HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. – Hudson’s Hope Fire Chief Brad Milton says the town’s new FireSmart program is going well, and hopes to complete 100 home assessments by May 2022.

To date, the team has finished assessments on all municipal buildings owned by the District, along with nine residential homes. The free program aims to give residents tips to ensure their homes are better prepared to survive a wildfire.

Gerri Bird and Josh Deitner were hired earlier this year to carry out the program, and are a great fit, says Milton. The two continue their outreach outside of building assessments, educating the community on fire prevention and safety, Milton said.

“They’re so enthusiastic about this program. They have big plans, and their ideas are ever-evolving,” said Milton. “They are representing this program and our District very well. I am incredibly happy to have them on the team.”

The most recent wildfire scare in Hudson’s Hope came in 2014, when Mount McAllister was ablaze, forcing the entire town to be evacuated to neighbouring communities.

Bird says assessing homes is the best way to check for vulnerability against wildfires and is pleased to see residents using the service.

“If we can help people make beneficial changes to the outside of their homes and surrounding property,” said Bird. “We will also be helping our local fire department by reducing the amount of work to be done during fire fighting efforts.”

Milton visited Metchosin, B.C., last month to take part in live fire training exercises to complete his fire investigation certification. Live fire demos included setting an eight-foot by eight-foot cubicle ablaze, and conducting investigations in teams of two to collect evidence and photos, practice room reconstruction techniques, and interview mock witnesses.

“This certification will allow Hudson’s Hope Fire Rescue and the District to ensure that all fires are investigated in the proper manner, while ensuring the most current investigative techniques are used,” Milton said.