Farm and Acreage Preparedness for Wildfires

 
 
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 Wildfires are a hazard that can spring up quickly and cause major devastation to your farm or acreage. While you will not likely be able to stop a full-blown wildfire on your own; there are a few steps that you can take to minimize the risk and reduce the potential damage to your family, property and animals.

1. Know the Risks

Is your property located in or next to a forested area?
Does your land have large dry grasslands nearby?
Is it practical to evacuate your animals should the need arise?

Recently in Alberta, wildfires in both of these situations have resulted in farm buildings and animals being lost from fires that started nearby and were then blown by winds onto neighbouring farms and acreages.

So watch out for high fire risk conditions:

  1. Dry conditions, especially in the spring before the grass and leaves come out. But also later in the summer as the weather dries things out.
  2. Windy days, because the high winds increase the fire risk in addition to helping any fire that does get started move quickly through the forest or grassland.
...
2. Make a Plan

What are you going to do should a fire/nearby fire threaten your farm or acreage?

There are three main options, but depending on the size of your farm some of them may not be realistic (the attached page has more details on each of these options):
  1. Shelter in Place – soak down the area around your yard and create a fire break around your yard and animals.
  2. Plan to Evacuate – with sufficient time and preparation you could evacuate your family and animals to a safe area until the risk is gone.
  3. Release your animals – If you have little or no warning, you can open your gates/doors to give your animals a chance to find safety on their own while you evacuate yourself and your family.

3. Be Prepared

Here are a few examples of things that you can do to be better prepared to deal with any fire risks that you may face.
  • FireSmart your yard – see the homeowners FireSmart manual at
    http://wildfire.alberta.ca/fire-smart/documents/FireSmart-HomeOwnersManual-Jun2015.pdf
  • Have a fire extinguisher, tools and water available to use for fighting any small fires that start in your yard.
  • Make sure that everyone who lives/works on your farm knows what to do should a fire threaten your place
  • Identify a source of water that can be used as an emergency water supply for fire fighters or as a place you can chase you animals to if you must evacuate.
  • Follow the instructions of your municipality, first responders or Wildland fire fighters when faced with an emergency situation.
Additional information can be found at:

Alberta Fire Bans
https://albertafirebans.ca/

Personal and Family Emergency Preparedness
http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/index-eng.aspx

Emergency Preparedness for Farm Animals
http://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/frm-nmls/index-eng.aspx

FireSmart for Farms and Acreages
https://www.firesmartcanada.ca/resources-library/firesmart-farm-and-acreage-magazine-fall-winter-edition

Rural Emergency Planning
http://www.ruralemergencyplan.com/index.htm

Alberta Government Wildfire Website
http://wildfire.alberta.ca/default.aspx
 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Brad Andres.
This document is maintained by Kelly Bernard.
This information published to the web on May 10, 2013.
Last Reviewed/Revised on April 21, 2016.