Whistler expected to hit 'extreme' fire danger over the weekend 

Residents, guests reminded to be vigilant

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - FIRE SEASON Members of the Whistler Fire Rescue Service will be training on a new Structural Protection Unit this month.
  • Photo submitted
  • FIRE SEASON Members of the Whistler Fire Rescue Service will be training on a new Structural Protection Unit this month.

With temperatures rising, Whistler's fire danger rating is expected to climb to "extreme" this weekend.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is reminding residents and visitors to be extra vigilant.

"It is important that all residents and visitors respect the ban on all fires in Whistler this weekend for the safety of our community. This means no fires anywhere, anytime," an RMOW spokesperson said.

"If you smoke, dispose of your butts properly. There is no smoking allowed at any time on the Valley Trail and in Whistler's Parks.

"Take time now to prepare a personal evacuation plan for yourself and household and put together a 'go bag' with important documents, medications, pet supplies, water, snacks, cash and extra clothing. Keep it somewhere easily accessible."

Whistler's evacuation plan will be presented to council on May 14 (see https://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/whistler/how-to-evacuate-whistler/Content?oid=13826980). The full document is now public, and can be found in the May 14 council package starting on page 43: https://www.whistler.ca/sites/default/files/2019/May/meeting-package/package/25965/2019-05-14_regular_package.pdf.

Meanwhile, the Whistler Fire Rescue Service will be training on a new Structural Protection Unit (SPU) throughout the month of May.

The SPU trailer contains pumps, water bladder and low volume sprinklers, which allow firefighters to setup a large area of light water coverage around several homes in an affected area.

"Firefighters setup sprinkler structure protection operations a day or two prior to the projected arrival of wildfire danger into the community. This accomplishes two important functions: It dampens the combustible building material and it raises the area relative humidity thus reducing the ability of a spark or ember to ignite easily," according to an RMOW spokesperson.

"Structure fires occur primarily by flying embers that may have traveled several kilometres by dry, hot wind and land on combustible roofs and other combustible materials around homes. Lawn furniture and plastic doormats are examples of innocuous household materials that become highly flammable under wildfire conditions capable of setting houses on fire quickly.

"Under the threat of wildfire, homeowners should move all combustible materials inside a closed garage or 10 metres away from the home."

With more heat on the way and the fire danger rating rising, the RMOW encourages all homeowners to look at FireSmarting their properties this weekend (if they haven't already done so).

Residents and visitors are reminded to report all fires in Whistler immediately by dialing 911.

Fires outside of Whistler should be reported to the BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 toll-free on most cell networks.

Find more at www.whistler.ca/fire.

Stay up to date on the wildfire situation in B.C. at www.bcwildfire.ca.

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