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.
With wildfires rampant in the West Kootenay, Rossland FireSmart Program coordinator Don Mortimer is encouraging residents to do the FireSmart work they need to do, now.
“FireSmart hazard reduction is simple and it doesn’t cost much.
“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 recommends that residents, especially those living on or near the forested edge of town, 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.”
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, remove those items. If it’s vegetation, bring it down to the arena parking lot dumpsters and if it’s firewood or building materials, move them 10 metres away from your house or store them in a FireSmart shed or outbuilding constructed to FireSmart guidelines.
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.
The structure can even be made of wood, and 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.
“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,” added Mortimer.
“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.”
For more info see: City of Rossland FireSmart website: www.rossland.ca/firesmart-program, FireSmart BC: firesmartbc.ca/, and FireSmart Canada: www.firesmartcanada.ca/.