Don Mortimer (right) and Anthony Bell (left) are working to promote and deliver Rossland’s FireSmart Rebate Program. (D. Mortimer photo)

Don Mortimer (right) and Anthony Bell (left) are working to promote and deliver Rossland’s FireSmart Rebate Program. (D. Mortimer photo)

Rossland’s FireSmart program offers incentive to reduce fire risk

Don’t wait, get FireSmart hazard assessment and receive rebate for costs to make property safe

Being FireSmart can pay off for Rossland residents.

With a hot and dry wildfire season upon us, the City of Rossland is encouraging residents to clear their properties of fire hazards and in return receive cash payments for labour and material costs.

Rossland’s FireSmart Rebate Program is offering property owners a rebate of up to $500 for qualified FireSmart hazard reduction work performed on their homes and yards.

“The program has a limited amount of rebate dollars available so we are prioritizing and offering this opportunity to around 200 properties located in the neighbourhoods with the greatest wildfire risk – basically homes located close to the forested edge of town,” explained FireSmart program advisor Don Mortimer.

Eligible properties will receive a door hanger invitation with information on how to register for the program. After registering, homeowners will have a free, no obligation FireSmart hazard assessment conducted on their home and yard by a FireSmart assessor.

Following the assessment, homeowners can work with the FireSmart assessor to identify priority hazard items and then perform the required hazard reduction work.

The total material costs and labour, at $25.43 per hour, are tracked and homeowners will be reimbursed for 50 per cent of costs up to the $500 rebate per property on a $1,000-plus expenditure.

“We’ll pay for your time and materials on replacement of non-FireSmart roof, deck and siding materials – even vents and windows,” said Mortimer.

FireSmart alternatives include cleaning out gutters and closing up eaves, and moving firewood and building materials away from the home.

Residents are also encouraged to remove or maintain wildfire hazardous vegetation such as long grass, coniferous shrubs, and trees located close to their homes or out-buildings and replace them with FireSmart vegetation such as deciduous shrubs and trees.

“First of all, we remind eligible residents to register now, rebates are limited and applicants will be processed on a first come first serve basis,” advises Mortimer. “And second: get your FireSmart hazard reduction work done now.

“When a wildfire is approaching your property under hot and dry conditions, you will not have time to do that FireSmart work. We hear this time and again from residents that have experienced wildfire threat and property loss.

“Don’t wait – it’ll be too late.”

Property owners in any of Rossland’s FireSmart Neighbourhood Program ‘recognized’ neighbourhoods – can apply.

B.C. Wildfires 2021Kootenay Boundary Regional DistrictRossland