The free wood debris drop-off is at Maple Park in the Stories Beach area on Saturday. Photo, Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Wood debris drop-off for Campbell River area this Saturday

Program helps people reduce wildfire risks in their yards

Wood debris can prove to be one of the biggest hazards when it comes to spreading fires, especially at this time of year.

To help reduce this risk, the Strathcona Regional District is holding the first of two free wood debris removal days during which people can drop off material.

It happens Saturday, Aug. 18 at Maple Park, 29 Anton Rd., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is another one scheduled for Sept. 8.

The SRD news release highlights the risk from wood debris around people’s yards.

“Preparing for the threat of wildfire is a shared responsibility,” the release says. “From home owners, to industry and government everyone has the responsibility to lessen the effects of wildfire.”

The SRD has received a FireSmart Grant through the Union of BC Municipalities, which it is using to provide wood-chipping at Maple Park in the Stories Beach area. People are encouraged to bring in their brush, yard waste and tree debris to the site for the material to be disposed in a safe manner.

There are a few guidelines when bringing material:

Debris is to be dropped off at Maple Park only during the times and dates of collection.

There should be no rocks, nails or even roots (which could contain small rocks) as these can damage equipment.

No invasive plant species such as Scotch broom, English holly, giant hogweed and knotweed are accepted. There is information on dealing with these invasive species at www.coastalisc.com.

There are general steps people can take to reduce the risk of wildfire spreading. The SRD notes that besides having a home with non-combustible roof, removing yard waste, brush and wood debris is one of the most important one in protecting property. Regular maintenance and cleaning, including needles and other small debris, will remove fuel for embers to ignite. An estimated 50 per cent of wildfires can be started by sparks and embers.

“Fire embers may seem small, but they should not be underestimated,” the SRD release continues.

The B.C. governments, FireSmart guides has additional advice such as cleaning up debris during spring and fall yard maintenance and removing dry leaves, twigs and branches from gutters as well as yards.

There is more information about how to reduce wildfire risk www.firesmartcanada.ca. For information on emergency preparedness in the Stratchcona Regional District, see www.strathconard.ca/preparedness or contact the Protective Services Coordinator Shaun Koopman at skoopman@srd.ca or 250-830-6702.

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