A Kimberley strata, Mark Creek Crossing on Rotary Drive, has become just the third strata in the city to be certified Fire Smart.
Resident Gord Jenkins says that everyone in the neighbourhood is proud of what they accomplished and really embraced the project.
With the early fire season in 2021, Jenkins says the heat and smoke prompted him to get thinking about what could be done to make the properties in the strata safer. He spoke briefly with Kimberley Fire Chief Rick Prasad, who referred him to Steve Royer, a local Fire Smart Consultant. The Kimberley Fire Department encourages all residents to think about making their properties Fire Smart.
It’s a very simply concept — remove combustible and flammable materials from your property. Trim tree branches to six feet above the ground, get rid of old needles and broken branches. Pull out dead shrubbery. Plant green, leafy trees.
It’s all about giving yourself a little extra time, Royer says.
“It’s delay time,” he said. “If your property has been treated you have about a ten minute delay if a fire approaches. That’s time for the fire truck to get there.”
Royer is a landscaper by trade, which means he has all the knowledge of what plants should be pulled and what should be planted.
For instance, juniper bushes, which are very popular in this area.
“A dead juniper against your house is like stacking a pile of firewood against it,” he said.
With all of the homeowners in Mark Creek Crossing buying in, and a lot of grandchildren put to work, Jenkins says, the work was begun last summer.
All the trees were trimmed, underbrush cleared, needles raked up. Residents even tackled the slope leading down to Mark Creek. The strata is now certified Fire Smart and they will received a plaque from Fire Smart Canada this year.
But the work is ongoing. Once you have treated a property, maintenance must be kept up to make sure flammable materials don’t build up again.
Royer says his goal is to make all Kimberley residents aware of the program, and hopefully, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, street by street, Fire Smart work will happen.
He urges one and all to download the free Fire Smart app.
“Look at it and go from there,” he said. “It tells you everything you need to know.”
Jenkins urges all Kimberley residents to consider looking at the Fire Smart program.
“We’re proud of what we accomplished as a community,” he said.
You can contact Royer about Fire Smart at firstname.lastname@example.org.