The Silverton Fire Hall Wildfire Resiliency Garden was delivered as a component of the Slocan Valley Wildfire Resiliency Program for the Villages of Slocan, Silverton, and New Denver, funded by the Community Resiliency Investment Program.
The Silverton Fire Hall Wildfire Resiliency Garden was created to serve as an educational example on landscaping best practices to reduce wildfire risks around structures while enhancing ecological value, esthetics, and water conservation through Xeriscaping practices.
The garden was installed adjacent to the Silverton Fire Hall to demonstrate landscaping practices in the ‘FireSmart Home Ignition Zones’ to reduce wildfire risks by following the FireSmart guidelines for these zones.
The wildfire risks present to the Silverton Fire Hall building were also addressed following the FireSmart guidelines, with the purpose of protecting critical community infrastructure from wildfire and to provide an educational example to home owners to reduce their wildfire risks.
The Silverton Fire Hall Wildfire Resiliency Garden utilized many fire-resistant plants from the FireSmart BC Landscaping Guide, FireSmart principals, and Xeriscaping practices.
The garden landscaping is located in Zone 1(1.5-10m) and Zone 2 (10-30m) from the Fire Hall. In Zone 1 landscape design utilizes fire-resistant plants and shrubs and non-combustible rock mulches. In Zone 2 the garden bed density increases and utilizes composted wood mulch and a greater variety of plants suitable to use in this zone.
The garden will have locally made benches and tables installed this fall with funds contributed from the Columbia Basin Trust. This contribution from CBT will add a great gathering space for the community.
The Silverton Fire Hall Wildfire Resiliency Garden provides a space for the community to connect and learn more about FireSmart principals and how to incorporate them into beautiful landscape design.
The garden was installed late-spring early summer of 2022 and so far, we have seen great community interest in the project, with many visitors coming by to walk the garden and read the signage. The garden is proofing to be a great asset to the Village of Silverton, by providing a beautiful community space that engages visitors and demonstrates ways they can incorporate FireSmart practices in their home landscaping.
Some challenges the project faced was securing selected plant varieties from the nurseries and distributors, with some plants being shorted to be installed next year. The other challenge was plant selection with the majority of the plants being selected from the FireSmart BC landscaping guide and a few fire-resistant plants being selected based off their fire-resistant attributes but not being listed in the FireSmart guide. This created some confusion as to if these plants were considered as ‘FireSmart’ being that the plants possessed the fire-resistant attributes described in the guide but were not specifically listed. As more research is conducted on the fire-resistance of plants, the FireSmart BC plant listing should continually be updated to reflect these changes to expand the plant varieties accepted.
The Village of Silverton, Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative, Landscap design; by Ray Nikkel Design, Leonard Casley Mayor of The Village of New Denver and Village Of Silverton works staff.