Climate hazards: Wildfires
Calgary is not as exposed to wildfire as northern and mountain communities adjacent to large, forested areas. However, some communities in Calgary are situated beside forested areas, grasslands, coulees, river valleys and some parks that may have a high potential for fire control problems. In the past we have experienced multiple grass fires, such as those on Nose Hill. As climate change makes summers longer, drier and hotter, and with more intense storm events, wildfire risk in our area will continue to intensify.
Increased wildfire risk will lead to increased smoke and air quality issues in Calgary. Regardless of where you live in Calgary, you have potential to be impacted by wildfire smoke.
In an urban setting, wildfires can grow by catching trees, leaves, plants, dried grasses, and other fuels, and spread to structures, including your home. Sparks and embers from a wildfire as far as two kilometres away from your home can also ignite materials and cause severe damage to your home.
Consider the following questions. The more questions you answer as YES, the more vulnerable you and your property may be to wildfires:
Do you live beside dense, continuous forests or unmanaged grasslands?
This includes large urban parks such as Nose Hill, Confederation, Edworthy, and Fish Creek Provincial Park?
|Do you have combustible materials and/or trees in close proximity to your home?
|Do you have wooden shake roofing materials?
Do you live on the mid to upper portion or crest of a hill or slope?
(Fire moves faster uphill and may put your home at higher risk).
|Is your exterior siding made of wood or vinyl?
|Do you live in a home without an indoor air purifier?
How to reduce wildfire impacts
Some of the most impactful actions to reduce wildfire impacts to you and your home include:
- Metal or clay tile are the best roofing materials for fire protection. Asphalt shingles can also provide excellent fire resistance, depending on the fire resistance classification.
- Cement board, stucco, brick or metal are the best siding options for protection against wildfires.
- Install fire resistant windows and doors.
- An indoor air purification system can protect against wildfire smoke.
- Clean your roof and gutters – remove needles, leaves and other combustible materials.
For more information about protecting your home and property from wildfires, refer to the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction’s Homeowner Guide: Protect Your Home From Wildfire and www.firesmartalberta.ca.
FireSmart™ and associated Marks are registered trademarks of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).
Disclaimer: The content of the Climate Ready Home Guide is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as technical advice with respect to any particular building(s) or construction project(s). The Climate Ready Home Guide does not recommend or endorse specific products or companies. All products and measures should be installed by a professional contractor, according to manufacturer specifications and following all City Bylaws and codes.