Skip to content

Rossland’s FireSmart program shovel-ready for 2024-25

Residents can access up to a $1,000 rebate for fire hazard reduction work done on homes and yards
Rossland neighbourhoods participated in FireSmart’s Wildfire Hazard Clean Up Day on April 27. Photo: Don Mortimer

With wildfire season already upon us, one of the most important initiatives to mitigate wildfire risks in the area is the City of Rossland’s FireSmart Program and Action Plan.

FireSmart coordinator Don Mortimer and wildfire forest professional Tove Pashkowski updated council on its progress in 2024 and 2025 at the May 6 council meeting.

FireSmart is essentially an interface fire loss reduction program which is tackled on two fronts, says Mortimer.

“We like to reduce the high-intensity fire that can come towards the town by doing fuel treatments in the adjacent coniferous forests and we also want to make the structures within the neighbourhoods of the city area more resistant to ignition by putting FireSmart principles in place on those structures and the immediate yards surrounding them.”

Rossland’s FireSmart program received provincial funding from the Community Resiliency Investment program and FireSmart Community Funding and Supports totaling $400,000 that will carry them through the next two years.

The funds will implement various programs including public education, community planning, inter-agency cooperation, emergency planning, training, a green spaces program, and FireSmart activities for residential areas.

The increased budget has allowed the FireSmart program to hire coordinator Lee Hanrahan, a member of the Rossland Fire Department, with training and experience fighting wildland fires.

The FireSmart program has been very active of late hosting a forum at the Miner’s Hall on May 13, as well as Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and Wildfire Hazard Clean Up on April 27.

The FireSmart Assessment and Mitigation Rebate Program is back better than ever and homeowners can now access up to $1,000 (compared to $500 last year) for FireSmart hazard reduction work performed on their homes and yards.

Mortimer also promotes the FireSmart Neighbour Recognition program that mobilizes whole neighbourhoods to reduce wildfire hazards.

Rossland has had 13 neighbourhoods entered into the program and 10 that are currently active.

“The neighbourhoods are strategically organized around the perimeter where we have the greatest potential for wildfire ingress into the properties because of the vegetation continuous outside the yards,” explained Mortimer.

Through the program, residents take responsibility for their properties and think and act collectively about wildfire mitigation.

Pashkowski has worked with the city and the FireSmart program since 2012 on fuel treatment and wildfire resiliency in local forests.

The wildfire consultant showed photos of areas near Rossland that have been recently cleared of potential wildfire debris with a focus on thinning understorey and overstory, as well as surface fuel reduction.

Pashkowski says that with funding from provincial and community grants, the city has completed about 43 hectares of fuel treatment around the perimeter of the community. Teck has also completed about the same amount on their own private land.

Currently, there are 13 shovel-ready projects ready to go and are available for funding, while some of the areas that have already been treated need to be monitored and maintained.

Councillor Stewart Spooner inquired if there are areas that need wildfire mitigation that can’t be accessed.

“That’s going to be the next biggest challenge for this community, and almost every community in B.C.,” said Pashkowski. “There is large areas of private land owned both by large private landowners as well as by not large private landowners, which is what the FireSmart activities are about.

“Once you put them all together it’s large areas, and trying to find ways to incentivize and motivate either these companies or individuals to take action on their land … it’s a challenge for sure.”

For more information go online to or

Jim Bailey

About the Author: Jim Bailey

Read more