When thinking of wildfires, many might immediately turn to the B.C. Interior where dry forests are abundant and warm air creates many situations from which fires can spread to devastating levels.
And while Sooke is blessed with cooler temperatures and a temperate rain forest, it’s not immune to the dangers of a ravaging wildfire, says Fire Chief Kenn Mount.
It’s why Sooke Fire Rescue and the District of Sooke will conduct a district-wide training exercise on June 28 of a wildfire encroaching on the district.
“We will just pretend that in the next four hours the potential for a wildfire will be coming in certain targeted areas in the community,” Mount said.
“We’ll set up near a couple of homes and properties, with sprinklers, and pumps, and a triage area.”
Sooke Fire Rescue is looking for five or six properties in the Erinan Estates, Henlyn Drive, Burr Drive, Phillips Road North, Sooke River Road, Saseenos and Glinz Lake to conduct the wildfire scenarios.
The region got off lucky from last year’s horrific wildfire season, with a one-hectare fire on Mount Manuel Quimper the only major blaze.
There are a few targeted neighbourhoods in Sooke labelled interface areas – the buffer between the forest and the rural living communities. Those areas – Nagle Road, the end of Phillips Road, Broomhill and Erinan – are particular concern to firefighters.
Sooke has two prominent bio-geo climate zones. On the western side, the forest is thicker and dense and more resilient to wildfire, while to the east around Mount Manuel Quimper and Harbourview, sparse pine trees and a high fuel load on the forest floor dominate the landscape.
“We want to practice and be prepared in any area of Sooke, but they’re key areas,” Mount said. “We want to target properties where we would actually expect this type of interface area.”
Along with the June 28 wildfire exercise, Sooke’s Emergency Management Program will conduct its annual exercise and activate the emergency operations centre, assimilate an evacuation alert, and prepare a reception centre.
To volunteer your home and property for the wildfire exercise, please contact Cam Norris-Jones at 250-642-5422 or email email@example.com.