FireSmart at the MRC

As posted in the Lakeside Leader, April 2018

Next week is Slave Lake’s Outdoor Adventure Trade Show, an event hosted by Slave Lake’s Chamber of Commerce and located at the Multi Rec Centre. The FireSmart LSR crew will be there on May 4 & 5, along with Alberta Forestry and the Lesser Slave Regional Fire Service, helping you to be informed and prepared for the fire season.

Back in February, there was a FireSmart article about putting leafy plants directly around your home and needled plants 10 meters or more away from the house. Come down to the Outdoor Adventure Trade Show, stop by our display, talk with us about landscaping tips and techniques that will help you this year. There’s a good chance you’ll be going home with a free leafy plant to put into your yard, courtesy of FireSmart LSR.

(There’s our wee seedlings all grown up, ready to get planted in your yard! In the background you can make out the leafy tree draw prizes given away – Evans Sour Cherry Trees)

If you do have some needled plants around your house, take action to reduce your wildfire risk. Prune evergreen branches 2 meters from the ground if they are within 30 meters of your home. We’ve got you covered if you feel a bit unsure about good pruning techniques. There will be pruning technique demonstrations on Saturday, May 5 at our booth.

Wait, we were talking about yard work back in February? Sure! It was as good a time as any to mention that enclosing your deck sides builds a shield from embers and sparks that happen during a wildfire. Swing by our display at the Outdoor Adventure Trade Show to connect with Nelson Lumber, a local home hardware provider, and take a moment to consider FireSmart-specific building and yard materials.

Because it seems like spring is finally happening, some quick mentions on mulches, mowing and firewood piles before the yard work starts to happen in our neighbourhoods.

Rocks are an excellent substitute for conventional types of mulch. Bark and pine needle mulches are highly flammable. Rocks don’t burn and they hold moisture too. Remember, humidity changes fire behavior! Research has shown that making your home and up to five feet around it as non-combustible as possible is a significant way to reduce your risk in the event of a wildfire and also a way to help protect your neighbourhood overall. Using rock directly around your home for the first 2 meters instead of other plant-based mulches is a very strategic FireSmart action.

mulching-your-yard

Regularly mowing and watering grass within 10 meters around your home and other structures reduces your wildfire risk. 10 cm long grass is best and, if you’re struggling with keeping the grass green at this length, adding clover to your seed mix might just help you out.

mowing-your-lawn

Lastly, think about how those stacks of firewood have many openings where embers from a wildfire can land and smoulder. Moving and storing firewood piles at least 10 meters from structures, especially away from your home, reduces the likelihood of a wood pile fire spreading.

After visiting us at the Outdoor Adventure Trade Show at the MRC on May 4 & 5, you’re certain to feel informed about protecting your home and property. But how can you be sure you’re FireSmart ready? Message us on Facebook, or give us a call at 780-516-0077, and we will contact you to arrange a free FireSmart assessment of your home and yard.

Thanks, Dyanna at Christie’s Gardens & Greenhouses Ltd., for loading up FireSmart LSR with lovely, leafy plant material to bring to the Outdoor Adventure Trade Show, with plants enough for the Emergency Preparedness event on May 12, 2018 too!