The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) recently purchased four new FireBozz water cannons to ensure the community is prepared in the event of an urban interface wildfire.
The FireBozz water cannons are rapidly deployable devices that can protect property and operate independently to free up firefighters and equipment. The lightweight cannons are based on a modified agricultural sprinkler that sprays large volumes of water, fire retardant or foam, creating a fire barrier hundreds of square meters in diameter. As water soaks into the ground, a fire break is established, a key component when battling interface fires.
The units are placed well in the advance of the fire front as a line of defence. The cannons can also be used in residential fires to stop fire spreading from house to house, and house to forest.
"Wildfires can result in significant economic, social and environmental losses depending on where they occur," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. Reducing wildfire risk in our surrounding forests protects our community and the recreational activities that take place around Whistler."
Keeping Whistler safe from wildfire is a shared responsibility and the RMOW is leading the way by investing time and resources on multiple initiatives to reduce the risk of wildfires in the community. These include a combination of urban interface thinning, landscape fuel breaks and a community program to assist homeowners reduce risk on their properties, as well as communications to inform the community.
The purchase of the fire cannons are intended to reduce the risk of urban interface fires, which is identified in the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). By following FireSmart standards, homeowners too can protect their properties from igniting or spreading wildfire.
Homeowners are encouraged to take simple measures to protect property against the ignition of wildfires through: burning garden debris safely (the next opportunity will be October 15-31), participating in free yard waste drop off weekends (the next opportunity will be October 11-13), and conducting free home assessments with Whistler Fire Rescue Service to ensure their properties follow FireSmart standards.
The RMOW's fire danger rating changes daily, and residents and visitors are reminded to be cautious and watchful and report all fires in Whistler immediately by dialling 9-1-1. Fires outside of Whistler should be reported to the BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 toll-free on most cell networks.
Fire danger rating
Extreme fire danger rating means that no fires are allowed in the municipality. In parks, only propane barbeques are allowed provided they are on a stand and not on grass or near any trees. Smoking is not permitted in parks or on trails in Whistler.
In residential subdivisions, only propane and briquette barbeques are allowed provided they are used in a safe manner and have proper clearances from structures.
High-risk construction activity in the interface area (within 10 metres of the forest) is not permitted, unless an exemption application has been approved by the Whistler Fire Rescue Service.
Whistler’s current fire danger rating can be found on the BC Wildfire Service website. Note that Whistler is listed as “Blackcomb Base” and a rating of 5 is extreme danger.