Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper

Column: Do what you can to be fire smart

It's been a long winter and a slow cool start to spring. Now that seasonal spring weather appears to be upon us it time for yard work and garden cleanup.

It’s been a long winter and a slow cool start to spring. Now that seasonal spring weather appears to be upon us it time for yard work and garden cleanup.

This year there is no reason to wait for “free dump days” all CSRD landfill sites accept yard and the garden waste, free of charge, everyday they are open. Removing yard and garden waste from your yard is a way to protect your home in case of a wildfire.

While it appears spring has just begun if this year is similar to 2017 then we move fairly from spring runoff and high water to dry weather to the possibility of wildfires quickly. So becoming Fire Smart is important.

The City of Salmon Arm with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) have comprehensive emergency plans with well trained staff and volunteers ready to move into action quickly if needed.

The reality is we live a beautiful natural region of forests lakes and watercourses. So we should all be prepared for an emergency and there is much you can do to be “Fire Smart.”

The Home Owners FireSmart Manual is available at City Hall and at the CSRD office. This manual states the best protection against loss, damage, or injury due to wildfire is prevention. The following suggestions are from the FireSmart Manual.

All kinds of vegetation is combustible. Mature trees, shrubs, grass and your woodpile are potential fuels that can ignite easily. This manual suggests you manage the space around your home. Your first priority is your home so start by clearing a 10 metre area around your home and buildings. Remove shrubs, trees, deadfall or woodpiles and keep your grass mowed and watered. Take any yard or garden waste to the landfill. Remember is free.

Your second priority is the next 10 to 30 metres. Reduce fuels by thinning and pruning all trees and shrubs so combustion (a fire) cannot be supported. Do this by removing trees and debris that can spread a fire. Again, take all of this to the landfill.

The FireSmart Manual has many more ways to protect your home from wildfires so pick one up either at City Hall or the CSRD Office, or look it up on the CSRD website csrd.ca type FireSmart in the search section and follow the links to download a copy of the FireSmart booklet for yourself or read it online.

And while do all your spring year and garden cleanup, develop your own Fire Smart plan and put it into action.

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