The City of West Kelowna is urging homeowners and Westbank First Nation property owners to help protect their homes from wildfire.
Grants of up to $500 are available, on a first-come, first-serve basis, through the 2022 FireSmart program.
“FireSmart properties and neighbourhoods enable firefighters to deploy more of their resources directly towards wildfire response, which ultimately saves lives and homes,” said West Kelowna Fire Rescue Chief Jason Brolund. “Actions that Westside residents take within 10 metres of their homes will have the biggest impacts in reducing the threat of wildfire.”
Residents can apply for the grants on the city’s website and follow these steps:
- Download, print and complete a free, self-directed assessment at westkelownacity.ca/firesmart;
- Take photos before conducting the eligible FireSmart work and take photos after;
- Complete your grant application, including photos and receipts, and submit it to West Kelowna Fire Rescue at email@example.com or call 778-797-3200 for assistance.
FireSmart guidelines include the following:
- Cleaning eaves and installing gutter guards;
- Keeping needles raked, moving bark mulch from around the house, keeping grass cut to less than 10 centimetres and properly pruning or removing hedges, shrubs and trees away from your house;
- Moving firewood, fuel and propane tanks and other combustible materials 10 to 30 metres from your home.
“We see many situations where quickly ignitable pine limbs should be pruned away to keep needles from dropping on cedar shake roofs, or where a tree should be removed entirely to create a fire break between a home and nearby forest,” added Brolund. “Homeowners are also often unaware of fire hazards from cedar hedges. Although beautiful, and green on the outside, they are dry, dead, and extremely combustible on the inside.”