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The Home Owners FireSmart Manual - Protect your home from Wildfire
Click here to view the maual: http://bcwildfire.ca/Prevention/firesmart.htm
Wildland forest fires are capable of spreading at an astonishing rate. Crowning forest fires often spread at up to 5.5 kilometres per hour, with spotting as far as 2 kilometres ahead. Wind blown grass fires can spread at speeds up to 8.5 kilometres per hour.
In British Columbia, an average 48% of all wildfires are caused by human activity. Wildfire is also a natural phenomenon. Nearly 52% of British Columbia's wildfires are caused by lightning strikes. Over the last several centuries, large areas of British Columbia have been burned over repeatedly.
Over the last 10 years, on average over 2,500 wildfires were started in British Columbia each year consuming over 25,000 hectares of forested land annually. Thousands of families were recently evacuated from their communities and hundreds of homes destroyed.
If you live in or near a forested region of our province, sooner or later you may have to contend with the spread of a wildfire. The best protection against loss, damage or injury due to wildfire is prevention.
Following the FireSmart Home Owners Manual can help reduce that risk.
SOLID FUEL HEATING
Due to the increasing costs of energy many homeowners are using alternate heating methods, such as wood burning appliances. The Fire Department has information available to assist you with installation and safe use of wood stoves, so feel free to drop by the Fire Hall and talk to the Fire Chief and pick up a copy of the Guide to Residential Wood Heating. Here are a few tips from the GUIDE:
- Wood furnaces can be installed to work in conjunction with appliances using other fuels such as oil, natural gas and electricity. Add-on furnaces can be installed beside existing furnaces using other fuels. All such units must be safety tested and certified.
- A common problem with wood stove installation is the selection of a stove that is too large for the space to be heated. This over-sizing results in extended periods of low firing that can be inefficient and troublesome causing premature plugging of the chimney.
- Chimney fires are the result of poor appliance firing techniques combined with a lack of proper chimney maintenance. Chimney fire can be prevented. Chimneys should be checked for creosote deposits regularly until you know how quickly it builds up in your chimney.
OPEN BURNING IN THE DISTRICT OF HOUSTON
District of Houston Open Burning & Air Quality Bylaw No. 947 was adopted by Council on July 19, 2006. The purpose of this bylaw is to regulate open burning and improve air quality within the boundaries of the District of Houston. All open burning within the District of Houston requires the issuance of a burning permit from the Houston Fire Department.
The adoption of this bylaw makes Houston the first community in Canada to have a mandated replacement program for non EPA Approved wood burning applicances. All wood burning applicances within the District of Houston must be EPA Approved.
For further information please call the Fire Chief Jim Daigneault during regular office hours at 845-2250. Please note that all open burning must be conducted in compliance with venting requirements as determined by the Ministry of Water, Land & Air Protection. This venting requirement can be checked at the following site: http://www.weatheroffice.pyr.ec.gc.ca/wxhealth/smoke/default_e.html
CLOTHES DRYERS CAN BE A FIRE HAZARD IF NOT MAINTAINED
Clean the lint filter and never leave home while your dryer is running.
As the approaching cool weather prompts people to don their thicker, fuzzier winter clothes, the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is cautioning that clothing, and the lint it leaves behind, can catch fire in clothes dryers. Dryers were among the most common types of equipment involved in home fires, ranking third behind stoves and fixed area heaters. From 1994 to 1998, they were involved in a per-year average of 14,800 home fires, 16 civilian deaths, 309 civilian injuries and $75.8 million in direct property damage.
Lack of maintenance was the No. 1 cause of dryer fires. Other specific leading causes were part failure, leaks and breaks, short circuits or ground faults, and combustible materials too close to the dryer. Clothing was the item first ignited in one-third of dryer fires. Dust, fiber and lint were first ignited in more than one-quarter of the incidents.
To avoid such fires, the NFPA advises:
Clean the lint filter before or after each use, and also wipe away any lint that has accumulated around the drum.
Make sure the dryer is plugged into an outlet suitable for its electrical needs.
Do not run the dryer without a lint filter.
Do not leave the dryer running if you go out, in case it malfunctions.
Make sure that the air exhaust vent pipe is unobstructed and the outdoor vent flap opens readily.
Keep combustibles, such as boxes and clothing, away from the dryer.
Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional. Gas dryers should be inspected periodically by a professional to make sure the gas line and connection are intact and leak-free.
The Houston Fire Department warns, "Don't take it for granted that our home appliances will work safely as they should, we need to take care of these devices to keep them safe. Don't let fire start in your home because you didn't clean your lint filter or maintain your dryer."
District of Houston
3367 – 12th Street
PO Box 370
Hours: 8am to 5pm
(closed on Holidays)