COLUMN: Les Karpluk — Feb. 12, 2014

Les Karpluk
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Wild land fires have a familiar result; the destruction of rural property. Submitted.

It may not feel like it, but spring is coming and in preparation for the grass/brush fires, the fire department services equipment and vehicles as a part of our preparedness process.  

Prevention and mitigation measures simply means that planning and prevention processes take place to prevent or avoid an emergency, and to minimize its impact on the community in human and economic terms.

In this column the focus will be on the fire department’s role in the prevention and mitigation measures for wild land fires. A wild land fire is basically a fire that involves grass, leaves and trees. These fires obviously have the potential to involve residential and commercial structures-and can result in significant property damage. The wild land interface is defined as undeveloped land with vegetative fuels that is mixed with man-made structures-such as residential or commercial properties.

This spring in order to minimize wild fire risk, the fire department plans to conduct visits to residential property owners along Highway 55 East as a part of our educational and preparedness process. Home owners can also take steps to plan, prevent and minimize risk factors to make their property safer while enjoying the urban interface living along Highway 55 East.

The Ministry of Environment identifies three objectives for their wildfire education and prevention unit, and includes:

• 1. Reducing unwanted human caused wildfires,

• 2. Increasing public awareness and self-protection capacity, and

• 3. Reducing wildfire risk to people and property.

The Ministry of Environment has great information that home owners can print off to conduct a Hazard Assessment of their property. The FireSmart-Protecting Your Home from Wildfire, is an easy process to follow and gives the home owner an idea of their existing hazard level.

Fighting a wild fire is significantly different than fighting a structure fire in the city-as firefighters are often faced with driving fire department vehicles on poorly maintained driveways, roads or over rough terrain. Hazards such as electrical transmission lines or weakened trees may be difficult to see at night and during smoky conditions.

These are just a few of the risks involved in fighting a wild fire and remember the safety of firefighters and citizens is our key priority.

We are determined to do our job to keep you safe, but we also need you to help us. If you have any question regarding a wild fire hazard assessment of your property, do not hesitate to contact us or the local Ministry of Environment office.


Les Karpluk is the chief of the Prince Albert Fire Department.

Organizations: Ministry of Environment, Your Home, Prince Albert Fire Department

Geographic location: Highway 55 East

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