The residents of Kelowna know wildfires all too well! Particularly, the Central Okanagan has seen devastating wildfires, including the Kelowna Mountain Park Fire in 2003, and the White Rock Lake fire in 2021. Both of these fires displaced tens of thousands of individuals (CBC 2021).
The fires cause poor air quality during the smoky wildfire season. What's wrose, the fires destroy landscapes and homes! In the past twenty years, the Central Okanagan alone had over 30,000 hectares burn (“Wildfire Season Summary - Province of British Columbia'' 2021).
Kelowna is exposed to low air quality on a near-annual basis due to wildfires happening throughout the western part of North America. With this in mind, every step counts as you protect your property against the wildfires!
The most vital area that needs to be protected is around your home! The City of Kelowna advises residents to remove all hazardous vegetation within 10 meters of your home. This includes the collection of dry, dead, and fine materials. For example, you should remove all dry needles and conifer prunings (“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program” 2022).
In 2022, the City of Kelowna started a new initiative called FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program. This FREE program helps the residents of Kelowna to mitigate the threat of wildfires. The city will collect highly flammable materials from your property. The pick=up service will be for dry and/or dead materials from cedar trees, juniper bushes, mugo pines, and conifer shrubs and branches. Please note that leafy tree materials are NOT collected for this initiative.
All other organic materials such as dirt, grasses, rocks, gravel, and flowers must go into your green waste bin. The green bins will still be picked up throughout the entire time of this initiative because these materials are not suitable for the wood chipper.
The City of Kelowna has a schedule posted on their website that outlines the streets and days that the collection services will follow. The following 8 areas will be serviced this year:
Please note: the neighborhoods are chosen due to t higher rate of flammable materials in the landscapes. (“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program” 2022)
CBC. 2021. “A look back at the 2021 BC wildfire season.” CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-wildfires-2021-timeline-1.6197751.
“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program.” 2022. City of Kelowna. https://www.kelowna.ca/city-services/safety-emergency-services/fire-department/firesmart-kelowna/firesmart-community-chipping-pilot-program#msdynttrid=OHOMXv9deHu6YuMMr-v0klmfP6YmFPQUkKgqZdS82lw.
“Wildfire Season Summary - Province of British Columbia.” 2021. Gov.bc.ca. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/about-bcws/wildfire-history/wildfire-season-summary#stats.