FireSmart in action

Mackenzie Fire Department

Mackenzie is a small municipality with a population of 3,500 and has a town site and a rural subdivision. We host curbside pick up different days for each vegetation pick up in order to not overwhelm the public works staff. Regardless, each time we have hosted this service, we have not had enough resources to complete the service in one day due to the high participation in the community. We have had to do the curbside pick up for the townsite on Fridays and have the staff gather the rest of the materials on the following Monday.

Residents take any vegetation resulting from FireSmarting their homes and place it on the curb. District workers take all the flammable vegetation from the curb for two FireSmart days in the spring and two in the fall. We use the funding to cover the district worker time, equipment use time rates and any disposal fees associated with the vegetation like chipping or slash burning.

Public works staff have a pick up and collect vegetation that residents have piled on the curb manually (if not over sized) and place the branches or wood in the pick up truck. In Mackenzie we slash burn, so the vegetation is given to the forestry and wildfire professionals who slash burn or repurpose the material to the Conifex Mill. Smaller materials we are able to chip and repurpose.

In the cases where the flammable materials were oversized, we had to utilize a loader and a dump truck to gather the materials (see attached images).

We received high amounts of cotton wood, cedars and old fire wood. Generally we found that residents were fireSmarting their homes by removing trees and cedars.

In 2019, we hosted a spring version along with a fall version with funding from the Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program (funding equipment operator time, advertising costs and the equipment time). We got approved for $25,000 from the CRI program to host more sessions this year and this spring session will be the first of the year.

Curbside pick up was a huge success this sping. In town it was well subscribed, in Gantahaz rural subdivision it took three business days, 10 hours each day, two truck loads an hour to clear all curbside vegetation debris.

The MacKenzie Fire Department conducts free FireSmart home assessments in the community and with McLeod Lake Indian Band on request to aid residents on where to start on their journey to becoming FireSmart.

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The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is providing a red bin day program through the Community Resiliency Investment (CRI) program as an incentive for residents...

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