Kelowna homeowners are getting FireSmart and reducing the risk of wildfire impacts on their property, thanks to a new Kelowna community chipping pilot program
“This is the time of year to take the actions that will make a real difference,” says urban forester Tara Bergeson with the City of Kelowna. “Removing vegetation from your property that is hazardous when it comes to wildfire spread is a key step — especially the plants located within 10 metres of your home. This protects you, your family, and your neighbourhood.”
The pilot program is target to select neighbourhoods this spring including Dilworth, Magic Estates, McKinley, Quail Ridge, Gallagher’s area, Mission Ridge and parts of Kettle Valley and Black Mountain, and offers free removal and chipping of specific woody debris: cedar, juniper, mugo pine, and fir, pine and spruce branches.
Residents in those areas can remove these materials from around their home and pile them curbside for pick up according to the schedule, which can be found online at kelowna.ca/firesmart.
[photo] An overgrown Mungo Pine shelters stacks of dried branches and pine needles.
“Many of the homes in the pilot area have significantly more traditional landscaping that contain flammable plants and shrubs,” says Bergeson. “In many cases, newer neighbourhoods have incorporated FireSmartTM landscaping already designed to reduce wildfire risks.”
Every week between mid-April and mid-July, a City-contracted truck equipped with a woodchipper will follow a scheduled route through parts of Kelowna to pick up these materials. Debris will not be picked up if it contains broadleaf (deciduous) trees, roots, dirt, rocks, gravel, grasses, or other non-organic materials (e.g. rope, twine).
Find additional information about FireSmartTM landscaping and how to reduce risks of wildfire impacts on privately owned property in the BC FireSmartTM Homeowner’s Guide (printed copies are available at the City of Kelowna Parks Administration Office, 1359 KLO Road). For a full schedule and details on acceptable materials, visit kelowna.ca/firesmart.
The community chipping pilot program is funded through the Union of BC Municipalities and is part of our year-round commitment to reducing risk of wildfires. There is potential for this program to expand to other parts of Kelowna in coming years if the pilot program proves successful.
|Magic Estates||April 25-29|
|Quail Ridge||May 9-13|
|Black Mountain||May 16-20|
|Mission Ridge||June 6-10|
|Kettle Valley||June 13-17|