Nelson Fire and Rescue Services is encouraging you to remove deadfall, woody debris and long grasses from around your home 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.
“This is about being proactive and being FireSmart,” says Chief Len MacCharles. “Now is the time of year to make a difference around your home and our community for the coming wildfire season. It doesn’t matter if you live on the edge of town or near city centre — your home could be at risk. Together we can reduce the impact of wildfire in our community.”
Up to 90 per cent of homes lost due to wildfires catch fire from falling hot embers from fires up to two kilometers 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.
MacCharles says while he understands these plants look good, grow easily and are quite common, 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 straw, 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.”
The fire department says the best way for residents to rid their properties of these fuels is to take them to the Grohman Narrows transfer station. Charges are $5 per load for yard waste loads up to 2.5 cubic metres ($50 for large loads and $25 per tonne if chipped) and thanks to the RDCK, there is no charge for the month of May.
Alternatively, a burn period has been approved (subject to weather and local fire conditions) beginning Friday, April 12 to Monday, May 20 (inclusive). 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.
Permits must be acquired in person from the Nelson fire hall at 919 Ward Street, and 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. 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.