Annual FireSmart Yard Clean-Up
*Free yard waste drop-off for the month of May at Grohman Transfer Station
*Burning Period Approved for City of Nelson April 1st – May 16th
Nelson Fire & Rescue Services is encouraging residents to remove deadfall, woody debris, coniferous plants and long grasses from around their homes to minimize the risk of fire from falling embers. This is especially the case given the dry summers and serious wildfire seasons we have seen over the past few years.
Fire Chief Len MacCharles says, “This is about being proactive and being ‘FireSmart’!! Now is the time of year to make a difference around your home and our community for the coming wildfire season. It doesn’t matter if you live on the edge of town or near the city centre – your home could be at risk. Together we can reduce the impact of wildfire in our community!”
Up to 90% of structures lost due to wildfires catch fire from falling hot embers from fires up to 2 km away – not from the fire itself! Hot embers from wildfires travel on wind currents and can drop anywhere throughout our community. In addition to removing the dry woody debris from around your home, we strongly recommend removing decorative cedars, junipers, pines and tall grasses near your home. An amendment to the Landscape Bylaw in 2019 actually prohibits the planting of new coniferous plants within 1.5m of any structure. The following is an excerpt from the City of Nelson Off-Street Parking and Landscape Bylaw No. 3274:
General Landscaping Requirements
(1) The following general landscaping regulation shall apply to all properties within the City, effective August 12, 2019:
a. No new or additional coniferous evergreen trees/plants, such as junipers and cedars, are to be planted within 1.5 metres of a dwelling unit, principal or accessory building as well as other structures such as decks.
While we certainly understand that these plants look good, grow easily and are quite common, it is important to know that they ignite very easily from falling embers and once burning will start homes and other structures on fire. Removing these plants and other easily combustible materials such as jute or coir mats from doorways is an easy, yet very important step to protecting your home during fire season. Don’t stack firewood against or near your home and don’t forget to remove the dry debris from your eave troughs as well.
Actions to Take to Protect Your Home
- Remove ground fuels on your property such as fallen branches, twigs and needles
- Remove decorative cedars, junipers and pines against or near your home (can replace with more fire-resistive plants – go to firesmartcanada.ca)
- Remove all debris piles and other combustible materials near your home
- Clean out dry leaves and twigs from eave troughs
- Remove straw, jute or coir mats from entryways during summer months
- Move stored firewood away from buildings
- Trim conifer tree branches to 2 metres above the ground
We suggest the best way for residents to rid their properties of these fuels is to take them to the Grohman Narrows Transfer Station. Charges are only $5 per load for yard waste loads up to 2.5 cubic metres ($50 for large loads and $25/tonne if chipped) and thanks to the RDCK, there is NO CHARGE for the month of May. For more information regarding charges and what is acceptable please go to rdck.ca.
Alternatively, a burn period has been approved (subject to weather and local fire conditions) beginning Thursday, April 1st to Sunday, May 16th, 2021 (inclusive). Permits are required for all those wanting to participate. This extended burn period is for the purpose of reducing non-compostable woody debris, which is clean, dry, unstained/ untreated wood resulting from residential yard clean-up. This does not include the burning of vegetative matter that can be easily composted such as leaves, grass clippings, vegetable stalks or similar. Remember to check for proper venting daily, before you burn.
Permits must be acquired in person, at Nelson Fire & Rescue Services, located at 919 Ward Street, and payment for the $10 fee can be paid by cash or cheque at the time of issuance and those burning must provide proof of fire insurance for the property where the burning will take place.
Residents are required to follow the Ministry of Environment’s Venting Index guidelines or call 1-888-281-2992. Only burn on days when venting is listed as “Good” on the day of burning to minimize the accumulation of smoke in the air. Residents are also required to report to Nelson Fire & Rescue Services on the days they intend to burn. Contravention of the Bylaw may result in suspension or revocation of the permit and/or a fine or fee for service.
In an effort to further decrease the fuel load on private property throughout the City, Nelson Fire & Rescue Services is offering removal of owner collected piles of yard waste and woody debris. This offer is for Seniors 70+ or people with limited abilities. There is limited availability, and a FireSmart Home Assessment must be completed to be eligible. To apply, please call Nelson Fire & Rescue Services during office hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm at 250-352-3103.
See Bylaw excerpt below regarding burning within the city. The complete Fire Regulation and Prevention Bylaw No. 3268 can be found at www.nelson.ca. Please go to nelson.ca for more information or call (250) 352-3103.
Excerpt from the Fire Regulation and Prevention Bylaw No. 3268:
Burning of woody debris requires a permit and is subject to the following conditions:
- a competent person:
- must be at all times present and in charge of the fire while burning or smoldering;
- must be provided with efficient appliances and equipment to prevent the fire from getting beyond control or causing damage or becoming dangerous to life or property;
- must ensure that such fire is completely extinguished;
- no burning may be carried out within 5 metres from any forest land, buildings, structures, commercial or industrial property or any combustibles;
- burning may only be carried out during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.;
- only clean, dry, solid and untreated wood and woody debris collected or accumulated from the Owner or Occupant’s land on which the burning will take place may be burned;
- no pile of burning Woody Debris may exceed 1.5 metres in diameter or 1 metre in
- accelerants, building materials and non-organic material are not permitted to be burned;
- despite the issuance of a permit, no burning may be carried out if:
- it would be unsafe to do so due to climatic conditions or any other hazard;
- if the air quality venting index is not good or is otherwise deemed by the Ministry of Environment or Ministry of Health to be not suitable for burning; and
- the Owner or Occupant must provide proof of fire insurance in a form and with content and deductible satisfactory to the Fire Chief;
The complete Fire Regulation and Prevention Bylaw No. 3268 can be found at nelson.ca.