The Fire Mitigation Project being piloted in the Ashcroft/Cache Creek/Clinton area is in search of volunteers who would like to help clear some of the fire hazards from properties that were selected to be a part of the program.
The project—a job creation program between the United Way and WorkBC—sent trained workers out to assess properties in the region for fire mitigation at the request of property owners, who were then given a detailed, free assessment showing what needed to be done to reduce fire risks and hazards. They were also provided with a package with emergency preparedness information, a list of plants that are fire resistant, and resources regarding dealing with stress and mental health.
Some 40 properties were also selected for mitigation by the team members. According to project supervisor Karen Nyce, the focus was on high-risk properties belonging to seniors or those with mobility issues. Twenty-six of the properties have been mitigated, with 14 properties outstanding, and Nyce says that she and her team of three workers are looking for volunteers able to help get the work completed by Aug. 15.
“We’re trying to get volunteers for work bees; people who can come out for a day and help out with mitigation,” she says.
“We could use some extra TLC on some properties.”
She explains that some of the properties selected are quite large (“They’re more like two or three lots”), and that because of this they actually went over their limit of 40 (“We couldn’t say no”). It means, however, that the crew is struggling to complete the work by mid-August: hence the plea for volunteers.
“Ideally people will have their own PPE [personal protective equipment], but we can supply gloves, and can beg or borrow or search for PPE like boots and hard hats,” says Nyce. “Some people have supplies at their house. And we’re looking for volunteers who can rake, or cut stuff down. They don’t have to use electrical equipment.”
Nyce adds that the project is full and is not taking further requests for assessments. “But if people say ‘Gee, I’m sorry I missed it,’ I can compile a list and show that the demand [for the project] is still there.”
The project encompassed properties in Ashcroft (including the Ashcroft Indian band); Cache Creek (including Hat Creek and the Bonaparte Band); and Clinton, its outskirts, and High Bar. Nyce says that they could do one weekend in each community, to make things easier for volunteers.
“We’re looking for people who want to help out seniors and those with disabilities,” she says. “We’re hoping that people have community spirit, or that some local organizations can help.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer to help the crew with fire mitigation can call Nyce at (250) 279-0672, or email her at email@example.com.