Is your home protected from a wildfire?

FireSmart certified landscaper says Kimberley homeowners need to be better prepared

Is your home protected from a wildfire?

Though the East Kootenay and the province at large hasn’t experienced the record breaking fire seasons we’ve seen in recent years, there are wildfires burning around the region and it’s important for homeowners to know how best to protect their properties.

As Kimberley’s local FireSmart representative, Steven Royer helps people become more aware of how to save their houses from burning.

He was approached by Kimberley’s Fire Chief Rick Prasad, who knew Royer owned a Royers Landscaping, and asked if he would be interested in becoming FireSmart certified.

Royer thought, ‘why not?’ and completed the online course in Cranbrook last October. Royer said that at the seminar in Cranbrook last year he was told that during the 2018 wildfire in the St. Mary’s Valley, Kimberley had a 90 per cent chance of losing all their homes, had the evacuation order come in.

“That was a wakeup call for me,” he said.

Make your home FireSmart

One of the most important things on the way to becoming FireSmart is understanding the “home ignition zone,” and keeping the zero to 10 metre radius around your house completely cleared of flammable debris such as pinecones and needles.

“It will stop the fire from going any farther, but you have to be very thorough,” Royer explained. “I think I’ve got about 10 houses now that I’ve converted to FireSmart, and basically it’s just mostly rockery, getting rid of the bark mulch, driftwood nuggets — anything that’s combustible around the house, get rid of it right away.”

He added he thinks “it’s amazing how many people are not aware of it,” and told the Bulletin that this past weekend, at the Kimberley Farmer’s Market, very few people stopped to get information on making their home FireSmart.

“That’s the attitude, ‘why worry about it? I’m only going to worry about it if they don’t have enough fire trucks.’ Wrong attitude! Plan now, for the future, that’s the key.”

He also said that Kimberley is very far behind compared to communities like Invermere, about ten years behind in fact. Everything they’re building there now is FireSmart, Royer said.

Another big thing to realize is that 50 per cent of homes burned by wildfires are actually caused by sparks or embers, so even though you may think your house is safe with the forest a few streets away, embers can carry on the wind for as much as nine kilometres from the flaming edge of a forest fire.

Because of this, it’s crucial to protect your property adequately to withstand these ember attacks.

“Stop ember accumulation,” he said. “If you put 12 millimetre screens on patio and staircases, that’s where the ember accumulation can start, but if you put a screen underneath it, they can’t get through so they can’t start a fire in your house.”

The 12 millimetre are the most affordable screens, but the three-millimetre screens, while more expensive, are also more effective as they are more high density.

Some free, easy things you can do are storing firewood at least 10 to 30 metres away from your house. Additionally, never store propane tanks within 10 metres of your house.

Also remember to remove any leaves from under your deck, and clear out any flammable debris from balconies and patios. Bark mulch is highly flammable so removing that from around the house will help to prevent outdoor fires.

Another simple thing to do is to clean leaves and pine needles out of your roof and gutters, ideally in the fall and spring.

Knowing and managing the trees on your property is also important. Coniferous trees are much more flammable than deciduous tree species such as birch or aspen, so consider that when planting new trees.

Pruning the branches of your trees to two metres is another free FireSmart activity to help keep your property safe. If your trees are too close to utility lines, you can contact your service provider for assistance with removing them. Also make sure that no trees or other vegetation are overhanging your roof.

As far as your lawn goes, it’s best to keep grass cut to a height below 10 centimetres. Fires can rapidly travel through long grass.

For more information on making your home FireSmart reach out to Royer’s Landscaping at 778-481-5195, email or visit,

Home ImprovementWildfires


Is your home protected from a wildfire?

Steven Royer from Royers Landscaping is Kimberley’s local FireSmart representative, and helps homeowners protect their properties.

Steven Royer from Royers Landscaping is Kimberley’s local FireSmart representative, and helps homeowners protect their properties.

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. Photo: Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News
Interior Health opens up vaccine eligibility in Columbia Valley to 18 years or older

Only local residents can register and book appointments as COVID-19 case counts spike in the region

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

The Rec 9 and driving range are open at Bootleg Gap in Kimberley. Full course opens April 30.
Two Kimberley golf courses open for season

Purcell and Bootleg Gap are partially open today, Trickle Creek May 7

Kimberley is developing a policy on short term rentals. Air BnB screenshot.
Kimberley is developing a policy on short term rentals

The City of Kimberley is continuing the process of adopting a strategy… Continue reading

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
69 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 9,840 since the pandemic began

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read