This pre-COVID photo shows Rossland residents clearing the yard of potential combustible debris. Rossland’s FireSmart advisor is encouraging residents to clean up their yards and remove potential wildfire hazards. Photo: Submitted

This pre-COVID photo shows Rossland residents clearing the yard of potential combustible debris. Rossland’s FireSmart advisor is encouraging residents to clean up their yards and remove potential wildfire hazards. Photo: Submitted

Rossland FireSmart holds wildfire hazard clean-up day

Rossland’s FireSmart advisor encourages residents to fire-proof their yards this weekend

Peace of mind is worth a lot these days, especially in a time when wildfires are a growing threat to West Kootenay communities.

To help, Rossland’s FireSmart Program is encouraging all Rossland property owners to participate in a vegetation and yard debris cleanup day on Saturday, May 8.

Homeowners are being asked to spend a few hours in their yards to reduce accumulations of vegetation and debris that can contribute to wildfire spread when fire danger climbs later in the summer.

Residents can take advantage of free curbside pickup of their branches and vegetation from the wildfire hazard cleanup by leaving it curbside on May 10 for the city to pick up.

“We’d like to get residents, especially those living on or near the forested edge of town, to take a look at those coniferous (evergreen) trees growing within 10 metres of their homes and realize what a big hazard they present,” said Don Mortimer, Rossland resident and FireSmart Program advisor.

Mortimer is very clear about Rossland’s Wildfire Hazard Cleanup Day’s primary objective.

“Nearby wildfires can send burning embers into your yard and dry grass or other vegetation will ignite and quickly spread up through the lower branches of conifers, lighting up those conifers and possibly spread right onto your house.”

The FireSmart guideline says that home owners cannot have combustibles or vegetation close to their home (within 1.5 metres) and no conifers within 10 metres.

“People can be reluctant to remove trees but they have to recognize the hazard those conifers create,” said Mortimer. “If they’re going to keep those conifers in their yards, at least prune up and remove the lower branches and reduce the chance of that coniferous tree becoming a flaring torch and igniting your house.

“As we say, ‘Branches Low – Gotta Go’.”

Another concern of Mortimer’s is combustible garden mulch, which can be a real problem if it contacts combustible siding on the house or the lower branches of coniferous trees and bushes close to a deck or home.

“The mulch burns easily and on a hot, dry day when wildfire embers land on it, the flaming mulch will spread fire to ignite the house siding, deck posts and stairs or landscape conifers, like the rockery junipers, mugo pines or cedar bushes that in turn flare up and ignite the house.”

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