By Andrea Arnold

The Village of Valemount is purchasing roof-top sprinklers that will be deployed on 14 critical pieces of infrastructure and Village-owned buildings in the event of wildfire. The Village of Valemount was successful in their application to The Small Community Wildfire Readiness Support program offered by the Columbia Basin Trust. CBT is providing 12 small communities and First Nations with the ability to reduce the threat of wildfires.

“As climate change makes the threat of wildfire all the more prevalent, these projects are helping Basin communities prepare well in advance to prevent fire and minimize damage, ensuring that they have the necessary resources to save properties and protect well-being,” said Natasha Barisoff, Manager, Delivery of Benefits, Columbia Basin Trust.

“Hot embers from wildfire can travel far and rapidly start a roof fire, leading to structure loss,” said Eric Depenau, Chief Administrative Officer. “The sprinkler system will help protect the structures against these wind‐blown embers — plus radiant heat and direct flame contact — by creating a moisture barrier around each structure.”

The buildings that were identified in the application are the Valemount Community Hall, Community Services Building, Village office/Visitor Information Centre, Courthouse, Water Treatment building, Public Works Yard/office, Museum, Library, Sewer treatment plant, Public Works log building, water pump house, airport terminal, control building and fuel tanks.

The WASP Patented Gutter Mount Sprinkler System is a suppression system that was only recently made public to homeowners. Prior to this, it was only available to the firefighting community.  According to the WASP website, the system comes with quality agricultural grade sprinkler heads rated up to a 33’ (10m) spray radius (may vary with water pressure available). The head is able to work with very low pressure, conserving water while drawing from existing hose taps.

CAO Depenau said the Village does not have a date on the delivery of the systems, but that they intend to have them in place for this season. Once they have arrived, Public Works will be performing the installations.