Skip to content

COLUMN: Time to start your FireSmart in Salmon Arm!

Council Report by Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond
Members of the South Canoe FireSmart Board erect a new sign for 2022 showing that South Canoe is a recognized FireSmart Neighborhood. From Left to right, Brandon Payne, Charlie Burt, Adam Muddiman, Len Lazzarotto and Licensed FireSmart Representative Kevin Smith. (Contributed)

By Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond,


On Wednesday, March 27, I attended the Wildfire Mitigation presentation put on by the Salmon Arm Fire Department with the City of Salmon Arm.

The presentation was highly informative and the speakers shared many valuable tools and tips to prepare for the upcoming fire season.

Beginning with a Secwépemc welcome from Neskonlith Elder Louis Thomas and an introduction from Mayor Alan Harrison, we heard from a number of local experts on various facets of wildfire mitigation, including topics like land jurisdiction, large incident response protocols, fire smarting and other fire prevention examples from local groups and businesses.

The presentation was also offered online and the recording (approximately 2 hours in length) will be available on the City of Salmon Arm’s website. It’s well worth your time to watch. I certainly learned a great deal and it will change the steps I take this spring to reduce the risk to my home and the homes of my neighbours in the event of a wildfire.

The City of Salmon Arm is 155 square kilometres. Of that, 7.5 belong to the city, 60 are Crown lands and the balance is private property, demonstrating that we have a shared responsibility in fire prevention.

The city’s fire department has four full time members and 80 paid on call volunteer members. Their main responsibility is structure fires within the city, but they work in close partnership with local First Nations, the CSRD Fire Services, Shuswap Emergency Program and BC Wildfire in the event of a major incident. We have four very well equipped and conveniently located fire halls as well as access to four structure protection units.

Wildfire is a reality of life in British Columbia. It’s a natural part of the ecosystem in which we live. That said, there are important steps to minimize the risk well before any fire breaks out. Adopting FireSmart principles is critical to reducing the potential impacts and by following simple, preventative steps, each of us can make a difference.

Presenters provided an overview of how to start the process from setting up a consultation with our Local FireSmart Representatives, to working with your neighbourhood to become a recognized FireSmart one as was successfully done in South Canoe. The key is to reduce the hazards to minimize the risk of ignition from debris and combustibles near your home including what and where you plant in your yard.

While we can’t control a storm or a lightening strike, we most certainly can take steps to minimize the risk of ignition from an ember. Fire needs three things to spread as was pointed out during the presentation: heat, oxygen and fuel. The more fuel can be removed to minimize ignition, the better and safer we all are.

For more information, please visit or contact our local fire department to set up a FireSmart home consultation.

Read more: Salmon Arm council approves more cash for FireSmart Waste Disposal Grant

Read more: City, Salmon Arm Fire Department host community wildfire mitigation meeting