Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (WCPD) 2023

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (WCPD) is a national campaign that encourages communities and organizations to come together on the first Saturday of May to take action to raise awareness and reduce wildfire risks. This year, WCPD is May 6, 2023.

The purpose for this day is to increase a community’s resiliency to wildfire, primarily by reducing the fuel on homeowners’ property. The exercise of planning, organizing and carrying out this kind of work helps raise awareness among the general population, especially people who live on or near the wildland-urban interface. Working together to protect shared interests can help forge stronger bonds within a community, which can be of enormous value, before, during and after an emergency.

WCPD was started by FireSmart™ Canada in 2015 and communities from all over the country have participated to raise awareness and increase wildfire resiliency. Neighbourhoods and communities from all over Canada can apply for a $500 grant to be applied to FireSmart practices to increase wildfire resiliency. For the past three years, B.C. communities have received the most grants in Canada and 118 grants were awarded for the 2023 season.

WCPD is a national program by FireSmart™ Canada that encourages everyone to increase resilience to wildfire for their homes, neighbourhoods, and communities. Located in the Columbia Valley, Castlerock Estates in Invermere is an example of an active, progressive FireSmart BC Community. Castlerock was officially recognized in 2017 and has conducted multiple projects around their community over the years to continue building wildfire resiliency. Watch the video and read the blog to learn more about Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and how the community of Invermere B.C. is recognized as leaders in community wildfire preparedness.

Ideas for neighbourhood activities: 

  • Rake and remove pine needles, dry leaves and combustible debris from within 1.5 metres of neighbourhood homes. As time permits, continue up to a 10-metre distance around each home.
  • Grab a measuring tape and see how close wood piles are located to homes. Woodpiles must be at least 10 metres from structures.
  • Clear leaves, needles and debris from roofs and gutters.
  • Sweep porches and decks clearing them of leaves, pine needles, and combustible matter. Rake under decks, porches, sheds and play structures, and dispose of debris.
  • On mature trees, use hand pruners and loppers to remove low-hanging branches up to two metres from the ground (be careful not to remove more than one-third of the branches).
  • Collect downed tree branches and take them to a disposal site.
  • Move items under decks and porches to garages, basements, or sheds that are enclosed with screened vents (maximum three millimetre screening) to prevent ember intrusion.
  • Screen or box-in areas below decks with wire screening (no larger than three millimetres) to help keep embers out during a fire.
  • Work with neighbours to assess homes and properties using the FireSmart Begins at Home app.
  • Help each other perform recommended activities or simple, cost-free renovations.
  • Pool neighbourhood resources to pay for a chipper service to remove slash.
  • Spend the day with neighbours building or updating 72-hour emergency kits for each household.
  • Work with neighbours to ensure that the addresses of all homes in the neighbourhood are visible from the street.
  • Help neighbours with mobility challenges FireSmart their homes.
  • Locate two routes out of your neighbourhood (besides the one normally used), and plan and practice an evacuation drill. Review the FireSmart Canada evaluation checklist with neighbours.
  • Work with local emergency management authorities to develop and practice a neighbourhood evacuation plan.
  • Work with neighbours to develop a phone or text tree to alert everyone about a fire or evacuation.
  • Invite a horticulturist to review the FireSmart Guide to Landscaping with you and your neighbours and suggest which types of FireSmart plants might work best in your neighbourhood.
  • Identify and remove high flammability plants (junipers and cedars) from within 1.5 metres of neighbourhood homes.
  • Host a BBQ and invite your Local FireSmart Representative to run a FireSmart workshop to learn about the Neighbourhood Recognition Program and FireSmart principles.

Important dates/Timeline:

The WCPD application period will reopen late fall 2023 and close January 31, 2024.