FNESS Backs Community-Driven FireSmart Efforts 

Jul 10, 2024

The FNESS FireSmart team has been actively engaging with First Nation communities, providing essential education and outreach to share the importance of wildfire resilience. This collaborative effort is making a significant impact, thanks to the strong partnerships with Band staff, Councils, schools, and community organizations.

Engaging Youth and Communities in St’át’imc Nation

On May 3 and 4, with the support of the Lillooet Tribal Council, the FNESS FireSmart team visited three schools— Cayoosh Creek Elementary, Lillooet Secondary, and George M. Murray Elementary. The team introduced nearly 220 K-12 students to FireSmart practices using fun and engaging interactive sessions and the lovable mascot, Ember the FireSmart Fox. Additionally, they presented to community members in Sekw’el’was and Ts’kw’aylaxw and supported a cleanup event in Xaxli’p with the support of BCAA insurance and BC Wildfire Service.

“Starting wildfire education at a young age is essential for building long-term resilience.”
– Dan Stevens, FireSmart Education and Outreach Coordinator

FireSmart BC offers a free education program that aligns with the BC curriculum, providing teachers with valuable resources to teach the importance of FireSmart.

FNESS staff member, Dan Stevens teaching children in a school library.
FNESS staff member helping a community member rake leaves.

FNESS FireSmart Education & Outreach Coordinators Dan Stevens (right) & Malina Garner (left) participate in the St’át’imc Nation weekend events.

Community Education & Outreach

Throughout the spring, the team continued to engage with various communities, ensuring widespread outreach and support. On April 30 and May 1, the FNESS FireSmart team participated in multi-agency presentations in Witset alongside the First Nation Healthy Authority, BC Wildfire Service, and RDBN Emergency Support Services focusing on collaboration and wildfire preparedness.  This was followed by a busy schedule in May, starting with hosting a booth at a career fair for the Lower Nicola Indian Band on May 15. The same day, the team supported Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc at their emergency preparedness open house.

Workshop in a gym
bunch of tents set up in a powwow arbour

Witset First Nation hosted a Multi-Agency Emergency Preparedness Presentation for community members on April 30th (left), and Lower Nicola Indian Band hosted a career fair event for local youth on May 15th (right).

On May 18, FireSmart initiatives were presented to Skwlāx te Secwepemcúl̓ecw. May 23 was particularly eventful, with the team engaging in an emergency readiness and FireSmart presentation in Ts’il Kaz Koh and supporting Kanaka Bar with their Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event. The FNESS FireSmart team is committed to working alongside Nations to support FireSmart education and outreach events.

The outreach momentum continued at the Sensisyusten House of Learning in Westbank First Nation on May 24 where 60 students learned about FireSmart and Ember the FireSmart Fox. The end of May saw the team in Chawathil, in collaboration with the FNESS Wildfire Team and FNESS Fire Services, to provide resources and engage with the community.

The outreach continued into June. The FNESS FireSmart team partnered with the FNESS Wildfire team to host a booth in Leq’a:mel for their Emergency Preparedness event on June 7. This event highlighted the importance of readiness and community involvement in mitigating wildfire risks. The event was a great success and included community comradery, great information, and fantastic food.

Attendees of the Wildfire Preparedness Day presentation pose for a photo.

Kanaka Band Bar hosted Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 23.

Join the FireSmart Movement with FNESS

The FNESS FireSmart team remains committed to supporting First Nation communities on their FireSmart Journeys. If you are interested in hosting a free community or school FireSmart presentation in your First Nation or would like our support at your FireSmart or emergency preparedness event, please email us.

Contact the FNESS FireSmart Team