A Summerland neighbourhood was named British Columbia’s 100th FireSmart Canada recognized neighbourhood.
The Deer Ridge neighbourhood was established in the mid-1990s. During each of the years from 2016 to 2019, wildfires broke out in or near the area, with several visible from Deer Ridge.
Brandy Maslowski, a former firefighter, was the local FireSmart representative who inspired Deer Ridge residents to secure their neighbourhood against the threat of wildfires.
Maslowski helped complete a community assessment report, an initial FireSmart plan based on the report and a follow-up plan for 2020.
She said many residents have not only followed suggestions about their own properties but have also volunteered to help spread awareness and clear flammable debris.
Kerry Anderson, a former fire research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service, signed up for the role of FireSmart Neighbourhood Champion.
Brent Wisheart, who moved to Deer Ridge in 2015 after spending 33 years with the New Westminster Fire Department, also joined the Deer Ridge FireSmart board.
Carl Peterson, who had been following FireSmart principles in past years, got involved after the fire seasons of 2017 and 2018.
Efforts began in the spring of 2019, when residents collected 26 pickup truck loads of yard waste and debris including pine needles and branches.
FireSmart Canada granted recognition status before the end of the year.
“It feels exciting to be recognized as the 100th FireSmart Neighbourhood in British Columbia. We’ve got a very strong community, and through the FireSmart program we’ve really built up a real neighbourhood spirit,” Anderson said.
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