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Help Keep Fire Embers at Bay with FireSmart Principles

by FireSmart BC, for more information, please click here

Embers have long been known as a driving force in the spread of wildfire, often igniting numerous smaller blazes beyond the main fire front.

It is commonly estimated that half of the home fires attributed to wildfire are actually ignited by embers, but a recent study found that of all homes and buildings that ignite in a wildfire, embers alone account for up to 90 percent of ignition origins. In most cases, embers are the primary means by which wildfire is likely to destroy your property.

The latest science confirms what firefighters have long known: embers give any fire a far longer reach, enabling it to leap over barriers such as fuel breaks. Many homeowners assume that, since their properties are not adjacent to forest, they are not at risk of wildfire. In certain conditions, embers can travel as far as two kilometres before falling, and are still capable of igniting. Embers can find their way into wood piles or under decks, and smoulder unseen for hours, before igniting the home.

Luckily, ember ignition risk can be significantly reduced by following some simple FireSmart principles.

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An ember that lands on or near a fire-resilient home or yard will typically burn out before it can ignite a roof or wall. However, if the same ember lands on a fuel source of any sort, it has a much better chance of generating the heat necessary for ignition. Accordingly, many of the practices recommended by FireSmart come down to a single purpose: keeping potential sources of fuel away from – and off of – your home or other building or structure.

For more information about how reduce the risk wildfire poses to your property, contact the qRD’s FireSmart Coordinator at [email protected] for a free wildfire risk assessment. You may be eligible to receive a $500 rebate to implement any recommendations. The FireSmart approach works best when whole neighbourhoods work together, forming a united front against wildfires. So reach out to your neighbours and help make your community resilient to wildfire risk. To learn more about the qathet FireSmart program, visit



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