Falling wildfire embers were main ignition source that destroyed Kelowna, Shuswap homes: study

By Gordon Hoekstra
The Vancouver Sun
April 4, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Devastating fires ignited by falling embers that destroyed hundreds of structures in the Kelowna and Shuswap areas last year underscore the need to increase the fire resiliency of homes and properties in B.C., according to the preliminary findings of a new study. Wildfire embers, some of which travelled 2.5 kilometres across Okanagan Lake, for example, were the primary mechanism by which fire entered communities in the Interior, shows an examination undertaken by FPInnovations, FireSmart B.C. and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. The preliminary findings, commissioned by the B.C. Wildfire Service and the B.C. FireSmart committee, were released this week. A final report is expected in May. …The findings show that embers ignited shrubs around homes such as junipers and cedars. …The findings also showed that homes and structures which had so-called “FireSmart” characteristics had better survival rates. …“There are simple things that people can do,” says Greg Baxter for FPInnovations.

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