Penticton Fire is looking for homeowners in wooded areas willing to volunteer their property to be part of the B.C. wildfire training taking place in late April.
Over 300 firefighters from 40 jurisdictions across B.C. will be in Penticton to participate in the Wildland Urban Interface Wildfire Training Symposium from April 23 to 24. The training is designed to improve knowledge and response to B.C. wildfire threats, particularly along the interface area where homes and forests meet.
“In order for the symposium to conduct this type of training, we require access to wildland interface homes that can simulate structures and locations that firefighters will encounter when protecting their communities,” said Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson.
“I’d like to thank in advance any homeowner who steps forward to assist us with this exercise. Their willingness to include their property in our training simulations has a real-world impact of potentially saving hundreds of homes from the destructive reality of wildfire,” said Watkinson.
All of the exercises are being carried out by knowledgeable and experienced firefighting professionals who will ensure the highest safety standards and due care of each volunteer property, said Watkinson.
“This training will focus on homes being evaluated by firefighters followed by a simulation on how to protect homes from wildfire. If your home is in or near a wooded area, we would like to access your home for this training.”
If you wish to volunteer your property or home, complete the permission form found on the city’s website and return it to the Penticton Fire Department.
The last time Penticton hosted the wildfire symposium was in 2019.
In 2019, the training included supervised burning and the deployment of firefighters, apparatus and aircraft in the Campbell Mountain, Sendero Canyon and West Bench areas.
The largest wildfire seasons in the past five years were 2017, 2018 and 2021. While 2018 was the worst year for fires, there were more evacuations of homes last year compared to any other year.
The trend is that wildfires are encroaching closer to homes and neighbourhoods.
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