City of Kamloops working to reduce wildfire fuels in interface areas

By Chad Klassen
June 26, 2017 - 4:12pm Updated: June 27, 2017 - 7:56pm

KAMLOOPS — Living in Dufferin is somewhat idyllic. New homes that back right onto trails in Kenna Cartwright Park, accessible in a few steps. 

"It's great. We're close to absolutely everything," said Dufferin resident Brad Trainor. "In five minutes, we can pretty much get anywhere. We have the trails right beside our house. Go biking, walking with the kids."

But trails surrounded by timber comes with fire risk. However, Trainor has done his best to fire-proof his home. 

"The park is right here, so if the fire does come, we could be in trouble," he said. "Just try and keep everything green and as wet as possible. We did all the rock at the bottom of the property to separate a little bit if it does come. Try to keep our lawns from getting too dried out. Just stucko on the side of the house, less wood as possible."

The City of Kamloops has also been doing work the last couple weeks to clear any wildfire fuels in the area. 

"What we're looking at is 10 metres to 30 metres from structures, all the way up to 100 metres. What we want to do is space the trees, so that we have a distances between three and six metres from the canopies," said City of Kamloops nature park crew leader Kirsten Wourms. "We also lift all the branches, cut them off up to 10 feet from the ground, and we're also getting rid of the coarse, woody debris that's on the ground."

As much preventative work as the city does, it's up to homeowners to be prepared, and that's where Kamloops Fire Rescue comes in. 

"A large one is public education. Some things people don't realize is in these wildland fires that 50% of the homes are destroyed by the falling embers. So that means keeping your house clear of combustible materials, anything up against your house like cedars or junipers can easily light up."

The city says it's in the process of identifying other areas of town to fire-proof. 

"Right now, we're looking at Pineview. We've had a lot of development in there. West Juniper. There's some development happening in there," said Wourms. "Rose Hill is another big area. We've got a lot of trees that are established as well as houses. We're doing some work in Barnhartvale and Westsyde. It's basically those areas that butt right up against the forest."

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