoy an extensive peri-urban setting of forests and coastline. Recreational pursuits, industrial activities and expanding development in forested areas have increased the risk of fire in the interface zone of these communities. Almost 90% of the land base covered in this area is classified as a high and/or extreme hazard area for interface fire. Residents in this area need to be proactive in reporting human caused fires and in reducing fuel around their homes.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON EMERGENCY PLANNING PLEASE CONTACT:|
THE DEVELOPMENT SERVICES DEPT. AT 250-390-4111 E-MAIL: ESSDisasterServices@rdn.bc.ca