FireSmart BC Launches New Youth Education Program Following the Worst Wildfire Season in BC’s History

Victoria, BC, Sept. 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This back-to-school season comes after the worst wildfire season in BC’s history. To help students and educators learn about wildfire prevention and awareness, FireSmart BC has launched new teaching resources geared towards educators and students. 

The FireSmart BC Education Program offers free, comprehensive lesson plans and materials that introduce students to FireSmart concepts, equipping educators and students in grades K-6 with essential knowledge in fire resiliency. Grade 7-12 materials will be launched in October. 

The interactive and inclusive resources are aligned with the BC school curriculum to easily incorporate within existing lesson plans. Designed to make learning fun, the program will empower youth to become champions of fire safety in their communities. Education themes include safety, fire science, ecosystem stewardship, and wildfire mitigation and prevention. 

“As we reflect on the devastating wildfire season this year, it becomes increasingly evident that wildfire education is not an option, but a necessity,” said Rachel Woodhurst, FireSmart BC Program Lead. “One of the best ways to be FireSmart is to start young. By equipping teachers with tools to educate the next generation, we can collectively work towards creating safer and better prepared communities across BC.

"It's timely that FireSmart BC is providing resources that empower youth to become fire safety ambassadors," said Amanda Reynolds, FireSmart Supervisor for the First Nations' Emergency Services Society (FNESS). "The lessons and activities in the program include a wide variety of themes, including how Indigenous Peoples use fire to care for the land, which I'm excited about. Incorporating learnings from First Nations in BC is something that I feel is critical and will be appealing to educators.” 

Grades K-1 will learn the basics, including identifying the seasons when wildfire is most likely to occur and determining which items around a home are likely to burn. Grades 2-3 cover topics including best practices and design of FireSmart homes, as well as lessons on how First Peoples used fire to care for the land. Grades 4-6 take a broad view with lesson plans that include creating a FireSmart landscaping plan for public areas in their community, learning about the ecozone in which they live, and determining factors that can help make areas more FireSmart. 

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About FireSmart BC

FireSmart BC helps build wildfire resiliency and reduce the negative impacts of fire for everyone in the province. The BC FireSmart Committee was initiated by the BC Wildfire Service in May 2017 to provide direction for wildfire prevention activities. Members of the committee include the BC Wildfire Service, FireSmart Canada, the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, the Fire Chiefs’ Association of B.C., Emergency Management BC, the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C., the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of B.C., Indigenous Services Canada, Ministry of Forests - Regional Operations, Parks Canada, and B.C. Parks.

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FireSmart BC Education Program