The Merritt Fire and Rescue Department continues their efforts to educate citizens of Merritt on FireSmart principles and on June 11 they will be hosting the Wildfire Prevention Day at Central Park.

The Department partnered with FireSmartBC, Fortis BC, and Fresh Air Cinema to host the educational family day.

Gareth Tilt of the Merritt Fire and Rescue Department is one of the organizers of the Wildfire Prevention Day. He explains that idea behind creating this event is to involve the community in order to increase the city’s overall wildfire resiliency.

“We know, as far as FireSmart is concerned, that it’s great to have your property protected but where real effectiveness comes in is when a whole community gets behind it and does it,” Tilt explained.

“What we’re trying to do is not only let people know about their different options they can do to strengthen their property but also to bring the whole community together to talk about what we can do to make Merritt a more fire resistant community as opposed to just individual properties.”

Merritt Fire and Rescue have already hosted ‘Reduce Your Wildfire Risk’ information sessions aimed to teach residents about how to individually improve the fire resiliency of their properties. Tilt believes that this event on June 11 will compliment those sessions by bringing in the community aspect to the discussion.

“The event hopes to connect residents, businesses, and other stakeholders in meaningful discussions about our local community and wildfire preparedness in a relaxed, fun, and entertaining environment,” said Tilt.

“We know that communities are strongest when homeowners work together, as each FireSmart property helps to protect and support its neighbours.”

The free to attend community event is set to start at 5 pm. People attending will be treated to door prizes, food vendors, games, and different activities. There will also be information sessions and demonstrations such as local sprinkler structure protection units.

The following vendors will be attending the event;

Nicola Chainsaw and Equipment Rentals
Home Hardware
HUB insurance
Merritt Public Library
Canadian Tire
WASP
Wildfire Protection Systems
Merritt Tree Service
BC Wildfire Service
Fire Keepers
Purity Feed
Crazy Creek Farms
TNRD
Arnica Contracting
Pritchard Fire and Rescue

“Homeowners can come by and talk with these vendors, get information and learn about different programs coming up such as the FireSmart plant program,” said Tilt.

Community vendors will be open from 5 – 8 pm and later at 9:15 pm, there will be an outdoor screening of the movie ‘Only The Brave’, based on the Granite Mountain Hotshots experience fighting the 2013 Yarnell Hill wildfires.

“It’s based on a true story,” said Tilt. “It is not necessarily a showing of wildfire preparedness so it kind of shows a what if scenario.”

The Wildfire Prevention Day comes as the latest effort by the Merritt Fire and Rescue to educate homeowners on the possible improvements they can make to increase their property’s fire resiliency.

Recently, Merritt has also launched a FireSmart rebate program where eligible homeowners can get rebates up to a maximum of $500 for expenses incurred from home fire resiliency improvements.

“This event brings together a lot of the businesses where homeowners could potentially discuss options for what they could do to their property in using that grant,” Tilt explained.

“It could be as simple as changing up some plants from one type to another that is more fire resistant.”

Merritt Fire and Rescue will also host a fire truck pull where people can register in teams of 10 to pull the truck and compete for times.

“We’re doing that by donation for teams to then take those finances in and help support upgrades Fairley Park,” Tilt explained.

Fairley Park is a community park for toddlers that the Merritt Fire and Rescue Department has been heavily involved with.

For more information about the event or to register for the fire truck pull, please email Gareth Tilt at gtilt@merritt.ca or call Merritt Fire and Rescue Department at 250-378-5626.