Try to do your part to reduce the risk of fires. File photo

Check for those fire risks in your yard

We dug up some surprising things when we removed old needles and branches

I’ve talked with the region’s protective services coordinator Shaun Koopman several times in the past year about area initiatives to reduce wildfire risk in the community.

Typically, this includes steps residents can take to remove things around their property that can allow fires to start and spread quickly, especially during hot, dry summers.

Deep down, I’ve had this guilty feeling that I’m part of the problem. I think I confessed as much to Shaun, admitting that the property my girlfriend and I have is full of large evergreens and underneath are old needles and branches that have gathered over many years, decades probably.

We bought it two years ago, and the 1912 home and yard for the most part were kept in beautiful shape.

The owners put in a lot of time and effort into the place.

The situation under the trees along the highway though was a different story.

A friend once came over and fretted about needles in the driveway, but my concern was the old brush under all the trees.

The first summer came and went, with hot, dry conditions, and last year was the same.

We did nothing.

To be fair, we’ve had a few things to focus on like putting in some heat pumps so we didn’t freeze during the winter or replacing some old pipes.

This year though I knew we shouldn’t put it off any longer. We got a quote from a business, but it was outside of our price range, so we did it ourselves. OK, when I see “we” I mean mostly my girlfriend and the neighbours, as it happened during my weekend shift at the paper. (I did get out and clean up on one of the evenings and on the holiday Monday.)

This was no little raking job. We rented a bin, which we filled, in part because “we” trimmed a lot of the old, dead branches lower down, so that we wouldn’t have to do this again really soon.

The clean-up went beyond the branches too. In fact, the needles were a bigger concern than I’d thought. Not so much the loose ones in the driveway, but those in layers above the soil. I started digging down and much of it was at least 10 centimetres thick before I hit dirt. I can only imagine how easily that material would light up.

It turned into a bit of excavation job too. Our neighbour offered to clear the material with a Bobcat, so in preparation we pulled out any items that were not yard waste. Early exploration turned up oddities from discarded lumber ends to a bust of Beethoven to an old, rusty farm implement to some surprisingly clean granny panties, and once I started digging, I discovered a badly-rusted wagon or tractor wheel. Then another. And another. And so on.

Anyway, the area in front of our place is much tidier now, as the old branches, needles and other potential kindling are gone. I suppose there’s always a risk, especially in light of how many careless people there are when it comes to putting out campfires, properly extinguishing smoking materials and so on, but I at least feel I’ve taken some steps in the right direction to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading among those evergreens – and to reduce those guilty feelings too.

Just Posted

Campbell River thrift store robbed at knifepoint, say RCMP

Suspect fled on bicycle following Tuesday stick-up

UPDATE: Campbell River RCMP arrest second person in arson investigation

Police say suspects identified, house fire on Henderson Avenue ‘not random’

Shrapnel narrowly missed firefighters in ‘suspicious’ Campbell River house fire

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

RCMP stepping up summer patrols in Campbell River and area lakes

Traffic patrols increasing after 32 alcohol-related incidents during 2018 Canada Day weekend

UPDATE: Fire in abandoned Campbell River house deemed suspicious

Reports of homeless people using vacant home at 666 8th Ave.

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Most Read