Rossland’s FireSmart Program offers free Wildfire Hazard Vegetation Debris Disposal

By Contributor
July 27th, 2021

With smoke filling the air and a hot and dry forecast for the wildfire season coming – the City of Rossland is offering a free wildfire hazard vegetation debris disposal opportunity to Rossland residents.

Residents can bring their wildfire hazard vegetation to the Rossland Arena and deposit it in specially designated dumpster bins.

Don Mortimer – Rossland FireSmart Program coordinator explains – “We’re hoping to get residents – motivated by the current fire danger – to do the FireSmart work they need to do – now – FireSmart hazard reduction is simple and it doesn’t cost much…”

Mortimer continues “Not to alarm anyone but rather to put some perspective on things… Rossland is one lightning strike away from having a potentially large wildfire burning close to town. Here’s the key point and everyone needs to understand this – a lightning strike ignition is a natural and inevitable occurrence – it’s nature’s way of maintaining healthy forests. The fact that houses are ignited when a wildfire approaches a townsite has much less to do with the wildfire and much more to do with the high flammability conditions that homeowners have established on their properties.”

Mortimer is very clear about what needs to happen – “Residents – especially those living on or near the forested edge of town – have to get serious about removing cedar hedges and juniper bushes, lower branches of conifer (evergreen) trees and long grass from their yards. If you don’t do this now – it will be too late when a forest fire is approaching the backyard fence.”

Mortimer advises property owners to draw an imaginary circle 10 metres – 30 feet away from and surrounding their house and look at the vegetation and other combustible items inside that circle. “Ask yourself – if you threw a handful of burning embers on those items under the hot and dry conditions we have in place now – would those trees, bushes, grass, firewood or piled building materials light up and spread fire to your home? If the answer is yes – you have to remove those items – if it’s vegetation – bring it down to the arena parking lot dumpsters – if it’s firewood or building materials – move them 10 metres away from your house or store them in a ‘FireSmart shed or outbuilding’ which means constructed to FireSmart guidelines.”

Mortimer continues “To be FireSmart – a shed or outbuilding features closed-up construction with no way for embers to get into or under the structure and no plants or combustible materials within 1.5 metres or 5 feet. A structure like that can even be made of wood – it can be placed right beside your house regardless of what’s in it… it’s ‘FireSmart mitigated’ if it meets the ‘ember proofing’ and combustible surface clearance requirements described previously.”

Mortimer summarizes – “So we’ve been talking about FireSmart mitigations that you can perform in your yard but the same approach applies to your house and there is lots of information available on how to reduce the wildfire hazard on your home and outbuildings as well as your yard.

Check out the following website resources:

City of Rossland FireSmart website:http://www.rossland.ca/firesmart-program

FireSmart BC:  https://firesmartbc.ca/

FireSmart Canada:  https://www.firesmartcanada.ca/

And of course – we have some great FireSmart brochures down at City Hall.

Mortimer concludes – “It’s that simple – no excuses – so let’s get FireSmart – you’ll sleep easier especially when you’re out of town on summer vacation…”

Categories: General

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