FireSmart program breaks down how to protect your home from wildfires |

With a record-breaking wildfire season in full swing, greatly impacting communities across Alberta, the province is using a program called FireSmart to educate residents on how to help make their homes and properties more resilient to wildfire." style="position:absolute;width:1px;height:1px" referrerpolicy="no-referrer-when-downgrade"/>

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Parkland County fire Chief Brian Cornforth says you can save your home by taking a few days to “fire smart” it and these changes could reduce your insurance, depending on your provider.

“We encourage people to talk to their insurance companies, find out what their fire insurance costs are and is there any reduction if they do the full-on fire smart assessment, and actually do the work on their property and get it reassessed,” said Cornforth.

Parkland County fire hopes people will take these types of efforts seriously after several homes in the county were destroyed this spring. Cornforth said trained assessors are available to visit residents and coach them on how to meet the FireSmart assessment standards.

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The home ignition zone (HIZ) consists of three important areas within 30 metres of the structure of your home.

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The immediate zone is from your home to 1.5 metres away. It is recommended all doors and the roof on your home are fire rated and FireSmart suggests homes have tempered or multi-panel windows. In this zone, tree branches should be pruned within two metres of the ground.

“If you can keep the flame on the ground, so it’s burning much slower around your home, we have time to get in there and extinguish those hot spots around the house,” said Chad Moore, the Parkland County deputy chief.

The intermediate zone is the next 8.5 metres, where grass should be shorter than 10 centimetres and firewood should be kept a minimum of 10 metres away from your home.

“It lessens the chance that if there was a grass fire, that it could spread into the trees,” said Moore.

The extended area around your home, around 10 metres to 30 metres away, is a safe place for RVs and trailers. Residents with large properties should space out trees at least three metres from branch tips to lower the intensity and rate of spread of wildfire.

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Fire smarting your home will take annual maintenance. To help residents across Alberta make the changes necessary to lessen the effects of wildfires in their own backyards, FireSmart Canada will host community preparedness days until October.

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Cornforth says the plan for the next two years is to receive grant funding to support educating residents on how to keep their homes safe.

— with files from Global News’ Slav Kornik.

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