FireSmart in action

The City of Powell River and Broombusters team up to remove hazardous Broom

The City of Powell River is teaming up with Broombusters. Based on Vancouver Island & BC Mainland, Broombusters is a grassroots non-profit society that started in 2006 that is supporting wildfire resiliency by removing Scotch Broom. This society has over 600 volunteers in over a dozen coastal communities. 

Cytisus Scoparius or commonly referred to as Scotch Broom is a fire risk for coastal communities.  Also threatening is Spartium Junceum, Spanish Broom, and Ulex Europea – known as Gorse. All are similar in nature and appearance and pose a real threat for a community’s wildfire mitigation process and are an invasive noxious species. 

Powell River’s Fire Chief, Terry Peters knows firsthand that an abundant of flammable materials is never a good thing in any wildfire situation. “Test burns have proven these plants to be especially volatile due to the high oil content and dead material that accumulates under the healthy and old plants. When left to spread, Broom grows rapidly crowding out native plant regrowth. It also poses a significant challenge for fighting fires in urban forested areas due to dense growth restricting movement.” 

Powell River B.C. and the qathet Regional District, located in the traditional lands of the Tla’amin nation, is one of those communities taking this threat very seriously. 

“Cut Broom in Bloom” at ground level as not to expose the stem is the Broombusters motto. When the plant is in bloom it is the most vulnerable, leaving the roots to die in the heat of the summer. Each plant eliminated is up to 18,000 future seeds that have been denied the opportunity to spread. This simple task will undoubtably protect communities and lessen a potential wildfire risk. 

Broombusters is a great FireSmart initiative happening on the BC Coast that Terry Peters enthusiastically supports. He would encourage everyone to check out the website to learn more and be part of a solution in their own community.

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