With fires raging just a province away, an updated wildfire plan for flame-weary Kelowna couldn’t be more timely.
So, when city staff presented city council with 17 recommendations to undertake in the next five years, it was a relief to learn that nine are already underway.
Among those initiatives are keeping basic fire suppression tools close to problematic areas; that grass and tree cutting is up to date along roadways and monitoring of dead and dying pine in urban and wildland interface areas.
On the backburner until a report later this summer examines feasibility options, however, is a significant education and awareness program and further reduction of fuel in interface areas—the latter of which is a costly proposition, noted Coun. Robert Hobson.
The city, he said, has to continue clearing the properties they’re responsible for but it should also work with the province to ensure they hold up their end of the bargain.
“I can think of a number of areas that are close to dead stuff,” he said. “Of equal or greater concern is large lots of Crown land with a tremendous amount of fuel in it.”
Even areas that were burned lightly in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain fire are a problem.
“Theres’a fair amount of flooding, and where it’s not flooding it’s very dry,” Hobson said. “I think it’s going to be a another year that’s a real problem.”
The updated report should be brought back to council in July.