What is FireSmart? 

FireSmart™ Canada is a national program that helps Canadians increase neighborhood resilience to wildfire and minimize its negative impacts. It was founded over 20 years ago to address common concerns about wildfire in the wildland urban interface - areas where human development meets or intermingles with the natural environment, like Parkland County.

Why is FireSmart important?

A FireSmart™ neighborhood stands an even greater likelihood of surviving a wildfire than an individual FireSmart property. FireSmart improvements made by you and your neighbors will benefit everyone, so let’s work together! 

FireSmart is living with and managing wildfire in your area and on your property. Becoming wildfire resilient is a shared responsibility across Parkland County. FireSmart and its seven disciplines is an all-encompassing program, extending from the individual homeowner level up to a landscape land management level. FireSmart principles have shown that they are effective at reducing the risk to life and property in the most extreme wildfire conditions. The FireSmart program is backed by a vast amount of field, laboratory and wildfire modelling research. Its methods help reduce the risk of losses under even the most extreme fire conditions. 

Watch here to see how Parkland County Deputy Fire Chief Chad Moore has used FireSmart to protect his home.

Free FireSmart Advanced Home Assessments  

How would you like a FireSmart Assessor to conduct an on-site assessment of your home, for free? A qualified team member will come to your home and provide a free assessment of your property and will prepare a report with tips for how to make your property more likely to survive a wildfire. 

Our FireSmart experts will:

1.     Tour the outside of your house and yard for things that increase your risk during a wildfire.

2.     Provide a customized report based on what they see with actions on how to reduce the risk of damage by wildfire.

3.     Share helpful tips to make your home less susceptible against wildfires.

If you've completed the suggested safety improvements in the report, you can ask for another assessment later if you wish. 

Book a Free
FireSmart Assessment

 Is there a cost for the assessment? 
 No, it is a free assessment. 
 Does this affect my taxes? 
 No, this is strictly an educational tool for homeowners. 
 How long are the assessments? 
 Assessments take 30-45 minutes. 
 Do I need to be present for the assessment? 
 You do not have to be present. The assessment is done from the exterior of the property. Everything is logged into a pdf which you get a copy of. We do encourage residents to walk around with our assessors and ask any questions they may have. 
 If I don’t do the suggestions and a wildfire comes through, will I be penalized? 
 No, these are strictly suggestions and have no effect if a wildfire comes through your property. 

How to Make Your Home FireSmart 

Sparks and embers can be thrown up to 2 km ahead of a wildfire. These can ignite materials on or near your home, which can be potentially devastating. These FireSmart guidelines will help you create a defensible space around your home, minimizing your fire risk. 

What is the FireSmart Home Ignition Zone?
The FireSmart Zone is the area around your home. When completing FireSmart actions on your property, start at your home and work your way outwards. Changes made to the area closest to your home and your home itself will have the greatest impact on reducing the risk of wildfire damage. 
Zone 1: Non Combustible Zone (Home and Yard - 0-1.5 meters) 

This should be a fire-resistant zone, free of all materials that could easily ignite from wildfire. A FireSmart yard includes smart choices for plants, shrubs, grass, and mulch. Selecting fire-resistant plants and materials will increase the likelihood of your home surviving a wildfire.

Here are some helpful tips to prepare your home and yard:

  • Remove debris such as leaves, twigs, and needles from around the house and under decks.
  • Remove trees, bushes, and other combustible materials from the first 10 meters around home. Coniferous trees (i.e fires, pines, junipers, cedars, etc) are highly flammable and should not be within 10 meters of your home.
  • Keep lawns mowed and irrigated.
  • Enclose decks with non-combustible materials to discourage the collection of debris and embers.
  • Ensure a clean, fire-resistant roof and clean eaves.
  • Enclose soffits and vents to ensure embers cannot enter.
  • Keep firewood piles and other items stacked a least 10 meters from the house, especially during wildfire season.
  • Remember to FireSmart any buildings or fences within 10 meters of the home as well.Ember Fire Fox
Zone 2: Fire Resistive Zone (Outer Yard – 1.5-10 Meters)
  • Remove accumulations of branches, needles, dry grass, and other debris from the ground.
  • Remove vegetation and small trees that may act as a “ladder”, carrying fire into the treetops.
  • Thin and space coniferous trees to a minimum of 3 metres apart to reduce hazards in this area.
  • Prune branches within 2 meters of the ground. Deciduous trees (having leaves) are an exception; they help to hinder fire spread, so their removal is discouraged.

Ember Fire Fox

Zone 3: Extended Zone ( Large yards and Neighborhoods – 10-30 Meters)
  • Look for opportunities to make a fire break by creating space between trees and other potential flammable vegetation. Thinning and pruning are effective.
  • Remove vegetation and small trees that may act as a “ladder”, carrying fire into the treetops.
  • Space trees 3 meters apart and prune branches within 2 meters of the ground. Deciduous trees (having leaves) are an exception; they help to hinder fire spread, so their removal is discouraged.
Your Neighbourhood

Many of the FireSmart recommendations relate to the assumption that you have direct control over the property within 30 meters of your home. If that is not the case, chat with your neighbours about FireSmart—share information and consider apply to be a FireSmart Neighbourhood Champion which is part of the FireSmart Canada Neighbourhood Recognition Program. This program recognizes neighourhoods that:

  • Complete a neighbourhood assessment and FireSmart plan.
  • Organize a local FireSmart committee.
  • Host a FireSmart event, such as a clean-up day.
  • Contribute in-kind or monetary support toward FireSmart actions.

Becoming a FireSmart Neighbourhood

FireSmart Canada’s Neighbourhood Recognition Program (NRP) is a national program developed to officially recognize neighbourhoods that have taken critical steps to reduce their vulnerability to wildland fire. The program focuses on bringing neighbours together to address threats on their respective properties, and those in common areas within the community.

Every neighbourhood first needs a Neighbourhood Champion, someone who is looking to improve their neighbourhood’s resilience to wildland fire while building relationships. The Neighbourhood Champion rallies their neighbours and acts as a point of contact between the Local FireSmart Coordinator and the residents. 

For more info on becoming a Neighbourhood Champion,  send us an email at firesmart@parklandcounty.com 


Key Websites 

FireSmart Alberta 

To learn more about FireSmart in our county, email our FireSmart team at firesmart@parklandcounty.com 

FireSmart, Intelli-feu and other associated Marks are trademarks of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).