Rural residents in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) are now being urged to check if their property is in a fire protection zone.
Local fire departments are not funded to service properties located outside the regional district’s fire protection zones, so property fires in those areas can go unattended.
Last November, Round Lake resident Katrina Hill watched her house burn the ground. Since her home was not in a fire coverage area, the local fire department was not sent to the fire.
Hill said she knew her home was not in the fire coverage area when she bought the property, but she thought she could pay the fire department to fight the fire.
It was not until the day of the fire that she realized the fire department would not come, so she had to stand by and watch her own home burn.
The west boundary of Burns Lake’s rural fire protection area is Kissock Road, approximately eight kilometres from town; the east boundary is located approximately 11 km from Burns Lake.
The Southside is covered from Francois Lake to Tatalaska Lake, located southwest of Francois Lake, and to Uncha Lake, located southeast of Francois Lake.
The Village of Granisle is only covered within its municipal boundaries.
Residents can check if their property is within the fire protection zones through the RDBN’s website: http://www.rdbn.bc.ca/planning-department/mapping
Residents can apply to the regional district as individuals or groups to have their properties included in the protection zone. However, the decision lies in the hands of the nearest fire department. If that fire department concludes it cannot logistically provide the service because the distance is too far, it can refuse the application.
Groups of residents can also apply for other localized services, such as week harvesting or the installation of a street light.
Their taxes would then be adjusted to pay for the service, if it is approved.
Last year, Round Lake residents successfully petitioned to have a dry hydrant installed by the RDBN.
The new zone ends on Quick West Road, just down the road from the property where Katrina Hill’s house burned to the ground last November.
For more information about localized services and fire protection, contact the RDBN on 250-692-3195.