Rossland City Council adopted the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and at the same time updated its FireSmart program.
FireSmart coordinator Don Mortimer of Fireline Consulting and Instruction Ltd. attended Rossland council to deliver an update on the 2021 FireSmart Program.
“There is always new things coming down the pipe,” said Mortimer. “We’ve got a minimum of 10 sub-programs in all of our program years, so we’re working on the 2020, 2019 program years, just getting them finished up.”
B.A. Blackwell and Associates also presented its comprehensive CWPP, which was first implemented across the province following the tragic 2003 Kelowna wildfires.
The CWPP is a toolbox that can be used to review and assess areas of identified high fire risk within the Golden City.
The report helps guide the improvement and development of emergency plans, emergency response, evacuation plans, communication and education programs (including FireSmart), bylaw development in areas of fire risk, and the management of potentially hazardous forest lands within and adjacent to municipal boundaries.
“This was really a thorough review done by a consultant and so there was quite a few new excellent information that everyone should know about to keep our community safe,” said Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore. “So that dovetailed really nice with the presentation from Don Mortimer of Fireline Consulting about our FireSmart program.”
Rossland has been invested in fire mitigation projects since 2010, and it’s FireSmart Communities Program started in 2017. The community embraced the program and has seen fuel management reduction on approximately 64 hectares of Crown, provincial, and municipal lands.
Eight Rossland neighbourhoods take part in the program, and annually clear brush and debris from their yards and replace hazardous vegetation.
The city and its FireSmart program have also engaged large private land holders in a collaborative effort to complete fuel management projects.
Communities across the Kootenays have implemented the program.
“I think you would have to say that wildfire is on everyone’s horizon these days,” said Mortimer. “Not a summer goes by where we’re not reminded by a real strong smoke inundation event.”
FireSmart also rolled out a rebate program this year, where residents can reclaim up to $500 of their expenses in clearing fuel from their land.
Upgrades to the FireSmart website provides key information on how to mitigate fires starting with your own home, and working out into the community and beyond.
Residents can get a free home property assessment and apply for the wildfire mitigation rebate from Jan. 15 to Mar. 9, to help your community work towards becoming FireSmart – organize a clean up day, host a workshop and raise awareness.
Go to firesmartbc.ca for more information or rossland.civicweb.net to view the FireSmart update and CWPP report.