For the Lakeside Leader
Dan Tarney and Randy Elm are the primary FireSmart leaders and organizers from the Marten Beach Cottager community. For four years, they have been reliably putting the pieces together for Community Cleanups, all for the purpose of protecting their neighbourhood.
This year’s FireSmart Community Cleanup was another successful event. Residents, volunteers and workers came together to remove woody debris from the forest so in the event of a wildfire, its movement will be slowed or stopped.
Additionally, Dan and his wife, Caroline Wagenaar, have made many personal FireSmart selections while building their cottage, both through design and materials. The siding is fire-resistant cement board . Windows are triple-paned and have metal roll shutters. The vents on the roof are screened and the roof itself is a simple design, covered with metal. These choices are all about resisting radiant heat or direct flame and have taken into consideration the transfer and collection of embers from a wildfire to the home.
After a lot of research, and finding a Canadian manufacturer, the couple invested in a deck that is a marvelous design of metal framing covered with concrete tiles. The results are attractive and durable, low-maintenance and should last much longer than many other decks. Though the cost is higher, the couple considered the options, contemplated their surroundings, and made their choice informed by FireSmart guidelines primarily, and with respect to flooding secondarily.
Landscaping is planned, but even now, the yard has a ring of leafy trees, raised garden beds and short-mown grass (when it’s not raining or flooding!).
FireSmart champions give us all an excellent example of how to embrace FireSmart guidelines yet simultaneously show how FireSmart is about those normal, ‘every day’ activities and choices. Yes, FireSmart is about those bigger choices and commitments, like Dan and Caroline are making, but it’s also about cleaning your eaves, mowing your lawn and helping out in your neighbourhood.
Canadians already take many steps to ensure their families, homes and vehicles are safe. We are comfortable changing furnace filters, making sure smoke detectors are in good working condition, changing to winter tires and back again, checking fire extinguishers and keeping the first-aid kit stocked. FireSmart principles should also be a regular part of family practices. Getting informed and taking action on your property helps you as an individual, but it also helps protect your community. Find out how you can take action, do your part and become your own version of a FireSmart champ!
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Dan Tarney and Caroline Wagenaar, on their recently-completed fire-resistant deck.