Local FireSmart Representative Bob Bell, left, Gateway co-champion Rita Dixon and Gateway co-champion Lu Smith pose with a sign they received from FireSmart Canada for being recognized as a FireSmart Neighbourhood. (Ken Alexander photo)

Local FireSmart Representative Bob Bell, left, Gateway co-champion Rita Dixon and Gateway co-champion Lu Smith pose with a sign they received from FireSmart Canada for being recognized as a FireSmart Neighbourhood. (Ken Alexander photo)

Gateway FireSmart Neighbourhood recognized by FireSmart Canada

Ken Alexander’s column to the Free Press

South Green Lake Gateway FireSmart Neighbourhood co-Champion Rita Dixon said the neighbourhood property owners are very happy to be officially recognized as a FireSmart Neighbourhood.

Dixon added this recognition was only possible because of the support and work of many people. This includes Gateway co-Neighbourhood Champion and committee secretary, Lu Smith, for taking minutes, filling out many forms and keeping our neighbourhood informed about upcoming events.

“Our neighbourhood deserves many thanks for showing up to meetings and being willing to work hard at work bees,” she said. “We recognize and value the mentorship of Local FireSmart Representative (LFR) Bob Bell during the whole process of becoming a FireSmart Neighbourhood.”

She also credited me for supporting the group through media awareness, and Kathy Traynor for her experiences as the Bravo FireSmart Neighbourhood Champion. Both Kathy and Lu were invaluable in developing a FireSmart website for the South Green Lake community.

Traynor said she was proud of the second neighbourhood being recognized on South Green Lake.

“It shows how many of the property owners are willing to do their part to make our properties and surrounding areas FireSmart.”

Dixon said it was a team/neighbourhood effort. She said there were two sessions for this event. The first involved four to six people meeting with chainsaws to limb and buck trees and debris in preparation for the main session, she added.

“The main session was then attended by 35 people who loaded all the debris into dump trailers. There were four trucks with dump trailers which made four trips each to the 70 Mile House Eco Depot (to drop off the debris in the green waste area for free).

”It was a great sunny day with some neighbours meeting each other for the first time. The camaraderie was contagious.”

Smith said using FireSmart Canada’s new portal process to send in the recognition application went smoothly with the help of Bell and Traynor.

“Rita did most of the work by writing out the information that needed to go in the application.”

She added Gateway is a great neighbourhood and the local FireSmart crew is fortunate the South Green Lake community is becoming more aware of what needs to be done.

“They are super keen and are aware of the wildfire risk and the need to mitigate that risk.”

Bell he was pleased with the whole process and said the local FireSmart crew will be working on getting a third neighbourhood recognized in 2023.

“Once that is done, I think everyone will be working together [to make the South Green Lake community more resilient to wildfires.]”

Dixon said the Gateway FireSmart Neighbourhood has a number of goals this year. This includes keeping the neighbourhood aware of new FireSmart initiatives as well as information about the importance of FireSmarting their properties. These can all be accessed on the website at homeowner-manual.firesmartbc.ca.

This website will help homeowners learn how wildfires grow and spread and how to Firesmart their buildings and the property’s four Ignition Zones, she added.

I will provide free help to property owners with their self-assessment of their land and buildings. Contact me at 250-456-7496 or email topdrawer1948@gmail.com to set up a time to do the assessment.

Dixon said the Gateway FireSmart Neighbourhood committee also plans to take a more active part in the FireSmart Community Day booths at the South Green Lake Fire Hall this spring.

“And, hopefully, we will be able to encourage someone to volunteer to help get a third FireSmart Neighbourhood recognized, which would complete the goal of making the South Green Lake community more resilient to wildfire.”


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