North

Enterprise, N.W.T., aims to be first community North of 60 that's FireSmart certified

'We need to do what we can while the wildfire situation is good,' says Enterprise fire chief Blair Porter.

'We need to do what we can while the wildfire situation is good,' says fire chief

Enterprise, N.W.T., could be the first community north of 60 to get FireSmart certified. (Submitted by Blair Porter)

Enterprise could be the first community in the Northwest Territories to be recognized as FireSmart.

"We need to do what we can while the wildfire situation is good," said Enterprise fire chief Blair Porter.

"Make sure that the next time when something happens that we'll be as prepared for it as we can be."

Enterprise fire chief Blair Porter. (Submitted by Blair Porter)

The FireSmart program is a set of preventative measures to avoid excessive damage from wildfires. The process can include removing fuel sources like dead branches, installing a sprinkler system, or thinning trees.

Porter has been working since March to get Enterprise recognized as a FireSmart community, but the program requires constant upkeep.

"FireSmart's not a one-time thing that you reduce the threat to your community and it's done," said FireSmart provincial liaison Westly Steed.

"Every year you have to continue to do FireSmart activities."

Getting recognition status is a seven-step process. It involves a site visit from a local FireSmart representative, a fire prevention plan, and an implementation schedule.

'Do the very best we can'

The program has an estimated $40,000 budget this year to pay for tree removal, labour, and promoting awareness. Firefighters will be FireSmarting all of the homes in Enterprise that wish to participate.

"It's important for our community to ensure that we can do the very best we can to protect buildings and the community from wildfire," said Enterprise's senior administrative officer, Tammy Neal.

Porter said many small communities in the Northwest Territories are surrounded by woods and don't have the resources to fight fires. FireSmarting is something that "can actually save communities from wildfires."

Porter is also working to implement bylaws requiring new buildings to meet FireSmart standards. He says the entire hamlet needs to support the program for it to be effective.

Enterprise is anticipated to have recognition status by the end of the year.

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