Andrew Hunsberger

Andrew Hunsberger

Residents encouraged to protect their homes from wildfire

The caretaker's home at the top of Knox Mountain Park is being used as an example of how homes can be protected.

The caretaker’s home at the top of Knox Mountain Park should be in good shape if a wildfire starts in the region.

This past spring, City of Kelowna and Kelowna Fire Department crews applied FireSmart standards to protect the home and nearby structures.

The work has reduced the odds of the home incurring fire damage and is now being used by the city to demonstrate how residents living near forested regions can protect their homes from wildfire.

“We’ve put what we’ve done to this house and the surrounding area onto (an) information board so that people, as they come up, can actually see what has been done,” said Rick Euper, fire and life safety educator with the Kelowna Fire Department.

Euper said the FireSmart guidelines divide a property into three priority zones. The first priority includes the house and 10 metres that surround it.

“We’ve put one metre of rock around the base, we’ve also cleared away any brush that would be a hazard (and) screened any openings to the building,” said Euper.

Andrew Hunsberger, urban forest health technician with the City of Kelowna, explained zone two focuses on the area 10 to 30 metres from the home and zone three includes the rest of the property up to 100 metres from any structures.

“We’d like to (see) some thinning of the forest, some pruning,” said Hunsberger.

“The idea is, if there is a fire, to keep the fire on the ground (and) keep it at a low-intensity surface fire that’s not going to get up into the trees.”

Fire officials have already held a meeting with residents living in the Gallagher’s Canyon region, and they’re hoping to engage with McKinley Landing and neighbouring Clifton Road residents, as well as the Quail Ridge community.

“The meeting consists of getting people together and trying to get somebody in that community to take charge,” said Euper.

FireSmart Canada developed a community recognition program in 2012 to identify neighbourhoods that have taken steps to protect their homes.

“We’ll recognize them as a FireSmart community; they’ll get a sign for their community to proudly display,” said Kelly Johnston, executive director with FireSmart.

“The homes are the most vulnerable point, that’s what makes all of these fires a disaster in these areas…if the homes can’t burn, it’s not really a disaster.”

Euper said the fire department responds to approximately 50 complaints annually regarding forest fuels on neighbouring properties.

“We’ll go and take a look at it and we’ll work with that neighbour to get it cleaned up.”

He noted new developments in interface areas are required to do mitigation work before building can proceed.

“(It’s) really great that happens because it assures that before the neighbourhood goes in (and) the houses go up, that fuel mitigation work is taken care of by the developer,” said Hunsberger.

According to Hunsberger, mitigation work is best done in the fall, winter or spring.

For more information about FireSmart, visit bcwildfire.ca/prevention/firesmart.htm.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Twitter: @PatersonWade

 

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Joe Rich residents want logging operations in the area to stop for now until they get more clarity on slope stability and risks to the Mission Creek watershed. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Joe Rich logging poses watershed risk: residents

Area residents want the logging to stop in the area for the time being

Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Former Vernon teacher found guilty of historic sex crimes against minors

Anoop Singh Klair was found guilty of all eight charges against him in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday

An algal bloom on Wood Lake has residents concerned for the body of water's health. (Wendy Innes-Shaw)
‘Wood Lake looks seriously unwell’: Lake Country residents

Algal bloom appears to be getting worse, and stinky

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

.
Kelowna, Lake Country high schools exposed to virus

COVID-19 exposures listed at George Elliot, École Kelowna Friday

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

KCR Migrant Support Worker, Javier, had an exciting day escorting his son Ian with him during ‘Take your Child to Work Day’!
KCR: Volunteering is being part of a whole

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

The real estate market is hot in Vernon, and across the Okanagan. (John Dent photo)
North Okanagan home prices, demand continue to build

Single family home volumes up 200 per cent, worth average $647,000

A wildfire southeast of Vernon has been added to the BC Wildfire dashboard Friday, May 14, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire sparks southeast of Vernon

The fire appears to be in a remote area east of Aberdeen Lake

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Enderby’s Small Axe Roadhouse was the subject of nasty backlash after installing two busty beer towers. (Facebook)
Enderby bar’s busty beer taps to stay put despite backlash

‘Many folks have mansplained to us that we are sexist, misogynistic…’

Most Read