With the fire risk high, Sooke Fire Rescue is selling sprinkler devices that are designed to help protect homes in the event of a wildfire.
Matt Barney, deputy fire chief, says the highest risk of damage to homes near wildfires is from travelling embers.
“In probably about 90 per cent of when there’s a wildfire in the interface or an intermix that’s what causes your house to catch on fire is because the embers that are being thrown,” Barney said in an interview with CHEK News.
“The main idea for any type of wildfire is to raise the level of humidity around your property and keep things moist.”
To help with this, Sooke Fire is selling WASP Patented Gutter Mount Sprinkler System and helping homeowners find the best place to mount them in order to help protect against wildfire damage.
“Because of our experiences and with our deployments and things that we’ve done to other areas within the province, and knowing the hazards that wildfire is and the increasing probability that one’s going to happen in our area there, these systems were developed,” Barney said.
“In case they have to evacuate, or anything else like that, they would know that, ‘OK, we’ve got a good chance that we’d be able to save our house if we have to and we utilize them properly.'”
Barney says the sprinklers are available for purchase for Sooke residents, as well as residents from neighbouring communities with volunteer fire departments, and Sooke Fire will send someone to help educate on installation.
“We do provide education on them and we do even do a site visit to say, ‘okay, this is where the best place for you to be able to put them,'” Barney said.
“Then we also deal with it within our Fire Smart Coordinator that we have about, you know, making sure that OK, just because you have these sprinklers it’s still not the end all be all, there’s things you should be able to do with your property to make it even that much safer.”
Barney says Sooke Fire has been selling the sprinklers for six or seven years, and the department has sold around 200 in that time.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had the ability to see the damage and stuff like that so we can say houses that have been sprinkled that have gone through fire front, they have been protected by these sprinklers and the B.C. Wildfire uses the same sprinkler system.” Barney said.
“They actually have like 2,500 that they have in a trailer and hang these on the houses that they require stuff like that, to be able to assist it.”
He says while these don’t guarantee no damage to a house in the event of a wildfire, they do help prevent damage.
“It has proven that it could help protect houses from being being destroyed by fire,” Barney said. “I’ve also seen it on the other side, even know that the house has been greatly sprinklered it’s still unfortunately succumbed to the fire just because of the nature of the heat.”