Co-founder of FireSmart Program Presenting in Sooke: Offering insights and advice on protecting homes from wildland-urban fire disasters

Wednesday, July 3, 2024 – Nationally recognized wildland-urban fire expert Alan Westhaver will deliver a public presentation about how these disasters occur and practical steps homeowners can take to protect their homes. The event will take place at the Sooke Council Chambers, 2205 Otter Point Road, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, beginning at 7:00 PM.

Westhaver has over three decades of experience in dealing with, and researching wildfires and community fire protection with Parks Canada, and as a consultant. He was a founding member of the national FireSmart program now used in every province and territory. His current work helps inform the efforts of governments and fire agencies across the country.

Using his on-site examinations of disasters at Lytton (BC) and Fort McMurray (AB) as examples, Westhaver’s talk will focus on the principles which underlie wildland-urban fire disasters, and the simple, affordable actions Sooke area homeowners can take to reduce the vulnerability of their homes in the event of a wildfire. He’ll also discuss the importance of neighbourhoods acting collectively, offer strategies for undertaking these efforts, and dispel some of the persistent myths that surround these fires.

“It’s not a matter of if communities like Sooke are confronted by wildfire, it’s when,” Westhaver explained. “Survival is ultimately up to property owners to prepare their homes and the critical 30 metres around them to reduce the chances of structure ignition. When this is done, firefighters can be more effective – and safer in protecting the community”. “I’m passionate about helping people learn how to do this.”

The talk is sponsored by the District of Sooke and Greater Victoria Regional Fire Departments, with an introduction by District of Sooke Emergency Program Manager, Ryland Bennett. The talk is presented as a cascade from Emergency Preparedness Week. Seating at the event is limited so people are advised to arrive early.

Madison Crawford
Fire Prevention Inspector/Life Safety Educator
Tel: 250-642-5422 ext. 688