Nelson Fire and Rescue Services is encouraging residents to remove deadfall, woody debris, coniferous plants and long grasses from around their homes to minimize the risk of fire from falling embers. This is especially the case given the dry summers and serious wildfire seasons we have seen over the past few years.
Up to 90 per cent of structures lost due to wildfires catch fire from falling hot embers from fires up to two kilometres away – not from the fire itself! Hot embers from wildfires travel on wind currents and can drop anywhere throughout our community. In addition to removing the dry woody debris from around your home, we strongly recommend removing decorative cedars, junipers, pines and tall grasses near your home. An amendment to the Landscape Bylaw in 2019 prohibits the planting of new coniferous plants within 1.5 metres of any structure.
While we certainly understand that these plants look good, grow easily and are quite common, it is important to know that they ignite very easily from falling embers and once burning will start homes and other structures on fire. Removing these plants and other easily combustible materials such as jute or coir mats from doorways is an easy, yet very important step to protecting your home during fire season. Don’t stack firewood against or near your home and don’t forget to remove the dry debris from your eave troughs as well.
We suggest the best way for residents to rid their properties of these fuels is to take them to the Grohman Narrows Transfer Station. Charges are only $5 per load for yard waste loads up to 2.5 cubic metres ($50 for large loads and $25/tonne if chipped) and thanks to the RDCK, there is no charge for the month of May. For more information regarding charges and what is acceptable please go to rdck.ca.
Alternatively, a burn period has been approved (subject to weather and local fire conditions) beginning Thursday, April 1 to Sunday, May 16. Permits are required for all those wanting to participate. This extended burn period is for the purpose of reducing non-compostable woody debris, which is clean, dry, unstained/ untreated wood resulting from residential yard clean up. This does not include the burning of vegetative matter that can be easily composted such as leaves, grass clippings, vegetable stalks or similar. Remember to check for proper venting daily, before you burn.
Permits must be acquired in person at Nelson Fire and Rescue Services, located at 919 Ward St. Payment for the $10 fee can be paid by cash or cheque at the time of issuance. Those burning must provide proof of fire insurance for the property where the burning will take place.
Residents are required to follow the Ministry of Environment’s Venting Index guidelines and only burn on days when venting is listed as “Good” on the day of burning to minimize the accumulation of smoke in the air. Residents are also required to report to Nelson Fire and Rescue Services on the days they intend to burn. Contravention of the bylaw may result in suspension or revocation of the permit and/or a fine or fee for service.
In effort to further decrease the fuel load on private property throughout the city, Nelson Fire and Rescue Services is offering removal of owner collected piles of yard waste and woody debris. This offer is for seniors 70 years of age or older, or people with limited abilities. There is limited availability, and a FireSmart Home Assessment must be completed to be eligible. To apply, please call Nelson Fire and Rescue Services during office hours (Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at 250-352-3103.