Wildfire Preparedness

Regrettably, wildfires in British Columbia have become an annual reminder of the effects climate change is having on our environment and our daily lives.

Wildfires and Your Water System

fire hydrants off limitsIt's understandable that individuals who find themselves under a wildfire threat will resort to any means at hand to protect life and property. Faced with that urgency, a community's water system would seem like a reasonable source of large volumes of additional water. However, any attempt to extract additional water from the system, be it from fire hydrants, curb stops, and other valves, poses serious concerns.

  1. Community Fire Protection— Most importantly, extracting large amounts of water from the system can decrease water supply and pressure, which could jeopardize the efforts and effectiveness of fire fighters and emergency first responders.
  2. Personal Safety — Tampering with fire hydrants, curb stops, and other valves by unauthorized persons poses a serious danger to the individual attempting such an act, and to the safety and integrity of the entire system — at a time when it's needed most.
  3. Cross Contamination — Tapping into the water system poses the risk of cross-contamination (the introduction of contaminated water into the public water supply), which can have serious human health impacts and damage the system.

All of the above also exposes violators to considerable criminal and civil legal liability.

So please remember that fire hydrants, and ALL parts of your water and wastewater system, are OFF LIMITS to unauthorized personnel. Any such activity should be reported to local police and Bluestem Utilities Customer Care.

Protecting Your Home from Wildfires

In light of the continued threat of wildfires, British Columbia has developed a number of programs and resources for residents. These are available on the BC FireSmart website.

Tips to FireSmart Your Home
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Many of the steps property owners can take to protect against wildfire threat involve simple, everyday maintenance tasks, while others require planning and changes over time. So be FireSmart, and don't wait until the wildfire season is upon us to start thinking about fire safety. 

bcws_homeowner_firesmart_manual-coverHere are things every resident and property owner should do.

  1. Visit the BC FireSmart website, where you'll find many resources to help you plan and prepare.
  2. Review your homeowner’s insurance to ensure you’re adequately protected against fire risk
  3. If you believe an additional supply of water will help protect against fire, consider an onsite bulk water container

In a Fire Emergency

  • For home fire emergencies, always call 911
  • To report a wildfire, call 1.800.663.5555 or *5555
  • Visit the BC Wildfire Service website for current wildfire activity and emergency notices