Latest threat to agriculture in Okanagan is wildfire

Wildfires burning west of Oliver and Osoyoos in August, 2015 threatened several vineyards in the area.

PENTICTON - Being prepared for the next wildfire on the farm or vineyard is what a new program offered by B.C. Agriculture is all about.

Agriculturalists now have more to worry about than what weather or pests will do to their crops and livestock as climate change has introduced wildfire damage into the equation.

The increasing risk has prompted the province to develop a draft agriculture wildfire mitigation and preparedness plan template to aid farmers in planning and recovering from the consequences of a wildfire damaging their property.

Two workshops are planned for mid-February to walk agricultural producers through a planning procedure to provide an understanding of on-site wildfire hazards and prepare agriculturalists in the event of a wildfire.

The workshops will use the template to walk agriculturalists through a step by step planning process that will help them develop wildfire plans by better understanding wildfire hazards, developing site and asset maps, and pointing out ways to reduce combustible materials.

Other topics will cover sprinkler protection and use, insurance and recovery information, and the use of fire resistant materials.

The two workshops — one for vineyards and horticulture-field crop producers and a second one for livestock producers — are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 13 and Wednesday, Feb. 14, respectively, at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and Conference Centre in Penticton. The workshops run from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with morning coffee and lunch provided on both days.

Those wishing to register should RSVP by email at or call 250-215-5589.

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